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Winklevoss twins press Facebook case in Boston

A new motion asks the court to determine whether Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, "intentionally or inadvertently suppressed evidence" in their dispute.

Facebook, data

Reports that the Winklevoss twins had decided to drop their legal dispute against Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, were apparently premature.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and partner Divya Narendra, who have accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea to create the social-networking giant, filed a motion today in U.S. District Court of Massachusetts to ask the court to determine whether Facebook and Zuckerberg "intentionally or inadvertently suppressed evidence."

The Winklevosses and Narenda claim in their filing that their efforts to file a motion for discovery and relief have been thwarted by Facebook and ConnectU, the Winklevosses' brainchild, which have objected to attempts by the trio's new lawyer to obtain pleadings and discovery files. Their previous legal representatives have also declined to turn over the information to their new lawyers, the filing states.

The filing states that once discovery is complete, appropriate relief will be requested.

The trio said yesterday in a filing with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that, "after careful consideration," it would not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal on a $65 million settlement to drop litigation related to the allegations against Facebook and Zuckerberg.

Facebook dismissed the new filing as lacking merit.

"These are old and baseless allegations that have been considered and rejected previously by the courts," said Neel Chatterjee, outside counsel for the social-networking giant.

The twins and Narendra, classmates of Zuckerberg while attending Harvard, claimed in a 2008 lawsuit that Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social-networking site they called ConnectU. (The conflict was depicted in the Academy Award-winning film "The Social Network," released in 2010.) The trio accepted a $65 million settlement from Facebook and Zuckerberg in exchange for dropping all further litigation against the site but later said the settlement was based on an inaccurate valuation of the company.

Facebook, which is now reportedly worth more than $100 billion, rejected their claims, saying that the Winklevosses and Narendra received their fair share. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Facebook and Zuckerberg in April, upholding the 2008 settlement. That led the Winklevosses and Narendra to announce their intention to appeal their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Updated June 24 at 8:20 a.m. to include Facebook comment.