Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Meta, Snap For 17-Year-Old's Suicide

Are Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc. Negligent?

How big of a role does social media play in young people's mental health? Donna Dawley filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the companies behind the most prominent social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat after her seventeen-year-old son committed suicide.

Let's look at the allegations and how it works legally:

wrongful death lawsuit

Who Is The Plaintiff And What Led To The Wrongful Death Suit?

The plaintiff, in this case, claims that the defendants, Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc., promoted harmful content on their social media platforms. Donna Dawley also emphasized that Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat were created and marketed to minors.

It is also claimed that all the abovementioned platforms are well-aware of the children below thirteen years old allowed to use such platforms, despite claiming there would be restrictions on usage from such a young audience. With Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc. aware of their userbase, Dawley alleges that they have willfully encouraged advertisers to show ads to users who are thirteen years of age and below.

What Is The Claim Against Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc.?

Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc., the defendants, are alleged to have knowingly built and marketed addictive social media platforms. All of this despite knowing that the content and the products are harmful to their minor audiences, whose presence on said platforms isn't regulated or restricted as stated.

Dawley also noted that neither Meta nor Snap warned users or their parents about the possible harm their platforms could bring. Additionally, they've knowingly designed algorithms that cause harmful addiction to the social media sites they created.

On the other hand, Meta has launched their Family Center, which would allow parents to monitor underage children's use of their site, allowing them to track usage hours, set limits, and get a notification should the teens report harmful content like suicide.

California personal injury lawyers

Where Does Wrongful Death Come Into The Lawsuit?

The plaintiff's son, CJ, made accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat and became increasingly addicted to social media platforms. Dawley claims that her son's constant use of said platforms would eventually result in sleep deprivation, insecurities, and so on.

Although he didn't show outward signs of depression, CJ would eventually end his life after he texted a friend, posted on Facebook, and wrote a note to his parents. CJ's parents are now working on suing large corporations to hold them responsible for exposing children or minors like CJ to harmful content and products.

How Does Wrongful Death Work Legally?

So, how to file a wrongful death lawsuit, how does it work, and how does it apply in this case?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim that enables a plaintiff to sue a negligent party. The goal is to seek damages for the injuries or losses someone experienced due to the negligent party's actions. The way it works is as follows:

  • The responsible party has a duty of care. In this case, Dawley alleges that Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc. had the responsibility to protect underage users from possible harmful effects of addictive social media platforms.

  • The defendants failed to deliver the duty of care. Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc. have been alleged to not put safeguards against young users from being exposed to the harmful effects of social media and have created an algorithm that doesn't restrict the use of the platform and the content that young users are exposed to.

  • The negligence or failure to deliver duty of care caused injury or death. Dawley alleges that Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc. did not do anything about the harmful usage and content that caused depression, insecurity, and sleep deprivation that eventually led to CJ's suicide.

If successful, the plaintiff may be awarded monetary compensation for financial and emotional losses that they suffered due to the negligence.

california wrongful death lawyers

Read More About Wrongful Death Lawsuits:
los angeles attorney referral service

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service

1000Attorneys.com is a California State Bar Certified and approved Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

We provide unbiased and impartial lawyer referrals. This service isn't owned nor operated by lawyers receiving. referrals.


Our objective is that you receive the best comprehensive, high-quality legal representation while holding California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.

Why Lawyer Referrals Matter


The California State Bar investigates on average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys annually.

We offer unbiased California attorney referrals and conduct due diligence by researching and recommending the best local attorney for your case. 


We verify attorneys are in good standing and have the required experience in the type of law related to your legal issue. 

Learn more about attorney discipline here:


Our History 


Since 2005, we have assisted people who need legal representation but whose ability to locate reputable California Lawyers is frustrated by unreliable law firm marketing of self-promoting lawyers and biased legal advertising.

How the LRS Works 

Anyone seeking competent and honest legal representation in California, can request a FREE lawyer referral. 

Once you submit your case details online, our legal 24-hour legal department will review your claim and reply via email. Most cases are reviewed and answered within 15 minutes. 


A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

A representative will follow up a few days later via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain the status of the case. 

About lawyers from our network

California lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar, and have substantial experience in their practice area.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

  • Fair legal fees

  • Continuing education

  • Professional affiliations

Additionally, we conduct criminal  background checks and attorneys are always monitored by our service.  

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online.


Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department bypassing our call center. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes.