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February 10, 2009 11:23 AM

Whoops! Quinn Publishes Confidential Facebook Settlement Figure in Brochure

Posted by Zach Lowe

When the founders of ConnectU agreed last year to settle their 2004 lawsuit charging Facebook with stealing its idea for a social networking site, one of the key provisions was that the amount Facebook paid would be a secret.

And it remained secret--until ConnectU's former firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, published the settlement figure ($65 million) in a brochure touting its litigation wins from 2008, according to this fantastic story in the Recorder, an Am Law Daily sibling publication.

Firm chair John Quinn told the Recorder that the figure's inclusion was an oversight and asked the paper not to publish the story. It's even more than an oversight, considering ConnectU fired Quinn over the firm's $13 million fee request in the Facebook case. The firm and its former client currently are in arbitration in New York over the matter, according to the Recorder.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner is representing ConnectU in the ongoing arbitration. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe advised Facebook in the litigation. Lawyers at both firms declined to comment. 

Experts contacted by the Recorder described the $65 million as a "significant sum," but say Quinn did good work for ConnectU.

The Am Law Litigation Daily's Alison Frankel followed up Tuesday with Peter Calamari, the Quinn Emanuel partner who represented ConnectU. He told Frankel the breach was an accident. "It was inadvertent, not intentional," Calamari said, adding that he believes the $65 million settlement figure "could be picked off by Googling records" in ConnectU's litigation with Facebook. "This was not a calculated thing."

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