Gonzalez v. Google, LLC.

AuthorRyan, Catherine

2 F.4TH 871 (9TH CIR. 2021)

In Gonzalez v. Google, the Ninth Circuit addressed two major claims asserted against Google for the alleged role of its subsidiary, YouTube, in facilitating an ISIS terrorist attack on November 13, 2015 in Paris, France. (1) The court ultimately affirmed the district court's granting of Google's motion to dismiss, holding that 47 U.S.C. [section] 230 of the Communications Decency Act ("CDA") effectively immunized Google from the majority of the Plaintiffs' (collectively, Gonzalez) claims. (2) For the remaining claims, Gonzalez had failed to state a right of action under the Anti-Terrorism Act ("ATA"), 18 U.S.C. [section] 2333. (3) This case was argued before the United States Supreme Court on February 21, 2023 and is awaiting final disposition. (4)


    The decedent, Nohemi Gonzalez, was a United States citizen studying in Paris, France in the fall of 2015. (5) On the evening of November 13, 2015, she was killed in a shooting at a local cafe by ISIS terrorists as part of a series of attacks that occurred in the city. (6) The following day, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks by issuing a written statement and posting a video on YouTube. (7)

    The case was brought primarily by Reynaldo Gonzalez, Nohemi's father, although other family members were added as plaintiffs in the Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"). (8) In the SAC, Reynaldo and family claimed that Google violated the ATA by aiding and abetting "international terrorism and provid[ing] material support to international terrorism by allowing ISIS to use YouTube." (9) Two of these claims were based on a revenue-sharing theory, whereby ISIS received payment from Google for its monetized videos. (10) Certain other claims were predicated on the broadened scope of the ATA in 2016 through the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act ("JASTA"). (11) Google filed a motion to dismiss all claims for direct and secondary liability, arguing that Section 230 of the CDA bars such claims. (12) The district court agreed but granted Gonzalez leave to amend the complaint. (13)

    Gonzalez then filed the Third Amended Complaint ("TAC"), which is at issue in this case. (14) In addition to the previous claims, Gonzalez alleged that Google has direct liability under Section 2333(a) of the ATA for "providing material support and resources to ISIS." (15) Google submitted a motion to dismiss the entire TAC, claiming immunity under Section 230 of the CDA, and argued in the alternative for dismissal of the Section 2333(a) direct liability claims because Gonzalez had failed to state a claim that Google had proximately caused the decedent's injuries. (16)

    The district court granted the motion to dismiss on the grounds of Google's Section 230 immunity and...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT