Pinterest Inc. will face a lawsuit from a digital marketing strategist who says he helped conceive of the social media platform but not one of its founders, a California judge has ruled.
Late Thursday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Seibolt declined the company’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but he ended up co-founder Paul Cyra as the defendant since he closed Pinterest a decade ago. had left.
Christine Martinez sued the company in September, saying it contributed significant ideas to the platform, but was never compensated by founders Ben Silberman and Cyra. According to her complaint, Oakland resident Martinez was friends with Silberman when he asked her to “salve a failing shopping app” that would later become Pinterest.
She says she developed some core concepts for the platform, including features that allow users to create “pinboards” reflecting their cultural tastes and to enlist bloggers to recruit users. Created a marketing plan. Martinez claims she was so integral to the creation of the site that Silberman and Sciara embedded her name in the platform’s source code.
Pinterest dismissed the case in December, saying Martinez’s claims were too old and therefore barred by the statute of limitations. But Seibolt said Martinez “substantially alleges” that the parties agreed to defer compensation and that his claims stem from the company’s 2019 initial public offering. The judge called the IPO a “transformative event” that would trigger an obligation to pay him, while dismissing claims of conversion and unjust enrichment.
Representatives for Pinterest and Martinez’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
But Seibolt said Sciorra’s early departure from Pinterest meant that Martinez’s claims against him were time-barred.
The judge said, “So far as the plaintiffs allege that the defendants evaded the plaintiff’s contribution to the IPO, it is clear that these allegations do not involve Saira, who in 2012 only a few years after the company was formed left the company.”