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Godwin family lawsuit against Facebook dismissed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court

The Godwin family sued Facebook for failing to stop Robert Godwin's murder, suggesting Steve Stephens could have been flagged when he began sharing murderous thoughts prior to the killing.

A Cuyahoga County judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed against Facebook by the family of Robert Godwin Sr., the man whose shooting death was captured on video and uploaded on the social media network.

According to records, the case was dismissed by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Timothy McCormick because the plaintiffs "failed to state claim upon which relief can be granted."

The decision was handed down on October 5.

The lawsuit, filed on Jan. 19, alleged that Facebook was negligent and failed to warn authorities of a possible threat. Steve Stephens was named as the man who shot and killed Godwin Sr. on Easter Sunday 2017, streaming the fatal shooting on Facebook. Stephens was later found dead inside a car in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit claimed Stephens wrote a Facebook post with threatening thoughts on Easter Sunday minutes before he documented the fatal shooting. However, because Stephens had no previous record of violence, McCormick ruled that Facebook could not have known what might take place and the social network also cannot control the offline actions of its users. So the charge of negligence was denied.

The violent events of Easter Sunday 2017 led to Facebook issuing a statement and Mark Zuckerberg addressing the events at the company's annual developer conference.

The suit sought compensatory and punitive damages, costs, expenses and attorney fees, and “any further relief” that the court “may deem appropriate.”

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