Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Facebook Presses Ceglia To Hand Over Emails In Ownership Suit

The New York man suing Facebook Inc. and its Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg for a large ownership stake told his attorneys not to hand over emails related to the case, according to court filings, the latest wrinkle in the ongoing legal spat.

According to court filings on Friday, plaintiff Paul Ceglia instructed his attorneys to disregard court orders for Ceglia to hand over personal emails related to his allegations that he is entitled to a large stake in the social-networking service.

Ceglia's actions have spurred Facebook to press further for the emails and request that Ceglia pay its attorneys' fees, according to a filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

Ceglia "has fled to Ireland, where from his apparent hideout he is now directing his lawyers to defy orders of a federal court," Facebook's attorneys wrote in the filing.

Ceglia originally sued Facebook last year, alleging that an arrangement he forged with Zuckerberg when the CEO was still a college student entitled him to an 84% stake in the Palo Alto, Calif., company.

The court had ordered Ceglia to hand the emails over as evidence in August.

In an order filed on Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio wrote that Ceglia has until Oct. 24 to respond to Facebook's request that the emails be produced, and that the company is entitled to sanctions such as the payment of attorneys' fees. A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for Nov. 2.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

By John Letzing, Dow Jones Newswires, 415-765-8230, john.letzing@dowjones.com

Source: Wall Street Journal

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