Facebook is suing lawyers who represented Paul Ceglia, a man who claimed he was owed 50% of Mark Zuckerberg’s company.
In 2010, Ceglia sued Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, stating that he and Zuckerberg had struck up a deal in 2003 that gave him a major stake in Facebook.
Ceglia submitted a bunch of emails and a contract that were allegedly forged. The original contract was signed in April 2003, before Facebook was conceived. In it, Zuckerberg agreed to work on a separate project for Ceglia called Street Fax Inc.
Ceglia was later arrested by the FBI for allegedly trying to defraud Facebook and extort the company into a pricey settlement. The FBI said Ceglia had doctored the original 2003 contact to make it look like Facebook owed him 83% of the company. Federal court dismissed Ceglia’s case as fraud and a federal grand jury indicted Ceglia for the same offence.
“The contract on which the lawsuit was based was an obvious forgery, rife with historical impossibilities and other red-flags for fraud,” Facebook’s complaint states.
A number of legal firms worked with Ceglia during the lawsuit. But when they dropped Ceglia’s case, they often did so quietly rather than openly stating that Ceglia’s documents may have been forged. Facebook says it was forced to continue litigation with Ceglia because the law firms stayed quiet.
“We said from the beginning that Paul Ceglia’s claim was a fraud and that we would seek to hold those responsible accountable,” Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said in a statement. “DLA Piper and the other named law firms knew the case was based on forged documents yet they pursued it anyway, and they should be held to account.”
Here’s the full complaint: