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Winklevosses to seek Supreme Court review of Facebook settlement

The decision by the brothers comes shortly after an appeals court, which had upheld a $65-million settlement in 2008 between the twins and the social networking site, refuses to rehear the case.

May 17, 2011|By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from San Francisco — Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twin brothers who want to overturn a settlement they reached with Facebook Inc., said they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on their case.

This is the final legal avenue open to the Winklevosses, who allege that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for the social networking site.

The Winklevosses' attorney, Jerome Falk, said in a written statement that he plans to pursue two legal issues: the court's decision that a party who is defrauded into entering a settlement agreement cannot challenge the contract for fraud, and the court's decision that statements made in a confidential mediation cannot be used as proof that a party committed securities fraud.

"Settlements should be based on honest dealing, and courts have wisely refused to enforce a settlement obtained by fraudulent means," Falk said.

The Winklevosses on Monday failed to persuade the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to have the full 11-judge panel revisit last month's ruling that upheld the $65-million settlement the Winklevosses reached with Facebook in 2008. Legal experts had said the appeal was a long shot.

Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment. In a written statement after the 9th Circuit decision, the company said: "We're pleased with the court's decision."

A three-judge panel decided in April that the Winklevoss twins could not unwind the $65-million settlement agreement that gave them $20 million in cash and stock that is now valued at about $200 million. The Winklevosses say they were misled about the value of the stock.

The Winklevosses, who were students at Harvard with Zuckerberg, are planning another legal challenge in Boston, where they plan to ask the court to investigate their claims that Facebook and its lawyers concealed instant messages from them during the litigation. Their story was dramatized in the Oscar-winning movie "The Social Network."

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