Share this article

print logo

Ceglia sanctioned in Facebook case

Paul Ceglia must pay more than $92,000 in court-ordered sanctions to Facebook or explain why he can't by releasing personal financial information, a federal judge in Buffalo ruled this week.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio also left the door open to more sanctions, including dismissal of Ceglia's federal court lawsuit, if he refuses to comply.

"Plaintiff is advised that the failure to either make payment or demonstrate why payment is not possible may subject Plaintiff to further sanctions, including dismissal of the action," Foschio said in his new court order.

Ceglia, an Allegany County native, claims he signed a contract with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2003 that entitles him to a stake in the social networking giant.

Zuckerberg acknowledges signing a contract with Ceglia while he was a student at Harvard University but claims the deal had nothing to do with Facebook.

Lawyers on both sides of the dispute declined comment on the judge's ruling, the latest in a series of orders that have gone against Ceglia.

Foschio, in ruling against the Wellsville man, gave him two weeks to pay $75,776 in previously awarded attorney fees and $16,851 in new attorney fees to the company.

The money Facebook seeks represents the cost of its legal work in getting Ceglia to comply with a court order Foschio issued in August. The order required him to provide Facebook with information about his personal email accounts.

Foschio, in ordering sanctions against Ceglia, cited his role in obstructing the court order. The judge also ordered Ceglia to pay $5,000 to the court.

If Ceglia can not pay Facebook's legal fees, the judge ordered him to explain why.

"Any attempt to demonstrate that payment is not possible must be supported by documentation, including a statement of Plaintiff's net worth, listing the value of all assets," Foschio said.

Specifically, the judge asked for information about Ceglia's bank accounts, real estate holdings, mortgage debt and retirement savings. He also ordered him to provide federal and state tax returns for the past three years.