Facebook CEO: Keep private life out of lawsuit

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Web Developer looking...

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?