United States District Court, S.D. New York
ANNE CAMERON CAIN, individually and as representative on behalf of the Estate of ALEXANDER PINCZOWKSI, BEATRIZ GONZALEZ, individually and as representative on behalf of the Estate of NOHEMI GONZALEZ, JOSE HERNANDEZ, REY GONZALEZ, PAUL GONZALEZ, and REYNALDO GONZALEZ, Plaintiffs,
TWITTER, INC., Defendant.
OPINION & ORDER
HONORABLE PAUL A. CROTTY, United States District Judge.
Gonzalez ("Beatriz"), Jose Hernandez
("Hernandez"), Rey Gonzalez ("Rey"), Paul
Gonzalez ("Paul"), Reynaldo Gonzalez
("Reynaldo, " and together with Beatriz, Hernandez,
Rey, and Paul, the "Gonzalez Plaintiffs"), and Anne
Cameron Cain ("Cain, " and together with the
Gonzalez Plaintiffs, "Plaintiffs") sue Twitter,
Inc. ("Twitter"), seeking damages pursuant to the
Anti-Terrorism Act ("ATA"), 18 U.S.C. § 2333.
They allege that Twitter knowingly allowed ISIS members to
use their platform, thereby providing "material
support" to, aiding and abetting, and conspiring with
ISIS in connection with two heinous terrorist attacks in
Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium, that took the lives of
three of Plaintiffs' family members. They also assert
related claims for wrongful death and negligent infliction of
moves, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), to transfer this
action to the Northern District of California, where it has
its principal place of business and where the Gonzalez
Plaintiffs have asserted similar claims against Google Inc.
("Google"). For the reasons below, the Court grants
allege that on November 13, 2015, Nohemi Gonzales
("Nohemi") was murdered by three ISIS terrorists
who open fired at the Paris cafe where Nohemi and her friends
were dining ("Paris Attack"). See Am.
Compl., Dkt. 15, ¶¶ 510-12. They also allege that
on March 22, 2016, siblings Alexander Pinczowski
("Alex") and Sascha Pinczowski ("Sascha")
were murdered by a bomb detonated by an ISIS terrorist at the
Brussels airport ("Brussels Attack"). See
Id. ¶¶ 520-21. Beatriz and Reynaldo are
Nohemi's parents, Hernandez is Nohemi's step-father,
and Rey and Paul are Nohemi's brothers. Id.
¶¶ 40-43. Alex was Cain's husband. See
Id. ¶ 39.
The California Action
14, 2016, Reynaldo commenced an action against Twitter,
Google, and Facebook, Inc. ("Facebook") in the
Northern District of California, on his own behalf and
"as a successor-in-interest of the estate of his
daughter Nohemi Gonzalez" ("California
Action"). See Gonzalez v. Twitter, Inc.,
4:16-cv-03282-DMP (N.D. CaL), Dkt. 1 ¶ 9. He asserted
two claims against the defendants pursuant to the ATA,
claiming that the defendants "knowingly permitted the
terrorist group ISIS to use their social networks as a tool
for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and
attracting new recruits, " thus enabling ISIS to carry
out terrorist attacks, including the Paris Attack that
resulted in Nohemi's death. See Id. ¶ 1.
Reynaldo filed the California Action, Nohemi's mother,
Beatriz, filed a Petition for Probate in the Superior Court
of California, County of Los Angeles, seeking appointment as
the sole administrator of Nohemi's estate. See
Mot. Ex. 6, Dkt. 14-8. On January 25, 2017, Letters of
Administration were filed in the California Superior Court
appointing Beatriz as the sole administrator of Nohemi's
estate. See California Action, Dkt. 73-1. On January
31, 2017, Beatriz informed the district court in the
California Action of her appointment as administrator, and
moved the court to update the docket to reflect that she is
the administrator of Nohemi's estate. See
California Action, Dkt. 72. On February 2, 2017, Beatriz and
Reynaldo voluntarily dismissed, without prejudice, the claims
against Twitter and Facebook. California Action, Dkt. 74, 75.
On February 7, 2017, the district court granted Beatriz's
motion for the docket to be updated to reflect that she is
the administrator of Nohemi's estate. See
California Action, Dkt. 77.
April 21, 2017, the California Action plaintiffs filed a
Second Amended Complaint against Google. California Action,
Dkt. 95. The Second Amended Complaint asserts that Google
aided and abetted, conspired with, and provided material
support to ISIS in connection with, among other things, the
Paris Attack that took Nohemi's life. See Id. at
The Instant Action
January 8, 2017, while Beatriz's petition for appointment
as sole administrator of Nohemi's estate was pending,
Beatriz, Cain, Hernandez, Rey, and Paul filed the instant
action here in the Southern District of New York.
See Compl., Dkt. 1. Beatriz brought the action
individually and as representative on behalf of Nohemi's
estate, and Cain brought the action individually and as
representative on behalf of Alex's estate. On March 15,
2017, Twitter filed a motion to transfer this action to the
Northern District of California. Dkt. 14, refiled as Dkt. 21.
Twitter contends that the action has a "vanishingly
small" connection with the Southern District, and that
the action should be transferred to the Northern District of
California where Twitter is headquartered, and where the
"sister" California Action is currently pending.
See Mot., Dkt. 22, atl.
amended their Complaint on April 6, 2017, adding Reynaldo as
a plaintiff, and opposed Twitter's transfer motion on
April 7, 2017. Dkt. 15, 16. Plaintiffs argue that venue
should not be transferred to the Northern District of
California because no plaintiff resides there (Beatrix,
Hernandez, Rey, and Paul appear to reside in Southern
California, see Decl. of Patrick J. Carome, Mot. Ex.
2, Dkt. 22-3 ("Carome Decl.") ¶ 3, and
Reynaldo lives in California, see Am. Compl. ¶
43), "Alex and [Cain] lived in New York, where they were
married in 2013, " and Sascha "had graduated from
New York's Marymount Manhattan College in 2015 and stayed
in New York that summer to work as an intern."
Opp'n, Dkt, 16, at 1.
U.S.C § 1404(a) provides that "[f]or the
convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of
justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to
any other district or division where it might have been
brought or to any district or division to which all parties
have consented." The Court must first determine whether
this action could have been brought in the transferee
district. Next, the Court must decide ...