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Political Litigation

Federal Judge Says Trump Can’t Sue Twitter from Florida

— October 28, 2021

An attorney for the former president said they expected the decision.

On Wednesday, a Miami judge determined that former President Donald Trump cannot sue Twitter in a Florida court, but must instead abide by the company’s terms and conditions and initiate a complaint in California.

Trump filed suit against Twitter earlier this year, after Twitter—along with several other social media companies—suspended his account for inciting violence during the January 6th riots outside the United States Capitol.

According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola found that Trump is bound by a “forum selection clause” in Twitter’s terms of service. This clause mandates that certain lawsuits be filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Trump, notes Reuters, “lost his social media megaphone” after technology companies asserted that the former president had encouraged rioters by repeatedly insisting that the results of the 2020 election were invalid.

Facebook and Twitter icons together on a smartphone screen; image by LoboStudioHamburg, via
Facebook and Twitter icons together on a smartphone screen; image by LoboStudioHamburg, via

After rioters breached the U.S. Capitol, Trump made a brief public appearance appealing for peace. However, the commander-in-chief was criticized for seemingly applauding the rioters’ actions.

In their lawsuit against Twitter, Trump attorneys allege that the president’s account constituted a “public forum” and a “government entity,” and is therefore excepted from the forum selection clause.

However, Scola found that the clause is “valid and mandatory,” and that Trump’s “former status as the President of the United States does not preclude the application of the forum selection clause.”

“Even assuming that Trump was using his account in his official capacity, Trump has not advanced any legal authority to support his contention that he satisfies the second requirement of the exemption: that he is ‘legally unable to accept the controlling law, jurisdiction, or venue clauses,” the judge wrote.

Nevertheless, a Trump attorney said the result is not surprising.

“We thought this would be a longshot from the beginning,” attorney John Coale said. “We expected there was a decent shot we would end up in California.”

Reuters notes that a different judge also transferred Trump’s lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s YouTube from Florida to California on similar grounds.

Trump, adds CNET, filed a barrage of lawsuits against social media companies after he lost access to his accounts. The former president has broadly claimed that his suspension is a form of censorship and violates his First Amendment rights, despite the Constitution’s role in controlling the actions of government rather than those of private corporations.

Trump has also alleged that social media companies discriminate against conservatives.

As his complaints continue to process, Trump announced that he will establish a new social media network, called “Truth Social,” in opposition to “biased,” California-based companies.


Donald Trump Can’t Sue Twitter in Florida, Case Transferred to California, Judge Rules

Donald Trump loses bid to keep his lawsuit against Twitter in Florida

Trump loses bid to keep lawsuit against Twitter in Florida

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