Since its rise to prominence in the tech industry, Facebook has had to deal with a number of suits filed against it. Now the company is filing a lawsuit of its own.
According to The Associated Press,Facebook is suing several law firms that represented a man who claimed he owned half of the social network,and was entitled to billions of dollars from the company and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
The case was dismissed in April, and the man, Paul Ceglia, is facing related criminal charges. Facebook Inc. and Zuckerberg filed a lawsuit Monday against DLA Piper and other law firms and lawyers, saying they conspired to file and prosecute a fraudulent lawsuit. DLA Piper is one of the world’s largest business law firms.
According to The Inquisitr, Ceglia claimed in a 2010 lawsuit that he and Zuckerberg signed a 2003 software development contract that included a provision entitling him to half-ownership of Facebook in exchange for $1,000 in startup money for the budding company. Facebook’s lawyers had claimed that while the two did have a contract, references to the company were slipped in for the lawsuit.
Fortune reported that the suit was filed in New York Supreme Court, and accuses the law firms of malicious prosecution and collusion with the intent to deceive a court. Facebook is requesting both treble damages and punitive damages.
General Counsel at Facebook, Colin Stretch, indicated that the lawsuit was being brought as a matter of principle.
“We said from the beginning that Paul Ceglia’s claim was a fraud and that we would seek to hold those responsible accountable. DLA Piper and the other named law firms knew the case was based on forged documents yet they pursued it anyway, and they should be held to account.”
A spokesman from DLA Piper has since responded to the complaint filed by Facebook.
“This is an entirely baseless lawsuit that has been filed as a tactic to intimidate lawyers from bringing litigation against Facebook. DLA Piper, which was not part of this case at its outset or its conclusion, was involved for 78 days. Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg claim that they were damaged in those 78 days. We will defend this meritless litigation aggressively and we will prevail.”
He went on to argue that DLA Piper could not be held liable because of the fact that 10 months after they withdrew from the case, and while the litigation was still ongoing, Facebook made millions in its IPO, which was conducted around the same period.
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