ST. PETERSBURG (Fla.) -- The lawsuit by former President Donald Trump to have his Twitter account reinstated must be heard in a California Court, not a Florida court. This is under a user agreement that covers everyone using the social media platform. A federal judge ruled.
Robert Scola, U.S. District Judge in Miami, rejected Trump's claim that his Twitter account was temporarily suspended during Trump's last days as President. The California court requirement didn’t apply to him.
Scola explained that the forum selection clause was in effect when Trump joined Twitter in 2009 as a private citizen.
First, Trump's status as president of the United States did not prevent the application of forum selection clause. Scola wrote a 13-page directive stating that the forum selection clause was valid and mandatory.
Trump's lawsuit against YouTube will now be heard in a federal court in northern California, instead of Miami. Another lawsuit filed by Trump against YouTube was also transferred from Florida to California. However, another lawsuit against Facebook is still pending in Miami.
On Jan. 8 Trump's account was banned by Twitter. This came two days after Trump supporters stormed Congress while Congress was certifying Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election. Twitter stated that there was a risk of inciting violence in the wake of the insurrection.
Trump and other conservatives sued Twitter July 7th, claiming that his account suspension violated his First Amendment rights. They also claimed that it amounts to a coercion by Democrats to censor conservative voices.
Trump's @realdonaldtrump account was followed by more than 88,000,000 people on Twitter at the time.
Twitter's user agreement stipulates that any legal action against San Francisco-based companies must be brought in Northern California state or federal court. Scola's ruling determined that Trump failed to make the necessary legal showing to maintain the case in Florida. Trump lives at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Palm Beach.
Scola wrote that "Twitter’s forum selection clause was mandatory, not permissive."
The lawsuit, which could be a class action, will now be referred to a federal judge in California's northern district.
Twitter claims it has over 200 million users who are subject to the same agreement. They are bound by the California legal forum in any lawsuit against them.