Somewhere, in the state of New York, there is a man. A man who believed that half of the stake that Mark Zuckerberg holds in Facebook belongs to him. If it is true it would make him very rice. Is it true? Well, that is up to a judge to decide, but like the course of true love these things never do run smoothly. Problems with case currently revolve around failure of the plaintiff to comply with a judicial order regarding, of all things, Internet based records.
The man in question, one Mr. Paul Ceglia, directed his lawyer to ignore a judicial order to turn over data related to an email account, which a judge ordered back in August The lawyer followed his client’s advice and failed to comply with the judges order.
After the plaintiffs and his council failed to comply lawyers for Facebook asked the U.S. Magistrate, in Buffalo, New York, Judge Leslie Foschio to punish him. The judicial order, which was given on August 18th of this year, specifically ordered Mr. Ceglia to turn over email account information and passwords so that Facebook’s lawyers could examine evidence related to the case.
Will punishment come for Mr. Ceglia? We won’t find out for at least another few weeks. Judge Foschio scheduled a hearing on Monday to determine what will happen. That hearing, which will not take place until the 2nd of November, will determine in the plaintiff will be forced to comply with the order, or face some serious penalties. Though, a man who has flaunted a judicial order once may be equally unlikely to do so a second time. Sanctions for both the plaintiff and his lawyer are already being seriously considered by the judge.
The order specifically requires Mr. Ceglia to give Facebook access to the computers and files requested. It also requires Mr. Ceglia to describe the content of any materials that may be missing.
Wondering how Mr. Ceglia got involved with the founder of Facebook to begin with? Well, when Mark Zuckerberg was still a Harvard Freshman, and not yet a billionaire, he took side jobs. Several of them came from Mr. Ceglia. In 2003 the two signed a contract for multiple projects. Mr. Ceglia claims that one of these projects eventually became what we know as Facebook. While Mark Zuckerberg does not deny signing a contract, he does deny that the contents of that contract as accurate. Lawyers for Facebook call that contract version a forgery. They also say that an “authentic” version of the contract will be found on Ceglia’s computer and that version of the contract does not concern Facebook at all.
The case, which has been ongoing for about a year, is Ceglia v. Zuckerberg et al, and it is being tried in the U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, the case number is No. 10-00569. At this time no date has been filed for a final ruling on the case. If Mr. Ceglia wins the case he will get a portion of a company worth about $68.2 billion, according to SharesPost Inc.