Twitter Required to Litigate in Virginia Rather than California

Law App IconCompanies that interact with consumers from other jurisdictions typically include forum selection clauses in their agreement/terms of use.  In the event of a dispute with a consumer, these clauses allow the company to choose a forum that is most convenient in order to obtain a “home field advantage.” For example, a company may find it advantageous to appear before a local court as its counsel may be more familiar with the local rules and judges in that particular venue.

Social media companies like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube each include a “forum selection clause” in their terms of service agreements which provide that disputes or claims brought against these social media platforms must be brought in California’s state or federal courts. Although these clauses are generally deemed enforceable, Congressmen Devin Nunes, who hails from California, recently overcame the obstacle of a forum selection clause in a lawsuit he filed against Twitter in Virginia, notwithstanding Twitter’s position that the suit had to be filed in California.

Continue reading

When Your Social Media Presence Can be Used Against You in a Foreign State as a Basis for Personal Jurisdiction

Merriam-Webster defines “social media” as “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”  Individuals and businesses are increasingly turning to social networking sites — i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube (among others) — to interact with clients and customers.

Jurisdiction

As a result of the proliferation of people and companies making use of social media accounts, more and more courts throughout the United States are being asked to consider when a party’s social media presence can provide a sufficient basis for establishing personal jurisdiction over a party.  Federal courts sitting in New Jersey and elsewhere have recently considered this very issue.  Individuals and businesses using social media would be well-served to understand the holding of this case, which sets forth when a New Jersey Court will exercise jurisdiction over a party because of how it uses social media.

Continue reading