Paul Ceglia is not going away quietly in his fight for half a stake in Facebook.
The latest court filings from Facebook claim that Ceglia directed his lawyers not to comply with an August 18 order requiring him to turn over emails, passwords and other electronic data.
This may explain why four different law firms had dropped Ceglia as a client, all of them doing so right around times when major court filings were due.
He’s now represented by San Diego sole practitioner Jeffery Lake. Edelson McGuire withdrew from the case in late July, after just a few weeks of reviewing evidence.
A month earlier DLA Piper dropped Ceglia, following the same pattern of Ceglia’s previous attorneys Dennis Vaco and Terrence Connors .
Late Monday, the judge in the case scheduled a November 2 hearing to consider whether to force Ceglia to comply in turning over documents as well as consider sanctions for Ceglia and his attorneys.
According to a report in Reuters, Facebook had requested sanctions on Friday, one week after Jeffrey Lake, one of Ceglia’s lawyers, said in a court filing that his client told him not to follow the judge’s order:
I informed Mr. Ceglia that the court had ordered him to produce, among other things, accounts and passwords for all email accounts he had used since 2003. Mr. Ceglia instructed me not to comply with this provision and to bring the issue before (U.S.) District Judge (Richard) Arcara.
In Facebook’s court filing made last week, Facebook says Ceglia’s lawyers had a legal obligation to resist their client’s efforts to break the law and might have even violated ethics rules in an effort to protect themselves.
The story started in 2003, when Ceglia said he made a contract with Mark Zuckerberg, then a Harvard freshman, to work on a number of projects, one of which would go on to become Facebook. The social networking company claims that the contract was a forgery, and documents found on Ceglia’s hard drive had nothing to do with Facebook.
What do you think of the latest turn in the Ceglia case?