Internet Law

Lawyers kicked off Twitter sue for breach of contract, citing Musk's amnesty tweet

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(Photo by Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Husband-and-wife lawyers Jared and Elizabeth Lee Beck have filed a breach of contract suit in a bid for reinstatement to Twitter that is based on an Elon Musk tweet.

The lawyers sued through their company, Don’t Tread On Us, in a January lawsuit that was removed to federal court in Miami on March 9. They claim they are eligible for reinstatement because of a Nov. 24, 2022, tweet by new Twitter owner Elon Musk in which he offered “a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.”

The lawsuit contends Musk changed the terms of Twitter’s user agreement in his tweet. Reuters, Law360 and MediaPost have coverage.

The Becks, who supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, were kicked of Twitter in 2019 after Beck made derisive comments about Kamala Harris when she was a presidential candidate. The Becks met in 2003 when they were summer associates at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, according to Reuters. They are now civil litigators in Miami at their law firm Beck & Lee Trial Lawyers.

The Becks have had run-ins with both the Democratic National Committee and Donald Trump, according to the lawsuit.

The Becks had represented real-estate investors suing over the abandoned Trump International Hotel & Tower project in Fort Lauderdale. The litigation got media attention in 2016 due to Elizabeth Lee Beck’s claim that Trump called her disgusting when she sought a break to pump breast milk during his 2011 deposition.

The Becks’ law firm also sued the Democratic National Committee in 2016 alleging it favored the Hillary Clinton campaign while undermining Bernie Sanders. The lawsuit was dismissed on standing grounds, but it “inspired a vigorous social media discourse” and was vital to their cause, the Becks say in their twitter lawsuit.

Twitter is seeking to transfer the suit to U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. The social media website contends in a March 15 motion to dismiss that its only contract is the user agreement, which allows suspension for any reason and does not require reinstatement.

The company also says it is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which bars claims for traditional editorial functions such as the decision to remove third-party content.

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