Trump Loses Effort to Keep Suit Over YouTube Ban in Florida
(Bloomberg) -- Google’s legal battle to keep Donald Trump banned from the company’s YouTube video-sharing platform was transferred from Florida to a federal court in California over objections by the former president.
The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore in Miami means Trump’s lawsuit seeking a return to the social-media platform will be moved to the Northern District of California, near the headquarters of Google owner Alphabet Inc. Moore agreed with YouTube that its terms of service allow the company to choose the forum for such lawsuits.
Trump filed a similar suit in Florida against Facebook Inc., which also froze his account days after a mob of his supporters violently attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. Trump on Thursday asked a judge to force Facebook to reinstate his account while the suit proceeds. He made a similar request last week in a suit against Twitter Inc.
Transferring the YouTube case to California will make logistics in the lawsuit a “pain in the butt,” Trump’s lawyer John P. Coale said in a phone interview late Wednesday, adding that he believes the case “is ultimately going to be decided in the Supreme Court.”
Trump, who has mostly stayed at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida since leaving office, isn’t likely to attend the hearings anyway, Coale said. “I’m sure if there’s a trial he’d probably want to go, but that’s pretty far off,” he said.
Trump’s lawsuits against YouTube, Twitter and Facebook all claim the social-media companies are infringing on his free speech rights and caving to pressure from his successor in the White House. The Biden administration has sought to quell misinformation and hate speech on social media platforms. Trump used the accounts with the companies to spread false claims that the 2020 presidential election he lost had been rigged.
The judge in the YouTube case rejected Trump’s claim that the suit should stay in Florida because it relates to a “localized controversy” in the state where he lives. Trump is seeking class-action status for the case, meaning plaintiffs could come from all over the country.
“The court finds that this case does not present a localized controversy that favors keeping this litigation in the Southern District of Florida,” the judge wrote. “To the contrary, this case involves issues that are national in scope.”
Twitter is also seeking transfer Trump’s suit against it to California.
The case is Trump v. YouTube LLC, 1:21-cv-22445, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).
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