Winklevoss Twins Pester Supreme Court with Facebook Dispute

Paul Lilly

Admire the Winklevoss twins for their persistence or despise them for reneging on a promise not to pursue any further legal action against Facebook after agreeing to settle for $20 million in cash and $45 million in stock options, which today is worth more than $160 million. Either way, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss will soon be out of legal avenues (and out of the news) as the duo, along with Divya Narendra, take their beef to the U.S. Supreme Court for a final ruling.

This is akin to sitting down with the Godfather in a corner booth at the local Italian restaurant, only what's being talked about is legal and no one stands to wear cement shoes when it's all over. What's at stake here is more money, either in cash or stock options, or both. But first, let's quickly recap.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with partner Divya Narendra, signed a settlement with Facebook back in 2008 after claiming Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social-networking site. They received cash and stock options from Facebook in the settlement, but later decided that Zuckerberg and Co. misrepresented the true value of Facebook, and thus they're owed more money.

The plaintiffs haven't had much luck in court so far, most recently when a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them.

"For whatever reason, they now want to back out," chief justice Alex Kozinksi summarily said. "Like the district court, we see no basis for allowing them to do so. At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached."

Turns out the chief justice was only partially correct. Litigation will come to an end, but not before the disgruntled trio take their beef to the Supreme Court for one final ruling.

"Settlements should be based on honest dealing, and courts have wisely refused to enforce a settlement obtained by fraudulent means," said Jerome B. Falk Jr. , the Winklevoss' lead appellate attorney. "The court's decision shut the courthouse door to a solid claim that Facebook obtained this settlement by committing securities fraud. Our petition to the Supreme Court will ask the high court to decide whether that door should be reopened."

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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