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Federal judge sends TikTok lawsuit back to state court, calls out "posturing" by Indiana Attorney General

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita argues Title IX does not protect gender identity, rather it prohibits discrimination and denial of equal opportunities on the basis of a person’s sex at birth.
FILE PHOTO: Brandon Smith
IPB News
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita sued TikTok in Allen County Superior Court, accusing the social media company of violating Indiana's Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. TikTok asked the case to be moved to U.S. District Court.

U.S. District Judge Holly Brady said about 90 percent of Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s federal complaint against TikTok was devoted to “irrelevant posturing.”

She ruled the case should remain in Allen County Superior Court, where it was originally filed.

In that ruling, Brady said that posturing stretched the State of Indiana’s complaint against the social media company to Kafka-esque lengths.

Indiana’s argument–that users of TikTok were never told their data could be shared with the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party- violated Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

Earlier this month, Allen Superior Court Judge Craig Bobay ruled the state is not likely to prevail in that lawsuit after attorneys for the state argued for a preliminary injunction against TikTok. Another hearing is set for next month.

Bobay denied the request for an injunction, while the federal court’s version of the lawsuit moved forward until a ruling by Brady earlier this week.

Late last year, attorneys for TikTok asked the case to be moved to federal court, in part because Indiana seemed to be involving issues of national security.

Such issues were already being discussed between TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance Ltd, and the U.S. government via the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Brady, appointed by President Donald Trump in 2018, said she could not find any question of federal law to be decided amid what she said were “hyperbolic allegations” suggesting potential espionage.

In her ruling, Brady said that TikTok’s arguments to move the case to federal court were given credibility by the way Rokita postured in his arguments, interjecting federal intrigue to interest an “intended audience…beyond the courthouse walls.”

Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.