Facebook wants Ceglia to pick up $84,000 in legal fees

Social network also seeks order barring man, who is suing for half the company, from filing any additional papers or pleadings in the case until he pays.

Facebook lawyers have asked a judge to order Paul Ceglia to pick up more than $84,000 in legal fees.

Ceglia, the man who claims a contract with CEO Mark Zuckerberg entitles him to a 50 percent stake in the social network, was fined $5,000 earlier this month over delays in making his e-mails available in his case against Facebook. He was also ordered to pay reasonable attorneys' fees.

Facebook also asked Leslie G. Foschio, the federal magistrate for Buffalo, N.Y., to order Ceglia not to file any additional "non-responsive papers or pleadings in the case" until he pays the fees.

Ceglia's lawyer, Dean Boland, told the Los Angeles Times that he had not had time to study the filing but indicated he felt the lawyers' rates were excessive. Facebook's chief counsel in the case, Orin Snyder, charged $716.25 an hour, while his most junior associate charged $337.50 an hour, the Times reported.

"If we feel it ought to be modified, we will respond accordingly," Boland told the newspaper. "Cleveland and Buffalo are pretty identical demographically, and I can tell you that no lawyer would survive in the city of Cleveland charging that much an hour because no one would be able to hire him."

Ceglia was ordered to hand over his e-mails account and passwords last August. After he failed to do so, Facebook filed a motion requesting an order compelling him to do so. That hearing also revealed that Ceglia's attorney at the time, Jeffrey Lake, was told by Ceglia that he wouldn't comply with the order.

Lake soon withdrew from the case, becoming the latest in a string of attorneys who stopped representing Ceglia since he initially filed a lawsuit against Facebook and Zuckerberg in 2010. Ceglia claims he and Zuckerberg entered into a contract in 2003 to design and develop the Web site that would ultimately become Facebook--a company now with an estimated value of $100 billion.

Ceglia has cited more than a dozen e-mails purportedly between himself and Zuckerberg that detail discussions on design, development, business plans regarding the development of Facebook. He said he cut and pasted the e-mails into a word processing program and printed them out.

Ceglia said he hired Zuckerberg through a Craigslist ad to write code for a project called StreetFax and paid Zuckerberg $1,000 for coding work; he also allegedly invested $1,000 in Zuckerberg's The Face Book project, which gave him a 50 percent interest in the company, as well as an additional 1 percent interest for every day after January 1, 2004, that The Face Book was delayed.

Zuckerberg and Facebook have called the alleged Facebook contract a "cut-and-paste job" and described the purported e-mails as " complete fabrications ."

 

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