Web Developer Claims He Owns 84% of Facebook

15 July 2010 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Author(s): Peter Vogel

Purportedly Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave the original web designer 84% of the company and a New York Judge issued the designer’s TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) which has been challenged by Zuckerberg and Facebook. Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit alleges that he was paid $1,000 by Zuckerberg for 50% of the company, plus 1% per business day from January 1, 2004 until till the website was completed. Although New York Judge Thomas Brown issued the TRO, Facebook requested that the case be moved to federal court. Why Ceglia waited this long is unclear since he and his lawyer are not responding to the media, but now that Facebook has an estimated 500 million users and is worth more than $11.5 billion I guess claims of ownership are not a big surprise. However, in New York the statute of limitations on contract breaches are 6 years so Ceglia probably will lose on that issue alone.

What’s The Standard for Issuing Injunctive Relief?

It does seem strange that a TRO was issued because in order to prove to a Judge that a TRO should be issued there needs to be evidence of imminent and irreparable harm to the moving party, and it seems strange that Ceglia could have carried that burden. Also to get an injunction one must prove that money damages won’t suffice and there is no other remedy available, and in this instance it seems that money damages would suffice and there are other remedies. Of course an interesting wrinkle to this case is that the Wall Street Journal reported that about Ceglia:

In 2009, New York’s Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo accused Mr. Ceglia of defrauding customers of his wood-pellet fuel company, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s office. The state claimed that he took more than $200,000 from consumers and then failed to deliver any products or refunds. The wood-pellet case is ongoing.

This will be interesting litigation to follow. Stay tuned




This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.


Related Services