Court Lets Stand Pro-Twitter Ruling In Suit Over Terrorist Attack

Siding with Twitter, a federal appeals court has refused to reconsider its decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the tech company by family members of two ISIS victims.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in a short order issued Monday that none of the court's judges requested a vote on whether to grant a new hearing. The move means that the decision clearing Twitter will stand, barring a successful appeal by the families to the Supreme Court.

The legal dispute stems from a November 2015 terrorist shooting in Amman, Jordan that killed Lloyd “Carl” Fields, Jr. and James Damon Creach. Their families alleged in a lawsuit against Twitter that the company supported ISIS by allowing members to create accounts on the service. The lawsuit specifically alleged that Twitter violated the federal Anti-Terrorism Act, which prohibits anyone from knowingly providing material support to terrorists.

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In January, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit said the family members couldn't proceed with their claims because they didn't establish a direct relationship between Twitter's actions and the shooting. "Communication services and equipment are highly interconnected in modern economic and social life, such that the provision of these services and equipment to terrorists could be expected to cause ripples of harm to flow far beyond the defendant’s misconduct," the judges wrote.

The decision appeared to mark the first time an appellate court ruled on whether social media services can be sued for allegedly assisting terrorists. Twitter, Google and Facebook still face several other lawsuits stemming from terrorist incidents, but the recent appellate ruling could prompt judges to dismiss those other suits.

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