Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit claiming a major ownership stake in Facebook is heating up again. There has been a flurry of court activity over the last couple of weeks, and it looks like things are getting close (we can only hope) to a thrilling conclusion.
In a new, strongly worded ruling, a federal magistrate judge threatened to impose more sanctions on Ceglia and ordered him to produce a letter written by Kasowitz, one of his (many) former law firms, which Facebook’s attorneys say will blow the doors off whatever remains of his case.
Let’s take a ride on the benchslap express….
Wired’s Threat Level blog has the basics:
U.S. Magistrate Leslie Foschio on Thursday gave Ceglia’s legal team 10 days to explain why Ceglia shouldn’t pay fines because of his latest legal tactics. The various motions, including one to disqualify Facebook’s lawyers, “gives rise to more than suspicion that such motions were filed solely to unreasonably and vexatiously multiply the proceedings,” Foschio wrote. [Note: We at ATL wrote about this motion last week.]
What’s more, Foschio ordered Ceglia, of New York, to hand over a potentially damaging document that could explain why one of his eight law firms left the legal fight. Because of a procedural error, Foschio said the document is no longer privileged.
Facebook, the defendant in the case, believes the document “will establish that the Kasowitz law firm decided to withdraw as co-counsel for plaintiff upon learning that certain forensic experts retained by plaintiff had determined the contract is a forgery,” Foschio wrote.
Ouch! I can’t wait to see that memo.
You can see the entire ruling here. [PDF]
This is the most strongly worded opinion we’ve seen in the case in some time. In denying various motions, Judge Foschio employs some awesomely creative phrase making. Here’s the sample platter (edited for conciseness):
How Plaintiff manages to construe this statement… is simply beyond the court’s comprehension.
Here, the complete dearth of any evidence supporting Plaintiff’s [various motions] gives rise to more than suspicion that such motions were filed solely to unreasonably and vexatiously multiply the proceedings, and especially to derail the schedule for the limited discovery of experts set forth in the April 4, 2012 Order.
And then, the judge says one of Ceglia’s assertions “is, at best, strained, and, more correctly, a gross misrepresentation which would be detected by even the marginally literate.”
Wow. This almost sounds less like a judicial ruling, and more like one of Elie’s angrier posts.
We received a statement from Orin Snyder, partner at Gibson Dunn and attorney for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. It sounds like Snyder feels his team is closing in on the kill:
This decision indicates that the court has zero tolerance for Ceglia’s baseless and harassing tactics. It is now obvious to everybody that this case is an outright fraud. Ceglia is running out of options as he desperately twists and turns in an effort to avoid judgment day.
We also reached out to Ceglia for comment, and he responded with a brief email (by the way, we ran a longer interview with him last week):
Sometimes you’re the Louisville Slugger, sometimes you’re the ball.
He’s got a point. Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug.
In any case, do you hear that? I think I hear the fat lady warming up her voice…
Judge Threatens New Sanctions Against Would-be Facebook Owner [Threat Level / Wired]