Michael Bien is leading the RBGG team representing the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance (USWUA) in their ongoing efforts to halt the U.S. government’s high-profile attempt to ban the WeChat super app in the United States.  Van Swearingen, Ernest Galvan, Ben Bien-Kahn, Alex Gourse, and Amy Xu are members of the RBGG team.

Along with co-counsel Keliang “Clay” Zhu, of the DeHeng Law Offices, Angus Ni, of AFN Law, and Thomas Burke and David Gossett of Davis Wright & Tremaine, the USWUA legal team obtained a preliminary injunction blocking the ban in federal court in San Francisco and has successfully defended against the government’s repeated attempts to stay the injunction.  Links to significant court documents and USWUA press releases are set out below. 

On September 19, 2020 Judge Laurel Beeler of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order granting a nationwide preliminary injunction. The order effectively suspended the enforcement of the WeChat ban as outlined by President Trump’s Executive Order and subsequent rules issued by the Commerce Department.  On October 23, 2020, the Court denied Defendants’ motion to stay the preliminary injunction.  The Court’s rulings provided important and hard-fought victories for USWUA and millions of WeChat users in the U.S.

On October 26, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for The Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous order denying the U.S government’s second motion to stay the preliminary injunction, ruling that the government has “not demonstrated that they will suffer an imminent, irreparable injury during the pendency of this appeal.”  The preliminary injunction remains in place pending the outcome of the appeal in the Ninth Circuit, which will be heard on January 14, 2021.

“Each of the four federal judges that have considered the government’s emergency request for a stay have appropriately balanced the overwhelming evidence of immediate and irreparable injury to our clients’ First Amendment protected interests if the WeChat ban goes into effect against the government’s speculative claims of injury caused by the continued operation of WeChat in the United States,” concluded Bien.

U. S. District Court, Northern District of California

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit