EAST ST. LOUIS – Lawyers who dismissed a suit against Facebook in California and joined Stephen Tillery of St. Louis in a similar suit here suddenly quit Tillery's team and retreated to California.
Mark Tamblyn and Ian Barlow of Sacramento withdrew from Tillery's case on Dec. 9, after Facebook moved to transfer it to California.
Facebook lawyer Matthew Brown of San Francisco claimed the presence of Tamblyn and Barlow on Tillery's team showed that the case belongs in California.
"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," he wrote on Dec. 8.
Next day, the California connection ruptured.
Edward Wallace, of Wexler Wallace in Chicago, replaced Tamblyn and Barlow.
Tillery sued Facebook in June for parents of two teenagers, claiming it misappropriated their names and likenesses for commercial purposes without consent.
He alleged Facebook improperly advertised what the teens liked.
He proposed a national class action or a class action in California, Ohio, Nevada, Illinois and Indiana.
Tamblyn and Barlow filed a similar suit at federal court in San Francisco in July, but voluntarily dismissed it in August to join Tillery's team.
Facebook moved to transfer Tillery's case after reviewing accounts of the teens.
Brown wrote that one logged into Facebook 185 times since the parents sued, and the other logged in 94 times.
He wrote that they must abide by a statement of rights that all users affirm.
He wrote that the statement requires resolution of disputes in federal or state court in Santa Clara County, California.
He wrote that Facebook employs 23 persons in Illinois, none with relevant information.
He wrote that most witnesses and documents would be at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams set a Jan. 10 deadline for Tillery to respond to the transfer motion.
Williams assists U.S. District Judge Patrick Murphy in presiding over the case.
Murphy's wife, Patricia Murphy of Energy, works with Tillery in a class action over weed killer atrazine before District Judge Phil Gilbert.