DiCello Levitt Files Lawsuit Against Social Media Companies and Firearm and Body Armor Manufacturers for Enabling Buffalo Mass Shooting

Jul 13, 2023

DiCello Levitt serves as co-counsel with Ben Crump and Terry Connors on behalf of the families of victims of the Buffalo mass shooting

On July 12, 2023, DiCello Levitt partners Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann, Ken Abbarno, and Amy Keller addressed the media at a news conference in Buffalo, New York, to announce the filing of a lawsuit against the social media companies and firearm and body armor manufacturers that they and their co-counsel allege contributed to the horrific mass shooting in a Buffalo grocery store on May 14, 2022. The DiCello Levitt attorneys were joined by co-counsel Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law and Terry Connors of Connors LLP.

The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, seeks to hold Meta, Reddit, Amazon, Alphabet, Snap, and other social media companies accountable for their enablement of the tragedy. The complaint also names Vintage Firearms and other firearm and body armor manufacturers as defendants.

“Let’s be clear: This is a reckoning,” Zimmermann said at the press conference. “For the defendants we have named, we will see you in this court, and you will be held accountable for loading this gun. These families deserve not only an answer but accountability and the justice we can give them. To the defendants, we say: We have come for you, and we will realize justice.” 

Abbarno, a Buffalo native, commended the families for their fortitude and their determination to seek justice. “Every one of the family members behind us, and everyone affected by this horrific tragedy, has persevered and will continue to persevere,” he said. “They have the courage to stand before you and the court and say, ‘This must stop.’ The companies that are part of this lawsuit have to have the courage to admit they did wrong because they have. We need to stop profits over safety. We are here to take the next step to stop the systemic problem that we all know exists and that corporations refuse to admit. We are here to hold them accountable.”

Keller, chair of DiCello Levitt’s Privacy, Technology, and Cybersecurity practice, highlighted how social media companies enabled the attack, specifically by promoting addictive and radicalizing content. “These social media companies are making money off Black lives,” she said. “We are going to make sure they answer for what they have done. We would love to see these companies change their practices. Not only are they making money off Black lives, but they have algorithms that encourage more engagement. These algorithms push people into more and more extreme content. We want social media companies to answer for the fact that they were making money off the Black lives in this room and to change their practices to stop the design of pushing extreme content on people and to change the design to make them less addictive—because addiction leads to all of this. But first and foremost, we want to achieve justice for these families.”

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