Lawyers face off Facebook lawsuit

2012-04-05 11:23
Lawyers are arguing a case that may decide the ownership of Facebook. (AP)

Lawyers are arguing a case that may decide the ownership of Facebook. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Buffalo - A New York man who claims he and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a deal nine years ago that entitles him to half-ownership of the social networking giant won't be allowed to question Zuckerberg or search his computers at this point in his federal lawsuit, a judge ruled.

Paul Ceglia's lawyers will get the chance, though, to grill Facebook's experts about their findings that Ceglia's lawsuit is based on a fake document.

A federal magistrate judge issued the ruling following the latest round of legal arguments in a case with potentially billions of dollars at stake.

California-based Facebook in March filed a motion to dismiss the case, based largely on its experts' findings that cast doubt on the authenticity of a two-page contract at the centre of the dispute.

In his 2010 lawsuit, Ceglia claims that he and Zuckerberg signed the document in 2003, when he hired Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University freshman, to help him develop a street-mapping database.


According to the Ceglia, the contract includes language showing he also gave Zuckerberg $1 000 in start-up money for his Facebook idea in exchange for half-ownership of the company if it grew.

Zuckerberg has countered that he hadn't even conceived of Facebook at the time. His lawyers have accused Ceglia of doctoring the street-mapping contract to insert Facebook references, citing evidence challenging the age of the ink and other details.

Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio told Ceglia's attorney, Dean Boland, to submit his experts' reports on the contract in two months.

Each side will then get the chance to challenge the other's findings.

Boland had argued he should also be allowed to question Zuckerberg as he seeks to prove his claims, and to search the computers Zuckerberg used while a student at Harvard.

"We are very pleased with today's ruling," said Orin Snyder, a New York attorney representing Facebook and Zuckerberg. "The court denied Ceglia's request for broad discovery and continues to focus these proceedings solely on the question of Ceglia's criminal fraud."

Ceglia's attorneys welcomed the chance to challenge Facebook's experts.

"We are hopeful that once we have obtained and presented this information, the court will deny the defendants' motions to dismiss and allow the case to proceed to full discovery and an eventual trial," a statement from the lawyers said.

Ceglia has not attended a series of court sessions as his case has moved forward. His parents were at Wednesday's arguments but declined to comment afterward.
Read more on:    facebook  |  social networks

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

/South Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.