Facebook CEO: Keep private life out of lawsuit
Wednesday 01 September 2010
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg says a lawsuit by a man who claims to own a huge chunk of the popular social networking website is seeking to uncover unnecessary details about his private life to harass him.
Zuckerberg is fighting a civil lawsuit filed by Paul Ceglia, an upstate New York resident who claims an 84 per cent stake in the privately held company, believed to be worth several billion dollars.
Ceglia, an owner of a wood pellet fuel company who lives in Wellsville, New York, is trying to return the case to a New York state court, after Zuckerberg moved it to federal court.
"They filed this remand motion to harass defendants under the pretext of obtaining jurisdictional discovery into Zuckerberg's private life," lawyers for Zuckerberg said in a Monday filing in the federal court in Buffalo, New York.
Ceglia alleged in a June 30 lawsuit that a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg entitles him to control of Facebook. Forbes magazine in March estimated Zuckerberg was worth $4 billion (£2.6 billion).
Federal courts can hear cases from parties in different states. Zuckerberg, 26, considers himself a California citizen, while Ceglia said both men are New Yorkers.
"The higher the stakes, the more likely you want to take advantage of procedural moves to improve your chances of winning, or settling on the most favorable terms," said Adam Steinman, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey.
Steinman said "conventional wisdom" is often that defendants prefer federal court to state court, because cases might be dismissed faster or less likely to reach juries. "There could also be a 'home-field' advantage if a state judge were more sympathetic to a local plaintiff," he said.
It is unclear what details Ceglia hopes to uncover, or Zuckerberg wants to keep from being revealed.
Social networking companies such as Facebook have long faced concerns over privacy. They must balance users' concerns about how much personal information is made public with a need to generate revenue by sharing details with advertisers.
In May, Facebook introduced tools to give users more control over what information is shared.
Zuckerberg, a Dobbs Ferry, New York native, launched Facebook in February 2004 as a Harvard University sophomore. He dropped out after that year and moved to California.
Now based in Palo Alto, California, Facebook said it has more than 500 million users and 1,600 employees.
Terry Connors, a partner at Connors & Vilardo LLP in Buffalo who represents Ceglia, said he expects to respond to Zuckerberg's allegations in a court filing within two weeks.
Facebook, in an emailed statement, said "Ceglia's claim that Mark Zuckerberg lives in New York is another ridiculous and demonstrably false claim in an already absurd lawsuit."
In June, Zuckerberg said he had no date to take Facebook public. The next month, he told ABC News he was "quite sure" there was no contract ceding Facebook ownership rights.
A hearing on Ceglia's lawsuit is set for October 13.
Life & Style blogs
GTA 5 Online DLC: San Andreas Flight School update brings 16-seater jet plane and more
What is ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge?
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
Common antibiotic linked to increased risk of heart disease
Karl Lagerfeld shoots Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst in suspenders for fashion shoot
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
- 4 Kajieme Powell: Missouri police release video footage of second man killed by officers
- 5 Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits, Training & Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# S...
£250 per day: Orgtel: Network Engineer (CCNP), Cisco Gold Partner, Farnborough...
£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...
£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...