Ceglia's ownership claim to Facebook dismissed by federal court

The District Judge went by an earlier recommendation to dismiss by another judge

A District Judge in New York on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Paul D. Ceglia, claiming half ownership of Facebook.

In a 2010 lawsuit, Ceglia claimed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg signed a Work for Hire document in 2003 in which he agreed, in return for monetary payments, to give Ceglia a half interest in Facebook, which Zuckerberg was working on as a student at Harvard, besides providing programming and coding services for a search project called StreetFax.

Zuckerberg had stated under oath that he had not signed the Work for Hire document that Ceglia attached to his complaint, but only signed an agreement to do website development work for StreetFax, a now-defunct company.

Both Facebook and Zuckerberg alleged that the Work for Hire document had been fabricated by doctoring the text of the first page of the StreetFax contract and then adding it to the authentic second page of the contract, or its facsimile, that had Zuckerberg's signature.

In March 2013, Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, recommended that a motion by Facebook and Zuckerberg to dismiss Ceglia's petition should be granted as the purported contract was a "recently created fabrication," while the StreetFax document was the authentic contract.

Based on his review of the recommendations, District Judge Richard J. Arcara granted the motion to dismiss.

Ceglia could not be immediately reached for comment.

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in October 2012 that Ceglia was arrested by federal agents for allegedly attempting to defraud Facebook and Zuckerberg of a stake in the company, by allegedly doctoring, fabricating and destroying evidence to support his false claim.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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