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50 Percent Solution? Facebook Sues Lawyers of Paul Ceglia

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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. 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. In its lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, Facebook claims that the lawyers representing Ceglia "knew or should have known" that his lawsuit was fraudulent and "based on an implausible story and obviously forged documents." Facebook is seeking unspecified damages along with reimbursement of its expenses racked up in defending itself against the lawsuit.

DLA Piper called the suit "baseless." Peter Pantaleo, DLA Piper's general counsel, in a statement said Facebook sued "to intimidate lawyers" to refrain from suing the Menlo Park, California-based company. The other defendants did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

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— The Associated Press and Reuters

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