Initial Bellwether Scheduled in Social Media Addiction MDL
The first bellwether trial for the multidistrict litigation (MDL) accusing Facebook and other social media platforms of harming young people by fostering addiction has been scheduled for late 2025 by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in California.
In a comprehensive scheduling order issued Thursday, Judge Rogers outlined a series of dates leading up to the first bellwether trial, set to commence with jury selection on October 14, 2025. However, she has yet to determine which case will serve as the bellwether, detailing a three-step process for selection in her order.
The initial step involves creating “bellwether discovery pools” for two categories of cases within the MDL: those brought by parents alleging personal injury and cases brought by school districts. Judge Rogers aims to establish a dozen cases in each pool, with both plaintiffs and defendants selecting six cases each, to be completed by mid-April according to the order.
Subsequently, Judge Rogers will narrow down each pool from 12 cases to 10, with assistance from the parties’ submissions and oral arguments. Finally, she plans to hear arguments by the end of June 2025 regarding the sequence in which the cases should be heard.
The MDL, which originated in early October, consolidates 28 suits previously spread across 17 federal courts nationwide. These cases are being centralized for pretrial proceedings in the Northern District of California. Additionally, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation identified 56 related actions that may be transferred to Northern California as tagalongs at a later stage.
All lawsuits allege that social media platforms failed to adequately warn users about the mental health risks associated with their use, including addiction, suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.