The Los Angeles Times recently reported that Facebook is firing back at Paul Ceglia, a New York man claiming to own a stake in Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking site. Facebook would like Ceglia to pay the legal fees it incurred defending his claim that he owns half of Zuckerberg’s multi-billion dollar share.
Ceglia is protesting the “stratospheric” legal feels that Facebook’s lawyers are requesting. He argues that he should not be forced to pay for lawyers at Gibson Dunn who charge up to $716 per hour for a “garden variety” contract case. The most junior associate at Gibson Dunn that is billing for this matter does so at a rate of $337.50 an hour.
Last month Ceglia was fined for failure to turn over e-mail evidence in his case against Facebook. At the same time U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio ordered Ceglia to compensate Facebook for its legal fees related to a partnership dispute. Ceglia’s lawyer is only stating that the legal fees, totaling upwards of $84,000, are “unjustified.”
With the understanding that all legal fees ordered paid by a court must be “reasonable,” it will be interesting to see more detail concerning the court’s analysis of the legal fees requested by Facebook’s attorneys.