Is Paul Ceglia hiding out in Ireland?
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg thinks so and says as much in new court papers that suggest Ceglia's high-profile suit against the social networking giant is crumbling around him.
"Ceglia himself has fled to Ireland where from his apparent hideout, he is now directing his lawyers to defy orders of a federal court," a lawyer for Zuckerberg said in new court papers.
Sensing blood in the water, Zuckerberg argues in his latest court filing that Ceglia, a Wellsville resident, is trying to avoid court-ordered sanctions against him.
He also suggested to the court that, given the seriousness of the allegations against Ceglia, he should be ordered to appear in Buffalo federal court in person.
"Ceglia's case is crumbling around him," Orin S. Snyder, one of Zuckerberg's lawyers, said in new court papers seeking sanctions again Ceglia and his lawyers.
Snyder's colorful characterization of Ceglia's lawsuit -- he claims he owns half of the $50 billion company -- came just a week after Ceglia's lawyers documented his refusal to comply with an important order by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio.
The lawyers, in affidavits filed Friday with the court, said they went to great lengths to get Ceglia to comply with Foschio's order requiring the release of personal email account information, and that their client initially refused.
"These admissions -- made publicly and under oath by Ceglia's own lawyers -- confirm the need for severe sanctions," Snyder said.
Snyder, who wants Ceglia to foot the bill for Facebook's legal costs, went on to suggest that Ceglia should be ordered back to Buffalo to appear before Foschio.
"In light of Ceglia's brazen defiance of court orders -- and the serious charges leveled against him by his own attorneys -- this court may wish to order Ceglia to personally appear," Snyder said.
Ceglia eventually agreed to Foschio's demands for the email account information but only after he was ordered to do so by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.
Facebook wants access to the accounts to try to disprove Ceglia's claims that when he hired Zuckerberg for another project, he also gave him money to start Facebook.
Ceglia's lawsuit claims he and Zuckerberg entered into a contract in 2003 that now gives Ceglia a 50 percent interest in Facebook.
Facebook has countered by accusing Ceglia of using "a fraudulent contract and fabricated emails" as the basis for his lawsuit.
Lawyers for Facebook and Ceglia declined to comment Monday.