Court Denies Parler’s Request That AWS Reinstate Web-Hosting Services

On Thursday, Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein of the Western District of Washington issued an order denying Parler’s request for Amazon Web Services (AWS) to reinstate its web-hosting services; however, Parler has not received the relief it requested.

Parler sued AWS for suspending its use of Amazon’s cloud hosting services, which it claimed would “kill” its business. Parler alleged violations of the Sherman Act for conspiracy in restraint of trade, breach of contract, and tortious interference with business expectancy. As mentioned, Parler asked for a temporary restraining order (TRO) for the court to order AWS to reinstate its web-hosting services for Parler. AWS opposed the TRO motion, contending that Parler failed to satisfy the requirements for this request — specifically, that it is Parler, not AWS, that violated the agreement.

The court noted that after various court requests and briefings, the parties agreed that the motion should be converted to a motion for preliminary injunction. The court reiterated what this case is not about and added that since this is before discovery, Parler has sought for the court to “determine the likelihood that Parler will ultimately prevail on its claims, and to order AWS to restore service to Parler pending a full and fair litigation of the issue raised in the Complaint.”

The court found that, at this point, Parler has failed to show that it is likely to succeed on the merits. The court also considered if Parler would suffer irreparable injury. The court noted that Parler averred that “AWS’s suspension or termination renders Parler unable to deliver the services it promises its users, and ‘entirely unable to function online.’” The court asserted that Parler’s purported injuries “may be irreparable”; however, the court stated that the Supreme Court “explicitly rejected the ‘possibility’ of irreparable harm as ‘too lenient’ to support a preliminary injunction.” The court added that AWS “disputed that Parler has shown that its extinction is ‘likely’ in the absence of an injunction.” The court stated that it is not making a finding on this issue but that “Parler’s claims to irreparable harm are substantially diminished by its admission ‘that much of that harm would be compensable by damages.’ ” As a result, the court found that Parler has not sufficiently shown the likelihood of irreparable injury needed for a preliminary injunction. The court added that the motion does not raise “serious question” on the merits of the claims and the balance of hardships is not in Parler’s favor. Additionally, the court stated that the balance of equities and the public interest does not weigh in favor of granting the injunction, particularly in light of the allegedly violent and abusive content that was on Parler.

As a result, the court found that Parler failed to meet the requirements to issue a preliminary injunction.