Paul Ceglia, the wood pellet salesman from New York claiming he was a founder of Facebook along with Mark Zuckerberg, filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg in 2010, alleging that they have signed a contract in 2003 that entitled Ceglia to half the company.
While the social networking giant's lawyers turned their full attention to whom it calls "inveterate scam artist," the buzz seems to be heading to its end without much drama.
A court filing on Monday suggests that an authentic contract found embedded in electronic data on Mr. Ceglia's computer did not mention Facebook at all. All it had was a company called Street Fax that Mr. Ceglia reportedly owned.
"The court-ordered forensic testing has uncovered the authentic contract between Mark Zuckerberg and StreetFax that Ceglia attempted to conceal," Facebook said in its filing. "This smoking-gun evidence confirms what defendants have said all along: the purported contract attached to the complaint is an outright fabrication.
The document submitted by Facebook appears to include signatures by Zuckerberg and Ceglia and a handwritten addition to the contract's terms.
Facebook's lawyers reportedly also found proof that a thumb drive had been inserted into the computer containing files named "Zuckerberg contract." Facebook's "ink expert" may conduct a test on the contract submitted by Ceglia to verify whether the ink in the signatures and added sentence above actually dates back to 2003.
If the case is still allowed to continue despite the finding, Facebook's lawyers said they will formally ask a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
According to Ceglia's lawsuit, Zuckerberg told him if he hired Zuckerberg to work on Ceglia's StreetFax.com project and helped fund the development of another project that became Facebook, Zuckerberg would give Ceglia a one-half interest in the project that became Facebook, reports Reuters.
Ceglia's lawyer did not comment on the Facebook filing.
Paul Ceglia himself has moved to Galway, Ireland after being "Facebook stalked."
"We have a hiccup in the case for sure, but both sides are under a protective order not to discuss the case," Ceglia's lawyer Paul Argentieri said.
In 2009, Paul Ceglia and his wife were sued by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, for his company Allegany Pellets allegedly taking $200,000-worth of pre-orders for wood pellets which they then failed to deliver.