Last month, Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit saying he owns half of Facebook got the attention of the national and international press, mainly because the suit includes several alleged email exchanges between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Ceglia. Facebook offered its response to the suit today in court, repeating its contention that the whole thing is a fraud by Ceglia, who is described in the new filing as “an inveterate scam artist whose misconduct extends across decades and borders.”
Ceglia’s complaint “is based upon a doctored contract and fabricated evidence,” Facebook lawyers contend. And as to the contract that Ceglia included with his lawsuit? It’s “a ‘cut-and-paste’ job fraudulently manufactured by Plaintiff [Ceglia] for this lawsuit.” And the lawsuit itself “is a brazen and outrageous fraud on the Court,” they state.
There isn’t anything new or unexpected in this filing, which is an answer to Ceglia’s complaint and is a standard part of litigation, but it is an emphatic re-statement of Facebook’s earlier contention that Ceglia is a scammer.
Facebook does acknowledge that Zuckerberg did some work for Ceglia on a project called StreetFax.com, but insists this work had nothing to do with Facebook. The web site “provided a database of photographs of traffic intersections for access by insurance adjusters.”
Some other sources have reported that Facebook’s answer somehow shows that Facebook is saying it “doesn’t know” whether the emails are fake, or that there’s a split between Zuckerberg and Facebook’s position. That’s wrong. While Facebook’s answer does state in some parts that Facebook “lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief” about the emails, that phraseology is just legal language that gets used because Facebook as it is today didn’t technically exist when Ceglia alleges those emails were sent. Facebook today is only repeating what its various spokespeople have said since Ceglia filed his amended lawsuit last month: the emails are fake, plain and simple.
Documents related to this case:
» Facebook’s answer to Ceglia Amended Complaint [PDF]
» Ceglia’s Amended Complaint, filed 4/11/11 [PDF]
» Exhibit 1 to Ceglia lawsuit, the contract Facebook has called a “cut-and-paste job” [PDF]