Paul Ceglia, the man suing for part ownership of Facebook, has been fined $5,000 because he failed to fully comply with a court order to give experts access to his email accounts.
Paul Ceglia will have to pay Facebook’s court costs in trying to obtain the material, which Facebook claims will expose Ceglia’s case as a fraud.
US Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said Ceglia had delayed the case by failing to produce his email addresses and passwords dating back to 2003. His lawyers claimed that it was an affront to his personal privacy.
However, the judge was not impressed. Ceglia had been fully advised by his lawyers not to do so and chose to knowingly ignore the unambiguous orders of the court.
According to Associated Press, Foschio said that the fine is designed to “coerce plaintiff’s future compliance with all court orders in this case.”
The judge declined to take disciplinary action against the attorneys, who have since abandoned Ceglia.
His current lawyer, Dean Boland, said his client would pay the fine and comply with all future court orders. Facebook has since been given the email account information it sought, he said.
Ceglia’s lawsuit claims he hired Zuckerberg to help him develop a street-mapping database in 2003 and gave him $1,000 in start-up money for the Facebook idea in exchange for half ownership of the company.
So far the case has focused whether a two-page work-for-hire contract was a forgery. Facebook’s attorneys have said they will soon move to have the case dismissed based on their experts’ findings that the documents are fake.
Foschio has denied a request by Boland to sanction Facebook’s lawyers for failing to disclose the existence of five computers used by Zuckerberg at Harvard. Boland thought that these might contain emails between Zuckerberg and Ceglia. Foschio said no court order had been breached.