A New York software developer, who claims to have rights to 50 percent of the Facebook founder's equity in Facebook, will have to litigate in federal court. Facebook claims fraud.
appellate court judge ruled April 11 that because Facebook co-founder and CEO
Mark Zuckerberg is now a resident of California, a New York man's lawsuit
claiming part ownership of Facebook should remain in federal court rather than
be moved to a New York state court.
plaintiff, Paul Ceglia, also filed a second complaint April 11, contending that
he has emailed proof from Zuckerberg validating his claims.
lawsuit that was brought in state court in 2010 by Ceglia, of Buffalo, N.Y.-who
claims a 2003 contract he had with New York native Zuckerberg entitles him to
50 percent of Zuckerberg's equity interest in Facebook-was moved to federal
court two weeks ago.
should not be moved again to a state court, ruled U.S. District Judge Richard
Arcara in Buffalo.
the April 11 complaint, Ceglia claims he contributed "his time, ideas,
knowhow, and other 'sweat equity'" to the origin of Facebook and never
received due compensation. He also claimed that Zuckerberg deceived him by
lying about the early success of "TheFacebook" at Harvard University,
where he was an 18-year-old student at the time.
had claimed the Facebook CEO, whose parents still live in New York, is still a
legal resident of that state. Zuckerberg, 26, moved to Los Gatos, Calif., a half-hour
drive from the company's Palo Alto headquarters, in 2010 but had resided in
Palo Alto for six years before that.
of 2010, when this lawsuit was filed, Facebook had over 500 million active
users and employed over 1,600 people," Arcara wrote in his decision.
"It is simply incomprehensible that Zuckerberg intends to abandon his
life, friends and daily management of his multibillion-dollar company to return
to New York and live near his parents."
has lived in California continuously since 2004, has a driver's license issued
by the state, votes, pays taxes and receives his mail in the state, Arcara
who was not a Harvard University classmate of Zuckerberg's, claims that he has
a contract with Zuckerberg for development of the software program language and
Website concept that became Facebook, Ceglia attorney Robert W. Brownlie of DLA
Piper told eWEEK.
was a "small entrepreneur" in western New York at the time he knew
Zuckerberg, Brownlie said.
are pleased that the court agreed with us that this case belongs in the federal
court," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a company statement.
is a fraudulent lawsuit brought by a scam artist, and we look forward to
defending it in federal court."