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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Facebook Claimant Was Fined

Paul Ceglia, the person suing for part ownership of the world’s largest social network Facebook, was fined $5,000 after failing to comply with a court order to provide experts access to his old email accounts.

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Ceglia will now have to pay the company’s court costs in attempts to obtain the data, which they claim will expose his case as a fraud. An American judge decided that Paul Ceglia had been delaying the case due to failure to give his 9-year-old email addresses and passwords. Meanwhile, his lawyers insist this was regarded as an affront to his personal privacy.

Nevertheless, the judge wasn’t impressed by such explanation. Paul Ceglia had been fully advised by his attorneys not to do what he was asked and therefore chose to knowingly ignore the orders of the court. According to media reports, the judge said this fine was meant to "coerce plaintiff's future compliance with the court orders". In the meantime, the judge declined to take any disciplinary action against the lawyers, who have since abandoned Paul Ceglia.

Ceglia’s current lawyer announced that his client agreed to pay the fine and would comply with all court orders in future. He also added that Facebook has since been given the email account data it asked for. The lawsuit in question claims that Paul Ceglia hired Mark Zuckerberg to help develop a street-mapping database 9 years ago and even paid him $1,000 as start-up money for the social network idea in exchange for half ownership of the venture. But Zuckerberg breached the agreement and started Facebook by himself, thus stealing Ceglia’s money and has been since profiting from the idea he had bought.

Up to date, the court has focused on a question of whether a 2-page work-for-hire contract had been a forgery. The company’s attorneys are confident that they will soon get the case dismissed due to their experts’ findings that the documents provided by the plaintiffs are fake.

The US judge has also denied a request by Ceglia’s lawyer to sanction Facebook’s attorneys for failing to disclose the existence of five PCs that had been used by Mark Zuckerberg during his study at Harvard. While Ceglia’s lawyer insists that those computers might contain emails between Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia, the judge replies that no court order had actually been breached.

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