It’s been a long time coming but Facebook, or rather its lawyers, have finally issued a formal, legal response to Paul Ceglia’s claim he is owed half of Mark Zuckerberg’s stake in the social networking site. And it pulls no punches.
As reported by the New York Times, Facebook filed the following response in the United States District Court in Buffalo, N.Y. on Thursday.
This lawsuit is a brazen and outrageous fraud on the court. Plaintiff is an inveterate scam artist whose misconduct extends across decades and borders. His latest and most far-reaching fraud is the amended complaint filed in this action, which is based upon a doctored contract and fabricated evidence. Plaintiff alleges that he recently ‘discovered’ a purported contract that now supposedly entitles him to ownership of 50 percent of Zuckerberg’s interest in Facebook. The purported contract was signed in 2003, yet plaintiff waited until 2010 to file this action — a seven-year delay during which plaintiff remained utterly silent while Facebook grew into one of the world’s best-known companies. Plaintiff has now come out of the woodwork seeking billions in damages.
Wow, that’s quite a missive. Ceglia is openly called an “inveterate scam artist,” and the evidence he has submitted branded “doctored” and “fabricated.” There is also a questioning of why Ceglia waited so long before making the claim, which I have to admit puzzles me greatly. In essence Facebook and its lawyers aren’t giving an inch on this one. In fact their language has only strengthened.
Since Ceglia filed his claim, and the evidence he thinks will prove he’s telling the truth last year, Facebook has pretty much tied up another ownership claim. Just last month the long-running Facebook vs. the Winklevoss twins came to an end (we hope, because it’s getting boring) when the U.S. Appeals ruled that the original settlement for $65 million will be enforced.
Facebook will be hoping the Ceglia case reaches a conclusion (one to its satisfaction) more quickly than the Winklevoss case did. And that it won’t quite them so much money. Not that $65 million is a whole lot of cash to someone such as Mark Zuckerberg who has a virtual fortune of $4 billion. But still.