Federal Judge Sets Hearing Date for TikTok Preliminary Injunction Motions As Montana Ban Looms

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tiktok montana ban
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As the Montana TikTok ban approaches, a federal judge has set a hearing date for the short-form app’s preliminary injunction motions. Photo Credit: Solen Feyissa

Last week, TikTok moved to prevent a much-publicized Montana law (which is expected to ban the short-form app’s use beginning on January 1st) from going into effect as planned. Now, a hearing has officially been scheduled for the ByteDance subsidiary’s preliminary injunction motions.

This newest development in the high-stakes legal battle over Montana’s TikTok ban just recently came to light in an order from District Judge Donald W. Molloy. For background, May saw Montana Governor Greg Gianforte sign into law the nation’s first full-scale ban of TikTok, which has for years grappled with criticism of its personal-data storage and usage policies, among other things.

The latter pushback – and lawmaker scrutiny – ramped up dramatically during 2022’s conclusion and 2023’s opening few months. As it stands, over half of U.S. states and all manner of countries have banned TikTok’s use on government devices.

Meanwhile, Indiana continues to litigate against the TikTok Music operator for allegedly exposing children to explicit content, whereas the UK in April fined the app about $16 million “for misusing children’s data.”

Bearing in mind these pertinent background details, TikTok promptly fired back against Montana’s first-of-its-kind law with a pair of lawsuits in May – one filed by the platform itself, another filed by TikTok creators but reportedly bankrolled by the video-sharing service.

The aforementioned preliminary injunction motions were submitted as part of these complaints, with the plaintiffs having claimed that the Montana ban violates (among other things) the First Amendment. Also as highlighted at the outset, Judge Molloy has now responded to the filing parties’ joint push to establish a preliminary injunction briefing schedule.

Per this legal document, the defendant in both cases – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen – has until July 31st to file a responsive pleading, with a July 21st deadline for TikTok to respond to proposed discovery requests dating back to late June.

Next, the court has likewise called on the defendant to submit in opposition to the preliminary injunction motions “a single, consolidated brief not to exceed 8000 words” by August 18th. A sole reply brief from TikTok, this time with a wordcount cap of 4,500, will then be due back by September 15th, the order shows.

Finally, a hearing on the preliminary injunction requests is set for the morning of October 12th, according once again to the order. At the time of writing, TikTok didn’t appear to have commented publicly on the schedule, which has entered the media spotlight as the platform and its Beijing-headquartered parent company are continuing to spearhead ambitious expansion initiatives on the global stage.