July 23, 2011

Winklevoss Lawsuit Against Facebook Dismissed

Facebook has won another court victory over twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, as a Boston district court judge threw out a second lawsuit filed by the 2008 Olympians against the social networking giant and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

According to Jonathan Stempel of Reuters, the twins were "seeking to boost their $65 million settlement" with Zuckerberg, which had been reached as a result of allegations the twins made that Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for the website from them.

US District Judge Douglas Woodlock dismissed the case Friday, agreeing with Facebook's assertion that the twins' claims had previously been rejected by the courts.

Three months ago, a federal appeals court ruled similarly in a related lawsuit filed by the Winklevoss twins, with Chief Judge Alex Kozinski deciding that the $65 million in cash and stock they received as part of a settlement was "quite favorable," Stempel reported.

The Reuters reporter also states that the judge in that case ruled that the time for the legal wrangling to come to an end "has now been reached."

"The Winklevosses abandoned an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court last month," wrote Jessica Guynn in a Los Angeles Times report. "Instead the Winklevoss twins and their business partner Divya Narendra asked Woodlock for permission to investigate whether Facebook had suppressed instant messages and other evidence during settlement talks.

"The Winklevosses' attorney Tyler Meade said Friday that he expected the ruling and would be submitting a post-judgment motion relying on a federal rule that allows judges to reopen a case if vital information was not produced," she added. "So this may not yet end the seven-year legal feud that was featured in the hit movie 'The Social Network.'"

Neither Stempel nor Guynn were able to reach Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes for comment, but the twins' lawyer, Michael Schrag, told Reuters that the next step would be to file a "post-judgment motion under Rule 60(b)," which is a federal regulation allowing courts to, in Stempel's words, "grand relief from final judgments."

The Winklevosses claimed "that Facebook and its lawyers hid instant messages from them during litigation," and that Zuckerberg and his associates at the Palo Alto, California-based company had "duped them about the value of the shares they received," Guynn reported.

Both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing, China as rowers. They participated in the men's coxless pair event, finishing in sixth place out of the 14 teams that qualified for the competition.


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