Funding sought for public health, education to stem addictive behaviors
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin and Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders have announced that The Lanier Law Firm will join a distinguished legal team in pursuing litigation by the state against one of the nation’s largest social media platforms.
Filed in the Circuit Court of Polk County, Arkansas, the lawsuit seeks to recover costs incurred by the state government and public health agencies to treat neurological disorders and addiction-induced behaviors caused by excessive use of Facebook and Instagram by minors, for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practice Act, as well as funding to educate users about limiting their online experiences.
Recent studies by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Pew Research Center reveal that more than 90% of all U.S. teenagers use social media, spending about three hours every day engaging on a range of platforms. Those companies use complex algorithms that allegedly exploit the lack of fully developed behavioral and emotional control among adolescents, and continually update and modify their products to promote excessive use. Research has shown a clear correlation between this time online and a range of mental health issues among adolescents, including suicide and suicidal impulses, anxiety, depression, self-mutilation, and eating disorders.
For years, Facebook and Instagram have been aware that their platforms harm children and they have deceived the public regarding the harm they cause. Even more disturbing is that the very thing that makes these platforms profitable is precisely what harms its users. Facebook’s own researchers who studied Instagram’s effects on children concluded that they “make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.”
Based on a national reputation for successfully representing state and local governments in litigation against major corporations, it is anticipated that The Lanier Law Firm will play a key role as outside counsel for the Attorney General’s office.
“There is nothing more important than our children and the next generation. We work to keep our streets and schools safe. We need to work to keep social media platforms safe. This is why I am eager to join the efforts of the Arkansas Attorney General in this important mission to hold social media giants responsible for the harm they have caused to the young people of Arkansas,” says firm founder Mark Lanier. “These companies intentionally design their technologies to generate revenue by generating addiction, with no concern for the associated dangers, and then fail to warn about the risks.”
Attorneys for The Lanier Law Firm have been involved in several significant trial wins and settlements on behalf of governmental entities in recent years. That success includes gaining a $650.6 million judgment in federal multidistrict litigation against Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens based on the retailers’ roles in fueling the opioid epidemic in two Ohio counties. In addition, the firm played a key role in reaching a $1.85 billion settlement with opioid manufacturers and distributors on behalf of the state of Texas; a confidential settlement for a coalition of states against the manufacturer of the JUUL e-cigarette; and a pretrial $260 million settlement for two counties with the nation’s three biggest drug distributors and a major drugmaker in the opioid multidistrict litigation.
The firm is also representing the state of Texas and multiple other state Attorneys General in antitrust litigation against Google, alleging that the company has unlawfully maintained monopolies in digital advertising, which is a $200 billion a year business for Google.
Other firms on the Attorney General’s legal team in this matter include Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP of Boca Raton, Florida, and Reddick Law, PLLC of Little Rock.
About The Lanier Law Firm
For more than 30 years, the women and men at The Lanier Law Firm have worked tirelessly, throughout the United States, to find unique and effective solutions for their clients. More than 60 skilled attorneys practice law in a broad array of areas, including business litigation, pharmaceutical litigation, asbestos exposure, oil and gas litigation, and personal injury, as well as defective and dangerous products, among others. Named an Elite Trial Law Firm by The National Law Journal, The Lanier Law Firm has offices in Houston, New York, and Los Angeles. To learn more about Mark Lanier and The Lanier Law Firm, visit www.lanierlawfirm.com.