Today is the deadline for Paul Ceglia, former wood pellet salesman, minor real estate baron and internet entrepreneur, to turn over evidence in his lawsuit against Facebook, in which he claims a 2003 contract with Mark Zuckerberg entitles him to half the social network.
The case has dragged on for more than a year, and has been at an impasse for weeks. Mr. Ceglia still has not complied with an August 18th order to turn over more evidence, and has in fact moved to Ireland, where he has family. As far as anyone knows, he’s still living there.
The evidence stalling the case? Removable drives the court has decided exist, based on claims made by Facebook after its team examined Mr. Ceglia’s computers. In a Sept. 28 decision, a federal judge ordered Mr. Ceglia to produce the drives and show why he should not be sanctioned for failing to do so earlier. Sanctions would mean Mr. Ceglia would have to pay for all of Facebook’s legal fees, and Judge Leslie Foschio seems to be leaning that way.
But it’s not just Mr. Ceglia who could be on the hook. Allison Frankel of Reuters reports Mr. Ceglia’s legal team could also be subject to sanctions. That means no fewer than four law firms, as the plaintiff has burned through counsel and is currently represented by “interim” counsel Jeffrey Lake and a long-time advisor Paul Argentieri, could be fined if Facebook’s bulldog lawyer Orin Snyder decides to teach them a lesson.