JAMES v. MEOW MEDIA, INC.
90 F.Supp.2d 798 (2000)
Joe JAMES and Judy James, Co-Administrators of the Estate of Jessica James and Thomas Wayne Steger and Sabrina Collins Steger, Co-Administrators of the Estate of Kayce Steger and Gwen Hadley, Administratrix of the Estate of Nicole Marie Hadley, Plaintiffs
MEOW MEDIA, INC., d/b/a www.persiankitty.com, Network Authentication Systems, Inc., d/b/a www.adultkey.com, www.porntech.com, Midway Home Entertainment, Apogee Software, Ltd., ID Software, Inc., Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., GT Interactive Software Corp., Interplay Productions, Inc., Nintendo of America, Sega of America, Inc., Virgin Interactive Media, Activision, Inc., Capcom Entertainment, Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment d/b/a Sony Interactive Studios America, Lasersoft, Inc., Williams Entertainment, Inc., Time Warner, Inc., Polygram Film Entertainment Distribution, Inc., Island Pictures, Palm Pictures and New Line Cinema, Defendants.
No. CIV.A. 5:99CV-96-J.
United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division.
April 6, 2000.
John B. Thompson, Coral Gables, FL, David A. Strauss, Chicago, IL, Michael A. Breen, Mike Breen Attorneys at Law, P.S.C., Bowling Green, KY, for Joe James, Judy James, Thomas Wayne Steger, Sabrina Collins Steger, Gwen Hadley.
Mark P. Bryant, Paducah, KY, for Meow Media.
Steven C. Jackson, Jackson & Jaggers, Paducah, KY, Joel N. Kreizman, Evans, Osborne & Kreizman, Ocean, NJ, for Network Authentication Systems, Inc.
David L. Kelly, Denton & Keuler, Paducah, KY, Gerold O. Sweeney, Jr., John T. Williams, Lord, Bissell & Brook, Chicago, IL, for Midway Entertainment.
Richard H.C. Clay, Woodward, Hobson & Fulton, Louisville, KY, John David Cole, Cole, Moore & Baker, Bowling Green, KY, D. Wade Cloud, Jr., James T. Drakeley, Hiersche, Martens, Hayward, Drakeley & Urbach, P.C., Dallas, TX, Paul E. Salamanca, Lexington, KY, for ID Software, Inc.
Stephen E. Smith, Jr., McMurry & Livingston, Paducah, KY, Bruce J. Ennis, Jr., Deanne E. Maynard, Paul M. Smith, Elizabeth A. Cavanagh, David C. Belt, Jenner & Block, Washington, DC, for Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., GT Interactive Software Corp., Interplay Productions, Inc., Nintendo of America, Sega of America, Inc., Virgin Interactive Media, Activision, Inc., Capcom Entertainment, Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment.
V. Thomas Fryman, Jr., Mark S. Riddle, Greenebaum Doll & McDonald, Louisville, KY, Kevin T. Baine, Nicole K. Seligman, Jane E. Genster, Williams & Connolly, Washington, DC, for Time Warner, Inc., New Line Cinema.
Mary Elizabeth McGarry, Barry R. Ostrager, Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, New York City, Ronald G. Sheffer, Sheffer, Hutchinson & Kinney, Louisville, Ky, For Polygram Film Entertainment Distribution, Inc.
JOHNSTONE, Senior District Judge.
This matter is before the Court for ruling on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss [dkt.# 10, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52, & 53]. The Motions have been fully briefed and are now ripe for review. For the reasons set forth herein, the Motions to Dismiss will be granted and this case will be dismissed as to all Defendants.
Background Facts and the Complaint
Plaintiffs brought this action alleging negligence, strict liability, and RICO violations against various groups of Defendants based on the underlying theory that the Defendants' actions or lack thereof in creating and distributing a movie, numerous video games, and various internet materials caused their daughters' deaths and subsequent loss of earning capacity. As common to all counts, the following facts are set forth in the complaint:
On the morning of December 1, 1997, Michael Carneal, then fourteen years of age, took six guns, including a pistol, to the Heath High School in McCracken County, Kentucky. Carneal waited for a daily voluntary student prayer session to end. He then shot Jessica James, Kayce Steger, and Nicole Hadley, all three of whom were members of the prayer group, to death. He wounded five others.... In the aftermath of the massacre the police seized Michael Carneal's computer. Carneal was an avid computer user who logged onto the Internet to consume material that was obscene, obscene for minors, pornographic, sexually violent, and/or violent in content. Law enforcement officials also learned that Carneal was a consumer of violent computer and video games ... [and] that Carneal was a consumer of movies containing obscenity, obscenity for minors, pornography, sexual violence, and/or violence. One such movie that Carneal consumed was The Basketball Diaries. In this movie a student ... graphically massacres his classmates with a shotgun.... Dr. Diane Schetky ...an adolescent psychiatrist ... concluded that Carneal was profoundly influenced by his exposure to the above violent/pornographic media and that: `[t]he media's depiction of violence as a means of resolving conflict and a national culture which tends to glorify violence further condones his thinking.' Michael Carneal was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to twenty-five years in jail without possibility of parole.
Based on the foregoing, Plaintiffs, the parents of the deceased children, filed the instant complaint against three distinct groups of Defendants.