Yesterday Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg scored a huge win against Paul Ceglia, the plaintiff claiming 50% ownership of the social media company, but whose allegations the defendants have consistently maintained are based upon a fraudulent work for hire document.
In a 24-page decision and order (D&O) issued Wednesday (read it below), U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio granted Zuckerberg and Facebook what appears to be a huge advantage in this closely watched case, approving their entire motion for “a protective order relieving them of any obligation to provide responses to all of [Ceglia]’s documents requests, and many of Plaintiff’s interrogatories.” Judge Foschio deemed all of the items the defendants wanted to bar “irrelevant” to Ceglia’s defense of the defendants’ summary motion to dismiss the case.
In granting the Zuckerberg and Facebook’s motion for a protective order, the court noted that Ceglia’s interrogatories and document fell outside the scope of the court’s April 30, 2012 D&O limiting the scope of discovery. Judge Foschio concluded that the six (6) year statute of limitations for breach of contract claims remained “the primary issue raised by Defendants’ Summary Judgment Motion.” Zuckerberg and Facebook have steadfastly maintained that “Ceglia’s Work for Hire document is [a] forgery.”
The purported document’s authenticity — or lack of it — is key to any court ruling on whether or not Ceglia’s claim to own 50% of the social media company is valid and enforceable. Handwriting and digital forensic experts remain an essential part of the case, assessing whether or not the alleged work for hire document is genuine.