In a move that is unlikely to annoy anyone, Facebook has announced its intention to take on some of the world’s biggest law firms in court, after they represented Paul Ceglia, a man who for several years claimed that he technically owned a big chunk of the social network, due to a contract signed by the site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, in the early 00’s. However that contract turned out to be a forgery, something Facebook now claims the law firms that represented him should have known and now it’s after blood.
Punitive blood, that is.
This is of course, far worse for the defendants, than if Facebook wanted their actual blood [insert vampire lawyer joke], because punitive damages are much more open to interpretation. If the case goes in Facebook’s favour, it could mean a big, big settlement.
Even with all of its billions though, suing lawyers never seems like a great idea, especially since – as Forbes points out – Facebook will need to prove that not only was Ceglia a liar, but that the law firms knew it. Fortunately then, it won’t be alone, as Chevron and a magnate in Alabama Coal have also announced their intentions to sue the same law firms which they claim have been using the courts as a way to shake down businesses.
Chevron is a good company to have on side for many reasons, including its deep pockets, but also because it has previous experience defending itself against legal action that involved coercion and bribery on the behalf of its legal opposition.
Facebook also has a trump card up its sleeve: a fellow co-counsel of the law firm being sued, purportedly informed it in a letter that the contract was fake. If that turns out to be true, the lawyers responsible for representing Ceglia could be in more trouble than just the Facebook suit, they could stand accused of deliberately presenting false evidence in court.
The law firm itself claims Facebook is just trying to bully other companies into not taking legal action against the social network for any reason.
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KitGuru Says: The worry with cases like this, is that it will discourage smaller firms from taking on cases against big corporations, as if they feel they may get sued in return, it could ruin them financially. Of course though, neither should individuals be able to get away with lying in court to try and get some free money for a corporation.
Hopefully the truth will out.