This week, a Federal lawsuit was filed in Buffalo NY against Facebook, Inc. and its principal shareholder Mark Zuckerberg, by a man named Paul Ceglia. Ceglia claims that Zuckerberg answered Ceglia’s ad back in the day to help Ceglia develop software for a street-mapping program Ceglia was trying to get started. Ceglia claims he paid Zuckerberg $1,000 for the programming work and then another $1,000 when Zuckerberg told him about his Facebook idea. Ceglia claims that Zuckerberg promised half the company to Ceglia for the $1,000.00.
Ceglia also claims that they put there agreement in writing in a two page “work-for-hire” contract. Only problem is Facebook’s press office stated in today’s NY Law Journal:
At no time did Zuckerberg enter into any agreement, written or otherwise, with (Ceglia) or anyone affiliated with (Ceglia) concerning Facebook or any similar social networking service or website,” the filing said. “To be clear, Zuckerberg did not sign the purported agreement…which is a ‘cut-and-paste’ job fraudulently manufactured by plaintiff for this lawsuit.”
Could someone really be crazy enough to file a lawsuit suing Zuckerberg for half his interest in the company based on a fraudulent document? How did he connect with Zuckerberg? Why did he wait until now to produce the document and file the lawsuit? Has he seen Social Network? What makes this even more intriguing is that Ceglia’s lawyer is Dennis Vacco, the former NY State Attorney General. Vacco could end up with serious egg on his face if he is in charge of this case and it ends up that the whole thing was a sham. He’s going to have his hands full. Zuckerberg is represented by the extremely capable Orin Snyder of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. They are pulling no punches:
“The lawsuit is a brazen and outrageous fraud on the court,” the Facebook response said. There is no middle ground here someone is going to lose very badly with very bad ramifications. And I don’t expect it to be FB or Zuckerberg.