Zuckerberg-controlled companies filed eight so-called quiet title lawsuits in a Kauai court on Dec. 30 requesting the forced sales at public auction to the highest bidder. If successful, the suits would allow him to make his secluded beachfront land on the island's north shore even more private, according the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper.
Many of the defendants are living, but some are dead. The defendants may hold just a tiny fraction of ownership in the parcels because they are several generations removed from the original owners.
Last week, Zuckerberg's lawyer Keoni Shultz told CNBC, "It is common in Hawaii to have small parcels of land within the boundaries of a larger tract, and for the title to these smaller parcels to have become broken or clouded over time."
"In some cases, co-owners may not even be aware of their interests," Shultz said. "Quiet title actions are the standard and prescribed process to identify all potential co-owners, determine ownership, and ensure that, if there are other co-owners, each receives appropriate value for their ownership share."
The cases target a dozen small plots of "kuleana" lands that are inside the much larger property that Zuckerberg bought on Kauai. Kuleana lands are properties that were granted to native Hawaiians in the mid-1800s.
Some of the people who own, or who are believed to own, lands targeted by Zuckerberg's suits are descendants of the original owners.