A federal judge in Buffalo ordered a man to turn over his computers, files, and emails to Facebook to investigate his claim that he owns half of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s stake in the company.
The man, Paul Ceglia, a Wellsville, N.Y. businessman, claims to have hired Zuckerberg, then a freshman at Harvard University, in 2003 to work on StreetFax.com, a street-mapping website for insurance companies. Ceglia says he gave Zuckerberg $1,000 in start-up funds for Zuckerberg’s project, “The Face Book,” which then became Facebook. Under this contract, Ceglia claims he is entitled to a stake of the company in exchange for the start-up capital.
The issue at hand in Ceglia’s lawsuit with Facebook is the authenticity of the 2003 contract. Facebook has denied the contract’s existence, and according to Reuters, released a copy of the actual 2003 contract, which didn’t mention the website.
Ceglia is required to hand over his computers and other materials that he claims not to have, by Aug. 29 and provide a sworn affidavit about what’s on them. Facebook will then have 30 days to inspect them.
According to The Buffalo News, Ceglia did not appear at his hearing. His lawyer said he went to Ireland, but did not know how long Ceglia would be there or for what purpose.