Twitter scored an apparent home-court advantage as it prepares to defend itself against a lawsuit brought by former President Donald Trump.
According to the Washington Examiner, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola Jr. has allowed the suit to be moved from the Southern District of Florida to the Northern District of California.
Trump takes on Big Tech
The underlying dispute reportedly stems from the decision by Twitter and other social media outlets to ban Trump in the wake of a riot on Capitol Hill in January.
Trump recently filed a lawsuit against several tech giants, arguing that Twitter, Facebook, and Google violated his First Amendment rights.
His position is notable in that it claims, among other things, that these private companies are subject to the constitutional protection of free speech because they have been working in collaboration with the federal government.
The court challenges remain in their preliminary stages at this point, but the former president is actively campaigning to have his social media accounts reinstated.
Although he filed the lawsuits in Florida’s Southern District, the social media platforms filed motions to have the cases moved to California. Not only are the companies headquartered in that state, but they might be more likely to find a more sympathetic judge in California’s Northern District.
“Failed to satisfy their heavy burden”
Google achieved a similarly favorable ruling earlier this month in its bid to change the venue.
In his ruling this week, Scola wrote: “The Court finds that Trump’s status as President of the United States does not exclude him from the requirements of the forum selection clause in Twitter’s Terms of Service. The Plaintiffs have failed to satisfy their heavy burden to show that this case should not be transferred.”
While Twitter’s terms require that all lawsuits against the site be filed in California, Trump argued that he was exempt since he was still president at the time that his account was suspended. He also contended that keeping the case in Florida was in the public’s interest.
Scola dismissed those arguments, meaning the former president’s legal challenge is likely to encounter some early headwinds in court.
In the long run, however, it might not matter that much since Trump’s attorney seems confident that the case is likely to make it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.