By Chris Dolmetsch | Bloomberg
Pinterest Inc. has to face a lawsuit from a digital marketing strategist who says she helped set up the social media platform but not one of its founders, a California judge ruled.
Late Thursday, Alameda County Superior Court judge Richard Seabolt denied the company’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, but eliminated co-founder Paul Sciarra as the defendant for leaving Pinterest a decade ago.
Christine Martinez sued the company in September, saying she contributed key ideas to the platform but was never compensated by founders Ben Silbermann and Sciarra. According to her complaint, Oakland resident Martinez was friends with Silbermann when he asked her to “save a failed shopping app” that later became Pinterest.
She says she developed some of the key concepts for the platform, including features that allow users to create “message boards” that reflect their cultural tastes, and put in place a marketing plan to engage bloggers to recruit users. Martinez claims she was so vital to the site’s creation that Silbermann and Sciarra embed her name into the platform’s source code.
Pinterest decided to dismiss the case in December, because Martinez’s claims were too old and therefore time-barred. But Seabolt said Martinez “satisfied” that the parties agreed to defer compensation and that her claims stem from the company’s 2019 IPO. The judge called the IPO a “transformative event” that would trigger the obligation. to pay her, while claims of conversion and unjust enrichment were dismissed.
Representatives from Pinterest and a lawyer for Martinez did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
But Seabolt said Sciarra’s early departure from Pinterest meant that Martinez’s claims against him were time-barred.
“To the extent Plaintiff alleges that Defendants touted Plaintiff’s contributions to the IPO, it is clear that these allegations do not involve Sciarra who ‘left the company in 2012, just a few years after it was incorporated,'” the judge said. .
The case is Martinez v. Pinterest, RG21112456, California Superior Court, Alameda County (Oakland).
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