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Major Facebook lawsuit should be dismissed, says judge

By James Barnes

28 March 2013 at 12:00 BST

A multibillion-dollar lawsuit over the ownership of social media platform Facebook should be dismissed as the contract on which the case is based on was faked, a New York judge yesterday said.

Facebook: contract dispute

Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said the contract on which Paul Ceglia pinned his case against Facebook and its owner Mark Zuckerberg was altered after it was signed to include references to Facebook.

Contract dispute

The Independent newspaper reports that Mr Ceglia, 39, began the legal action in 2010 claiming that he and Mr Zuckerberg signed a contract in 2003 that included a provision entitling Mr Ceglia to half ownership of Facebook in exchange for $1,000 in start-up money.
According to the report, Facebook claimed to have one billion users and has been valued at $50bn.
In his recommendation for dismissal, Judge Foschio highlighted a copy of the original April 2003 contract discovered on a hard drive as the lawsuit was being argued. Mr Ceglia had emailed it to a lawyer in March 2004, years before his action against Facebook and Mr Zuckerberg.

'Inexcusable fraud'

The dismissal recommendation will now be passed to a district judge.
Colin Stretch, deputy general counsel for Facebook, commented: ‘Today's federal court decision confirms what we have said from day one: this lawsuit is an inexcusable fraud based on forged documents.’
Mr Ceglia’s representatives are yet to comment.
In October, Mr Ceglia was charged with mail and wire fraud after an investigation by the US Postal Inspection Service claimed he altered, fabricated and destroyed evidence to support his lawsuit.


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