We have covered the lawsuit filed — and tenaciously fought — by Paul Ceglia against Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg for quite some time now. The embattled entrepreneur/businessman/whatever claims he owns 50 percent of Facebook, according to a contract allegedly signed between him and Zuckerberg back in 2003.
To be frank, Ceglia is not the most popular litigant. He has been fined by the court, dropped as a client by several respected firms, and roundly criticized by Facebook’s counsel and by the media (including some writers for this particular publication).
Today, we have some updates in the case. Facebook’s attorneys at Gibson Dunn are not impressed, but Ceglia claims the new developments could be game changers. Oh yeah, and we also have an interview with Paul Ceglia, where he dishes on the Facebook case, his other inventions, and his general opinion of the legal profession…
On Saturday, Ceglia filed a motion to disqualify the law firms representing both Facebook and Zuckerberg (the co-defendants) in the case. From Law360 (sub. req.):
In a motion to disqualify, Internet entrepreneur Paul Ceglia said Zuckerberg essentially defrauded his own company after purportedly reneging on a contract to hand over a 50 percent stake in Facebook to Ceglia and that Gibson Dunn, Harris Beach PLLC and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, cannot ethically represent both parties.
The attorneys at Gibson Dunn are not having any of it:
“This is another desperate stunt by Ceglia to deflect attention away from his fraud. It is beyond frivolous,” said Facebook attorney Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn, who is one of the attorneys Ceglia wants disqualified.
In the other development, Ceglia produced expert reports last week that claim his alleged contract with the Facebook CEO — the contract that makes up the basis of the case — is in fact legitimate. The reports directly contradict expert testimony from Facebook’s attorneys, which we have covered here before.
(A quick document dump: here is page 1 and page 2 of the alleged contract. Here is the forensic report prepared by Neil Broom. Here’s the expert report prepared by James Blanco. And here’s the expert report of Larry F. Stewart.)
Here is the basic idea of the documents, from last week’s press release:
In support of their position that the contract is valid, West Coast experts Blanco, Stewart and Broom claim that the signature on page 2 of the Facebook Contract was indeed executed by Zuckerberg as were the “MZ” initials on page 1; claims which continue to be undisputed by Zuckerberg’s experts (See Blanco report page 87).In response to the allegations by Zuckerberg’s experts that page 1 was a “substituted page”, Ceglia’s experts defeated this claim proving that the staple holes line up and match between the two pages of the Facebook Contract (Blanco report page 88).
One of the reports reports also claims “toner to print the text for pages 1 and 2 matches a toner made by HP which ceased to be produced after 2005,” which supposedly refutes the previous reports from the Facebook side that “page 1 was ‘substituted’ in or around 2010.”
Facebook’s counsel remain unimpressed. Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn, who represents Facebook, provided us with another statement:
Ceglia’s so-called expert reports are more of the same: smoke, mirrors and lies. These ‘experts’ – some with notably checkered pasts – cannot rescue this fraudulent lawsuit. They say nothing credible about the smoking gun authentic StreetFax contract that we found on Ceglia’s computers and on the server of the international law firm Sidley Austin, where Ceglia had sent it in 2004. We look forward to responding to Ceglia’s filing on the Court-ordered schedule, but clearly the nine law firms that have withdrawn from Ceglia’s case (including three right on the eve of the filing of his reports) don’t share his misguided confidence in his case.”
Now that we’ve gotten the nitty-gritty out-of-the-way, let’s hear from the man himself, Paul Ceglia…