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Facebook Claimant Asks Judge to Send Contract Lawsuit Back to State Court

Paul Ceglia, the man who claims in a lawsuit that he owns 84 percent of Facebook Inc., asked a federal judge overseeing the case to send it back to state court.

Ceglia’s lawyers argued in filings yesterday that U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara’s court lacks jurisdiction over the matter because Ceglia and Zuckerberg are both citizens of New York state. Zuckerberg, who lived in Dobbs Ferry, New York, until 2004, has said he now lives in California.

“As a matter of law, Zuckerberg’s domicile remains in New York until he proves otherwise,” Ceglia’s attorneys argued in the filing.

Ceglia, 37, claimed in a suit filed June 30 in state court that Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg signed a contract in 2003 that entitles Ceglia to control of the world’s most popular Internet social-networking site. Facebook’s lawyers moved the case to federal court in Buffalo on July 9.

“This is another ridiculous and demonstrably false claim in an already absurd lawsuit,” Facebook, based in Palo Alto, California, said in an e-mailed statement. “It is telling that the plaintiff does not want his bogus case heard by a federal court.”

According to Facebook, Zuckerberg moved to California in 2004, the year he launched Facebook. The company said it offered to show Ceglia’s lawyers Zuckerberg’s California driver’s license, the lease on his Palo Alto home, California state tax returns and proof that he’s registered to vote in the state.

The case is Ceglia v. Zuckerberg, 10-CV-00569, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York (Buffalo).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

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