(Updates with ruling in second paragraph.)
Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. was awarded $75,777 in legal fees after a judge ruled that Paul Ceglia ignored a pretrial discovery order to turn over e-mail accounts in his ownership claim against the social network.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio today gave Facebook most of the $84,196 it claimed as reimbursement for the 177 hours spent by its lawyers in filing motions to force Ceglia to comply with the order. Ceglia has already paid a $5,000 fine imposed by Foschio in Buffalo, New York federal court.
Ceglia claims he has a 2003 contract signed by Facebook co- founder Mark Zuckerberg that gave him half-ownership of the company, now worth an estimated $82.3 billion, according to Sharespost.com, which tracks nonpublic companies. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, operates the most popular social-networking site in the world.
Foschio rejected arguments by Ceglia that the fees claimed by Facebook were “stratospheric” and not justified by the “garden-variety” issues presented by the case.
Ceglia’s lawyer, Dean Boland of Lakewood, Ohio, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment on the ruling.
The case is Ceglia v. Zuckerberg, 1:10-cv-00569, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York (Buffalo).
--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Fred Strasser
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