Facebook files motion to dismiss Ceglia suit

March 26, 2012

Facebook announced Monday that it has filed to have a lawsuit filed by Paul Ceglia against it dismissed. The social network released information Monday that it alleges proves that Ceglia is lying about striking a deal with Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg early in the network’s development for 50 percent or more of the company.

“Today’s motion proves what Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have emphatically stated all along: this case is a fraud,” said Facebook attorney Orin Snyder. “The motion asks the Court to dismiss this fraudulent lawsuit, and demonstrates that Ceglia has forged documents, destroyed evidence, and abused the judicial system in furtherance of his criminal scheme. Ceglia must be held accountable.”

A lawyer for Ceglia did not immediately return a request for comment on the allegations or the motion to dismiss.

The company alleges that Ceglia has forged documents to make it appear as if Zuckerberg agreed to give him a large stake in Facebook in 2003, calling the entire case a “fraudulent shakedown.”

The company goes on to allege that Ceglia backdated documents to make it appear that they were created in 2003, and that the ink from the notes said to be from the time the contract was made only date back a couple of years. A forensic expert, Facebook said, “determined, through extensive chemical analysis, that the ink is fewer than two years old.”

The company also alleges that Ceglia forged several e-mails between himself and Zuckerberg, because the e-mails could not be found on the Harvard University servers — where Zuckerberg went to school — and contain historically inaccurate references, including reportedly getting the facts wrong about the day Facebook went online.

One series of e-mails, the documents say, included an exchange between Ceglia and Zuckerberg about launching “thefacebook.com” on Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m.

“This exchange is a historical impossibility: Thefacebook.com website did not go live and become available to students until the afternoon of February 4, 2004,” the report says.

The motion is the latest twist in the very strange case. In the past, Ceglia has claimed that Facebook planted an image on his computer and has accused the company of fabricating information to paint him as a liar.

With the social network going public sometime this year, Facebook is likely eager to tie off any loose litigation ends. In an interview with ZDNet last year, Ceglia said that he would do everything in his power to prevent Zuckerberg from taking the company public.

“You won’t go public Mark, you won’t IPO, you won’t pass go,” Ceglia wrote in an e-mail to the Web site. “I won’t let you sell this company out from under me not while I have the power to stop you.”

Related stories:

Paul Ceglia suffers another setback in Facebook case

Facebook says ownership suit is based on forged documents

Winklevoss twins down for the count, but Mark Zuckerberg not off the hook

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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