Challenge vaccine misinformation – not online – but in a courtroom. A Salt Lake City-based lawyer is preparing to take legal action across the country.
More than half a million Americans have died from COVID. Lawyer Brian Rothschild said the real tragedy is the thousands of people who have died after a vaccine became available.
People like Mikel Lowe.
âIt’s absolutely heartbreaking for all of us,â said Christina Lowe, a recently widowed mother of two young boys.
Lowe and her late husband Mikel, a federal firefighter and native of San Diego County, both believed – and even shared – the misinformation about vaccines. That is, until he caught COVID and died at just 38 years old.
âWe honestly thought COVID was primarily political,â Lowe said. âThat the mandates of vaccines were primarily political. We didn’t think it would impact our family. And here we are today, and it completely devastated my family.
A recent study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate identified 12 people responsible for generating over 65% of vaccine misinformation online, the so-called “Dozen of Misinformation.”
âIt really is a very small and small group of people who are responsible for an enormous amount of damage,â says Rothschild. âThese are the people who should be held accountable for this. “
Rothschild is now representing the spouses, children and parents of unvaccinated COVID victims in the soon-to-be-launched wrongful death lawsuits against Disinformation Dozen.
âMy first reaction when I heard about this potential lawsuit was wow, that’s a very interesting angle,â said San Diego legal analyst Dan Eaton.
Eaton says that in order to win these lawsuits, Rothschild will have to prove that unvaccinated people have died from COVID due to negligent or intentional actions by disinformers.
âThe challenge in proving this claim is to show that there is a link between driving and death,â Eaton said.
A challenge, he says, is made all the more delicate at a time when public health officials are still sorting out the truth.
âThis is a unique type of wrongful death trial because you talk about disinformation related to a pandemic that is surrounded by long uncertainty,â Eaton said.
One thing is certain: for Rothschild, it’s personal.
âWell, for a long time I felt helpless,â Rothschild said. âI saw friends die – very close and dear friends to me – before the vaccines were available. And I felt a little helpless in the face of that. And I think a lot of us have it. does and do. But now that vaccines are generally available and people are still dying, I’m angry about it. I can’t just sit idly by and let this kind of thing go on without looking for an answer. looking for a way to reduce that kind of harm in our society. And I think it is a way.
Rothschild has said he plans to file such lawsuits in several states by the end of October.
The Communication Decency Act promulgated under the Clinton presidency largely protects social media platforms from liability for information posted on these platforms. Basically, social media platforms are not considered publishers under federal law, which means they cannot be sued.