BUFFALO — Attorneys for Facebook sought the dismissal Monday of what they called an “opportunistic and fraudulent” lawsuit by a New York man claiming half-ownership of the social networking site.
The attorneys asserted that Paul Ceglia, of Wellsville, had forged documents, fabricated emails and destroyed evidence, and said he had waited too long — six years — to file it and the statute of limitations had expired.
Ceglia’s attorneys say their client deserves his day in court.
In his 2010 lawsuit, Ceglia claimed that a 2003 contract he and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg signed entitled Ceglia to 50 percent of Facebook, which launched the following year.
Ceglia said the contract showed that when he hired Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University freshman, to help him develop a street-mapping database, he also gave Zuckerberg $1,000 in start-up money for his fledgling Facebook idea in exchange for half-ownership of the company if it grew.
Zuckerberg countered that he hadn’t even conceived of Facebook at the time. His lawyers accused Ceglia of doctoring the original “work-for-hire” contract to insert Facebook references and making up a series of email exchanges between Ceglia and Zuckerberg to try to bolster the claim.