A Washington federal judge dismissed a $1 billion lawsuit today filed by Washington attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch Inc., against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Klayman filed suit (PDF) against Zuckerberg and Facebook in May, accusing the social networking site and its officers of taking too long to remove a Facebook page that called for violence against Jews. The page was eventually removed, but Klayman, who is Jewish, had alleged that by allowing the page to stay up for several days, he was personally put at risk.
In the complaint, Klayman accused Zuckerberg and Facebook officers of purposefully keeping the page up to boost revenues and get attention. He pointed to the recent portrayal of Zuckerberg in the biopic The Social Network as lacking "strong ethical and moral character.”
Facebook, represented by Craig Primis of Washington’s Kirkland & Ellis, filed a motion to dismiss (PDF) in late July calling Klayman’s lawsuit “a publicity stunt.” Facebook argued that the lawsuit was frivolous, since Klayman had suffered no injury and, “in any event, Facebook had no duty to shield him from the offensive speech of other Facebook users.”
The $1 billion damages request, Facebook added, was “outrageous.”
Finding that Klayman had failed to file an amended complaint in accordance with an Aug. 19 court order, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton issued an order Friday morning dismissing Klayman’s lawsuit with prejudice.
Reached by phone Friday morning, Klayman said he planned to ask for reconsideration, since he wasn’t aware that he was required to file an amended complaint.
“[Walton] should have made a ruling on the original complaint that had been fully briefed,” Klayman said.
Primis did not immediately return a request for comment. His co-counsel at Kirkland & Ellis, K. Winn Allen, declined to comment.