Facebook claimed it found on the computers of Paul D. Ceglia the original StreetFax contract which had assigned work to its founder Mark Zuckerberg, while a work order that Ceglia claimed as the basis for his ownership of a stake in Facebook was allegedly a forgery.
In a 2010 suit filed before a federal court in New York, Ceglia claimed that Zuckerberg signed a contract in 2003 that awarded Ceglia half of Facebook–along with an additional one percent for every day that his website was unfinished past Jan. 1, 2004.
Zuckerberg stated under oath that he did not sign the forged Work for Hire Document that Ceglia attached to his complaint, but had signed only an agreement to do website development work for a now-defunct company named StreetFax, and this agreement said nothing about Facebook or any other social networking website.
Ceglia claimed Zuckerberg only signed one agreement, which was the Work for Hire document.
In a memorandum filed Monday supporting defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, Facebook and Zuckerberg alleged that Ceglia had created the Work for Hire document by doctoring the text of the first page of the StreetFax Contract, and then adding it to the authentic second page of the contract, or facsimile, that had Zuckerberg’s signature.
During expedited discovery, Ceglia initially tried to conceal the hard drive containing the StreetFax contract, but later asserted that Zuckerberg and his lawyers had created a forged document themselves and somehow planted it on his hard drive, according to the court filing.
Facebook claimed the authentic StreetFax contract was stored as an attachment to two emails that Ceglia had sent on March 3, 2004 from a email@example.com account to Jim Kole, an initial member of StreetFax who at the time was a lawyer at the international law firm Sidley Austin. Defendants issued a subpoena to Sidley Austin, which located and produced the exact same Ceglia-to-Kole emails and the StreetFax contract from the law firm’s server.
Facebook and Zuckerberg also stated that Gerald LaPorte, a forensic chemist and document dating specialist, tested the ink from the handwritten notations purportedly made when the Work for Hire document was signed in 2003. He determined that the ink is less than two years old.
Ceglia’s lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment.
Facebook has asked the case to be dismissed, alleging that the lawsuit is a fraud.