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Twitter Firehose Battle Returned to State Court

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The social analytics service PeopleBrowsr can seek continued access to Twitter's full feed of data in state court, a federal judge ruled.

PeopleBrowsr relies on full access to Twitter's data stream of tweets, nicknamed the Firehose, to provide its clients with meaningful observations and deep insight into the products and services that Twitter users describe in their posts.

Twitter decided to end its contract with PeopleBrowsr and shut off direct access to the Firehose. Claiming that this change violated California's Unfair Competition Law, PeopleBrowsr filed suit in San Francisco County Superior Court and won a temporary restraining order against Twitter.

Twitter jeopardized the restraining order by removing the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, leading PeopleBrowsr to insist that its complaint does not raise any federal claims.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen remanded the suit Wednesday and said Twitter must pay for the "reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees" that PeopleBrowsr incurred as a result of Twitter's removal of the case to federal court.

"The fact that the removal shortly followed the state court's issuance of a TRO suggests that Twitter's decision to remove this case was born out of a desire to find a more sympathetic forum," he wrote.

Chen found that "Twitter's removal lacked an objectively reasonable basis for seeking removal."

PeopleBrowsr's temporary restraining order will stay in place as the case continues in San Francisco Superior Court.

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