Paul Ceglia’s side won a small legal victory in court yesterday when a judge ruled that the former wood pellet salesman and Internet entrepreneur has the right to limited discovery against Facebook in the context of a motion to dismiss. Mr. Ceglia filed a lawsuit against Facebook a year and eight months ago, claiming ownership of half the company. Facebook filed the motion to dismiss at long last, supposedly waiting until it was an absolute slam dunk (and probably hoping to exhaust Mr. Ceglia’s resources).
But after burning through a series of legal teams, Mr. Ceglia just picked up some legit lawyers with a track record of winning victories against corporations: Milberg LLP, which took on the case in a fairly transparent attempt to shake down the social network for a payoff before its imminent public offering.
Mr. Ceglia’s lawyers, who mention the words “jury” and “day in court” at every possible juncture, are aggressively fighting the motion to dismiss. Mr. Ceglia did have a contract for some work with Mark Zuckerberg prior to the founding of Facebook. While evidence suggests he’s making a bunch of shit up, there still may be enough of a doubt to drag Facebook and Zuck into court.
Yesterday’s ruling says that Mr. Ceglia can continue, with limitations, to seek evidence and compel information from Facebook.
“The court recognized that Mr. Ceglia is entitled to certain discovery necessary to respond to the pending motions to dismiss,” Mr. Ceglia’s lawyers said in a statement. “Specifically, Mr. Ceglia will obtain discovery of experts hired by the defendants and the opportunity to challenge their conclusions, some of which have already been contradicted by Mr. Ceglia’s own experts. We are pleased that the judge has ruled that this discovery should proceed, and 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.”
Mr. Ceglia’s aggressive new legal team has already succeeded in getting Zuck to release about 200 emails from his days at Harvard.