N.Y. State Appeals Court tosses out Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s lawsuit against law firms representing scammer
A state appeals court has closed the book on Mark Zuckerberg’s lawsuit against the law firms that represented a fugitive fraudster who tried to scam him.
Paul Ceglia, 42, had claimed he was entitled to 50% of the social media empire because of a 2003 work-for-hire contract Zuckerberg had signed for Ceglia’s Street Fax website and another site with the working title of “The Face Book.”
Ceglia sued Zuckerberg in 2010 to get his “fair share” of the multi-billion dollar company, but the case started falling apart in 2011 when Ceglia’s own lawyers determined the Face Book contract was a forgery and quit the case. Other law firms, including DLA Piper and Milberg LLP, subsequently took and then dropped the case.
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Zuckerberg and Facebook charged those lawyers knew or should have known the contract was a phony from the beginning, and sued them for malicious prosecution for pushing the case forward.
In a ruling Tuesday, the Appellate Division tossed the billionaire’s suit.
They noted the phony contract had been convincing enough to briefly fool a judge who handled Ceglia’s suit, and pointed out that the law firms tried investigating claims it was bogus. The panel of judges noted that Ceglia had even passed a polygraph test for one of the firms.