HOUSTON, June 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented ruling today, the Texas Supreme Court allowed alleged sex trafficking survivors to sue Facebook, Inc. under a Texas anti-trafficking law, according to the victims' lawyers at Annie McAdams PC, The Gallagher Law Firm, and Sico Hoelscher Harris LLP.
The Court ruled that the trafficking victims could proceed with lawsuits alleging that Facebook violated Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 98, an anti-trafficking law passed in 2009. The underlying cases, originally filed in state district courts in Harris County, Texas, allege that Facebook, Inc. benefited from sexual exploitation of the "Jane Doe" trafficking survivors.
The trafficking victims are represented by Annie McAdams of Annie McAdams PC, of Houston; Michael T. Gallagher of The Gallagher Law Firm, of Houston; and David E. Harris of Sico Hoelscher Harris LLP, of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Annie McAdams, of Annie McAdams PC, said, "Our clients have fought for over two years for the chance to bring their case. While we have a long road ahead, we are grateful that the Texas Supreme Court will allow these courageous trafficking survivors to have their day in court against Facebook. With the help of Chapter 98 protection, we believe trafficking survivors in Texas can expose and hold accountable businesses such as Facebook that benefit from these crimes of exploitation."
According to the lawsuits, the social media giant provided "an unrestricted platform to stalk, exploit, recruit, groom, and extort children into the sex trade. Facebook is now the first point of contact between sex traffickers and these children… Facebook not only provides an unrestricted platform for these sex traffickers to target children, but it also cloaks the traffickers with credibility."
David E. Harris, of Sico Hoelscher Harris LLP, said, "We believe Facebook has an obligation to safeguard its users, both through its online platform and otherwise, of the dangers of human traffickers using Facebook as a tool to entrap and enslave children into sex trafficking."
In April 2018 testimony before Congress, Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company had not "taken a broad enough view of Facebook's responsibility to the community and content." He added, "We [Facebook] need to make sure that people aren't using it to harm other people or to spread misinformation. Across the board we have a responsibility to not just build tools, but to make sure they're used for good."
The Texas Supreme Court case is "In re Facebook, Inc. and Facebook Inc. d/b/a Instagram, Relators," No. 20-0434. The underlying cases, from the state district courts, are Cause Nos. 2018-69816, 2018-82214, and 2019-16262.
Media Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for Annie McAdams PC, [email protected], 281.703.6000.
SOURCE Annie McAdams PC