NY man who claims Facebook stake gets new lawyer | Inquirer Technology

NY man who claims Facebook stake gets new lawyer

/ 08:22 AM June 30, 2011

BUFFALO — A New York man suing Mark Zuckerberg for a stake in Facebook has changed attorneys as the multibillion-dollar social media company pushes for access to a contract and emails that form the basis of his case — documents that Zuckerberg’s attorneys call fakes.

San Diego attorney Jeffrey Lake is now representing Paul Ceglia of Wellsville, New York, replacing the large New York firm of DLA Piper and the Buffalo firm of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, according to a filing in U.S. District Court.

The filing offers no explanation for the switch. Dennis Vacco, a partner in the Buffalo firm, declined to comment Wednesday. DLA Piper issued a statement confirming it had withdrawn from the case, but it declined further comment, citing attorney-client privilege.


The two sides are due in court Thursday for a hearing on whether Facebook and its team of forensics experts should have immediate access to Ceglia’s computers and the original documents he contends entitle him to a 50 percent share of Zuckerberg’s interest in Facebook.


The documents include a 2003 “work for hire” contract bearing the names of Ceglia and Zuckerberg, who was at the time a Harvard University student developing the website, and a series of emails Ceglia says the two exchanged in 2003 and 2004.

Ceglia, in turn, wants access to email exchanges with Zuckerberg captured from Zuckerberg’s Harvard account.

Zuckerberg’s lawyers say Ceglia should produce his material before seeing the Harvard emails.

“These indisputably genuine emails directly contradict Ceglia’s make-believe narrative and demonstrate that Ceglia’s story is a lie,” Facebook attorney Orin Snyder wrote in a court filing.

Ceglia says he and Zuckerberg met and signed the agreement in the lobby of the Radisson Hotel in Boston on April 28, 2003, after Zuckerberg responded to his Craigslist help-wanted ad for work on a street-mapping database Ceglia was creating. According to the lawsuit, Ceglia paid Zuckerberg $1,000 to work on the streets project and gave him another $1,000 after Zuckerberg told him about his Facebook idea, with the condition Ceglia would get half if it took off.

The emails document discussions about the arrangement, according to Ceglia.


Ceglia could not be reached Wednesday to comment on the change of attorneys, the second such switch since he began his legal case last year. A telephone listing for his home in Wellsville was not in service.

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TOPICS: Facebook, Lawsuit, Mark Zuckerberg, United States
TAGS: Facebook, Lawsuit, Mark Zuckerberg, United States

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