Attempt to Recover Twitter Anti-Spam Costs to Proceed


     (CN) – Twitter can pursue a $700,000 case over anti-spam measures that it allegedly adopted to thwart deceptive links attached to bogus accounts, a federal judge ruled.



     Garland Harris and several co-conspirators allegedly created serial Twitter accounts, Tweeted misleading links and promoted third-party software in violation of the website’s terms of service, or TOS, according to an April complaint.
     Twitter says Harris accounted for about 10 percent of the $700,000 it spent on anti-spam efforts.
     Harris moved pro se to dismiss, claiming that Twitter should have alleged an amount that “exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs” to qualify for diversity jurisdiction under federal law.
     He claimed that it would not cut it to attribute “at least $75,000” in anti-spam measures to him. He also claimed that contract issue was a state matter, and said Twitter’s use of “spam” did not meet the CAN-SPAM Act, short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.
     Harris, of Florida, also cited lack of personal jurisdiction and said it would be “harsh” and “unfair” for him to litigate in California.
     Twitter opposed the motion on May 25, but Harris failed to file a reply. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston vacated a hearing scheduled for June 29 and denied the motion Friday.
     Harris “has not presented any facts that would support his position that the amount in controversy cannot exceed the jurisdictional minimum,” the 11-page decision states. “It is only disputed, not implausible, that the amount sought by plaintiff, including the value of the injunctive relief, is over $75,000. Further, it is well-established that a federal district court may hear a breach of contract claim, among other matters of state law, in diversity jurisdiction.”
     “The state of California has a justifiable interest in efficiently resolving this dispute and Harris has not demonstrated that defending the case in California would unduly burden him,” she added.
     Noting that Twitter has alleged breach of the TOS contract, which has its own definition of spam, Illston also concluded that consideration of the definition of spam in the CAN-SPAM Act is irrelevant.
     Twitter seeks an injunction and damages for fraud, breach of contract and unfair business practices.

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