Parents and Tillery should take 'Like' Facebook class action to California, lawyer says; Briefs show teens continue to use FB

Steve Korris Dec. 9, 2011, 12:49am


EAST ST. LOUIS – Mark Tamblyn and Ian Barlow of Sacramento, who dropped a class action against Facebook and joined Stephen Tillery of St. Louis in a similar action here, should return to California and take Tillery along, Facebook owners assert.

On Dec. 8, San Francisco lawyer Matthew Brown asked U.S. District Judge Patrick Murphy to transfer Tillery's case to the Northern District of California.

Tillery represents parents of two teenagers claiming Facebook misappropriated their names and likenesses for commercial purposes without parental consent.

"Plaintiffs' counsel cannot dispute that venue and jurisdiction are proper in the Northern District of California, as Messrs. Tamblyn and Barlow previously filed and dismissed a highly similar lawsuit, Downey, in that district," Brown wrote.

He wrote that the teens have continued logging into Facebook since the parents sued, and must abide by a statement of rights that all users affirm.

The statement requires resolution of disputes in federal or state court in Santa Clara County, Calif., according to Brown.

Accounts apparently matching the teens showed 185 logins for one and 94 for the other since the parents sued, Brown wrote.

Brown didn't intend to put the exact numbers of logins in the public record.

He filed his brief under seal, but Murphy immediately ordered the clerk to unseal it.

Brown blacked out bits of it and filed it again.

That satisfied Murphy.

"Facebook now has filed redacted versions of the documents that it formerly filed under seal," Murphy wrote.

"Accordingly, the Clerk of Court is directed to strike in their entirety both Document 58 and Document 59 from the electronic docket of this case," he wrote.

The clerk hadn't done it by the end of the day, so the public could read both the brief and the redacted brief.

The brief gave numbers of logins, but bars covered them in the redacted brief.

The brief stated that the teens registered on Aug. 2, 2010, and Feb. 3, 2010, but the redacted brief covered the dates.

One section of the brief stated that the teens used their accounts frequently since filing suit, and another section stated that they accessed the accounts regularly.

The redacted brief covered the adverbs, "frequently" and "regularly."

Brown argued without redaction that Facebook employs 23 persons in Illinois, all at Chicago, and none with relevant information.

He wrote that a pending suit in Northern California alleges misappropriation of names and likenesses for all ages, with a subclass of minors.

He wrote that the most witnesses and documents would be at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Tillery sued Facebook in June, claiming it improperly advertised what users like.

He proposed a national class action or a class action in California, Ohio, Nevada, Illinois and Indiana.

Tamblyn and Barlow filed a similar suit for a New Jersey father at federal court in San Francisco in July, but voluntarily dismissed it in August.

Murphy presides over Tillery's case while his wife Patricia Murphy of Energy works with Tillery in a class action over weed killer atrazine before District Judge Phil Gilbert.

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