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Judge in Facebook case to give experts more input

April 04, 2012|By Jessica Guynn
  • Facebook founders Dustin Moskovitz, left, and Mark Zuckerberg in 2005.
Facebook founders Dustin Moskovitz, left, and Mark Zuckerberg in 2005. (Robert Durell / Los Angeles…)

Paul Ceglia, the New York man who says he has a contract that entitles him to half of Mark Zuckerberg’s multibillion-dollar stake in Facebook Inc., has two months to produce reports from his experts that show that the two-page document is authentic.

A federal judge in Buffalo, N.Y., issued the ruling after a hearing Wednesday that ran more than four hours.

After Ceglia produces the reports, each side will have two months to question the other's experts.

Facebook has submitted findings from its experts that Ceglia’s version of the 2003 contract was doctored.

"We are very pleased with today's ruling. The court denied Ceglia's request for broad discovery and continues to focus these proceedings solely on the question of Ceglia’s criminal fraud,” said Orin Snyder, an attorney who represents Facebook and Zuckerberg.  “We welcome the opportunity to develop additional evidence of Ceglia’s misconduct and look forward to having him held accountable."

The social networking giant, which in early February filed for an initial public offering that could value the company at more than $100 billion, has asked the court to throw out Ceglia’s claim. Ceglia has hired new lawyers who filed papers to fight the motion to dismiss.

His lawyers said Wednesday that Ceglia was pleased that the discovery phase of the case would proceed.

“We are hopeful that once we have obtained and presented this information, the court will deny the defendants’ motions to dismiss and allow the case to proceed to full discovery and an eventual trial,” they said in an emailed statement.

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