Forget the upcoming Facebook movie – watching the twists and turns of the Paul Ceglia v Mark Zuckerberg lawsuit is like a real-life soap opera.
This the the one where the man from Wellsville in western New York is claiming he owns 84% of Facebook on the basis of a 2003 contract with Mark Zuckerberg. Although Facebook started becoming well known in 2005, Ceglia says he was only reminded of the contract when he was arrested for fraud over an unrelated matter.
Now WellsvilleDaily.com reports that Ceglia has produced another check payable to Zuckerberg, this one for $3,000 in April 2003. However, since it is a cashier’s check rather than a personal one, Ceglia’s name or signature is not anywhere on the check.
Previously Ceglia had produced one check stub to Zuckerberg for $1,000 and an electronic copy of a contract that purports to give Ceglia a stake in “The Face Book” or “The Page Book”. But Facebook describes the case as “frivolous” and argues that Zuckerberg didn’t conceive of Facebook until a year later in 2004. The company’s position is that Zuckerberg did some unrelated contract programming work for Ceglia as an undergraduate but did not sell a stake in a non-existent company.
The courts will take their own view but I would guess that this check stub helps Ceglia’s case, but only marginally. It suggests there was an ongoing business relationship between Ceglia and Zuckerberg that extended in scope beyond one payment. However, the check stub doesn’t prove what the payment is for. The “For” memo field was left blank.
My guess is the case would come down to the credibility of the contract itself. Since both Facebook and the judge are yet to see the original paper copy , which Ceglia’s lawyers claim to have in a “safe place”, that remains an open question.
The case is Ceglia v. Zuckerberg, 10-CV-00569, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York (Buffalo).
Photo Credit: Picture of Paul Ceglia from Bloomberg.