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United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
August 12, 2022, Decided; August 12, 2022, Filed
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
GREGORY H. WOODS, United States District Judge:
What does it say about you if you "follow" someone on Twitter? What does it say about you when you retweet someone else's tweet? These are not just questions for Millennials or Zoomers. They are critical questions in this motion to dismiss. CNN argues that the Court should conclude as a matter of law that by retweeting another's tweet, the retweeter is adopting every word in the tweet as their own. A retweet, in CNN's view, cannot merely be used to comment on another's tweet or to forward the fact of its existence to another. CNN also argues that the Court should adopt the position that when you "follow" a person's Twitter feed, you become that person's "follower," in the sense that you are now an adherent to the entire belief system of the tweeter. By following someone on Twitter, in CNN's view, you are not merely interested [*2] in seeing what the person you are following has to say. The Court remains unwilling to adopt as a matter of law CNN's sweeping assertions regarding the significance of a retweet, or what it means to "follow" someone on Twitter, and therefore denies CNN's motion for reconsideration in part and denies CNN's motion to certify an interlocutory appeal.
Plaintiffs John P. ("Jack") and Leslie A. Flynn (collectively, "the Flynns") brought claims of defamation and false light against Defendant Cable News Network ("CNN") for airing a report that the Flynns allege falsely called them QAnon followers. CNN moved to dismiss the Flynns' claims and on October 22, 2021 Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave issued a Report and Recommendation (the "R&R") granting CNN's motion to dismiss. Dkt. No. 38. The Flynns objected to the R&R. Dkt. No. 39. In Flynn v. Cable News Network, Inc. (Flynn I), the Court adopted the R&R in part and rejected it in part. No. 1:21-cv-2587, 2021 WL 5964129 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 16, 2021). The Court granted CNN's motion to dismiss the Flynns' defamation claim, but held that the Flynns plausibly alleged a false light claim.
The Court refers to the R&R, and to Flynn I, for a comprehensive description of the facts and procedural [*3] history of the case. On December 30, 2021, CNN moved for reconsideration of Flynn I. Motion for Partial Reconsideration ("Mot."), Dkt. No. 49. The Flynns filed their opposition to CNN's motion on January 13, 2022. Dkt. No. 51. CNN filed its reply on January 20, 2022. Reply in Support of Motion for Reconsideration ("Reply"), Dkt. No. 54.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144552 *; 2022 WL 3334716
JOHN P. "JACK" FLYNN & LESLIE A. FLYNN, Plaintiffs, -against- CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC., Defendant.
Prior History: Flynn v. Cable News Network, Inc., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 241775, 2021 WL 5964129 (S.D.N.Y., Dec. 16, 2021)
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