Debating Causation in the X Lawsuit Against CCDH: Impact on Tort Allegationsby@legalpdf
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Debating Causation in the X Lawsuit Against CCDH: Impact on Tort Allegations

by Legal PDFMarch 31st, 2024
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Explore the challenges surrounding causation in X Corp.'s tort claims, particularly in relation to the legal dispute and allegations of breach of contract, shedding light on the complexities of proving causation in such cases. CCDH argues that X Corp. fails to establish causation in its tort claims, highlighting that the alleged breach occurred independently of CCDH's actions. The court agrees, emphasizing the necessity of proving causation and rejecting arguments that do not establish a direct link between CCDH's conduct and the breach of contract.
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X Corp. v. Center for Countering Digital Hate, INC. Court Filing, retrieved on March 25, 2024 is part of HackerNoon’s Legal PDF Series. You can jump to any part in this filing here. This part is 16 of 19.

1. Causation

CCDH argues that X Corp. fails to allege that CCDH’s conduct caused Brandwatch to breach its agreement with X Corp. MTD&S at 23–24. The Court agrees. Both tort claims envision that the defendant has done something to “push[] a contracting party to act in a way that disrupts the contract.” Id. at 24 (citing Jenni Rivera Enters., LLC v. Latin World Ent. Holdings, Inc., 249 Cal. Rptr. 3d 122, 129 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) (defendant induced counterparty to breach a nondisclosure agreement); Savage v. Pac. Gas & Elec. Co., 26 Cal. Rptr. 2d 305, 315 (Cal. Ct. App. 1993) (defendant persuaded plaintiff’s employer to terminate employment agreement); SCEcorp v. Super. Ct. of San Diego Cnty., 4 Cal. Rptr. 2d 372, 373–74, 378 (Cal. Ct. App. 1992) (defendant forced counterparty to abandon merger)).

X Corp. does not allege that CCDH got Brandwatch to do anything at all. X Corp. alleges that Brandwatch agreed to keep Twitter’s content secure, FAC ¶ 31, that CCDH’s “obtain[ing] access to and access[ing] the Licensed Materials improperly and without authorization” was “unknown to Brandwatch . . . until recently,” id. ¶ 41, and that CCDH’s access “prevented Brandwatch from performing” because it meant that “Brandwatch failed to secure the data . . . according to the terms of the agreements,” id. ¶ 93. As CCDH argues, those allegations “show that any breach occurred independently of (and by necessity, before) [CCDH’s] actions.” MTD&S at 24 (adding: “the access did not cause the breach, the breach caused the access.”).

X Corp.’s response is that “the access is the breach.” Opp’n at 30. In other words, Brandwatch agreed to keep the Licensed Materials secure, and by allowing CCDH to access the Licensed Materials, Brandwatch necessarily—and simultaneously—breached its agreement to keep the Licensed Materials secure. The Court rejects that tortured reasoning. Any failure by Brandwatch to secure the Licensed Materials was a precondition to CCDH’s access. In addition, to the extent that X Corp. maintains that CCDH need not have done anything to impact Brandwatch’s behavior, then it is seeking to hold CCDH liable for breaching a contract to which it was not a party. That does not work either. See Tri-Continent Int’l Corp. v. Paris Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 16 Cal. Rptr. 2d 508, 511 (Cal. Ct. App. 1993) (a plaintiff “cannot assert a claim for breach of contract against one who is not a party to the contract.”).

Causation is therefore one basis for striking the tort claims.

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This court case retrieved on March 25, 2024, from storage.courtlistener is part of the public domain. The court-created documents are works of the federal government, and under copyright law, are automatically placed in the public domain and may be shared without legal restriction.