A man claims that he is one half the owner of Facebook replaces his lawyer for the third time.
Paul Ceglia, the petitioner, asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio in Buffalo, New York to delay his case for at least three weeks following the withdrawal of his lead lawyer, Jeffrey Lake from the case.
According to the Monday evening filing, Lake claims that Ceglia now in the “final stages” of finding a new lawyer, and in talks with “several” lawyers who are hardworking and could come up with the facts and proceedings in the shortest time to represent him.
Paul Argentieri, another lawyer for Ceglia, is going to continue with the case, Monday’s filing showed. Lake did not give details about his withdrawal.
Lake did not answer a call made in his office, in San Diego. Also, did not reply to the email sent to him. Argentieri did not instantly return a call seeking comment. Facebook declined to make extra comment.
The filing indicates the most recent twist in a year-old case on the legitimacy of a 2003 contract under which Ceglia said he employed Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University freshman, for a number of projects, one of which in the end became Facebook.
The company claims that the contract got forged, and the contact on Ceglia’s computer has nothing to do with Facebook.
Lake withdrawal comes right after Facebook asked Foschio to punish Ceglia and his lawyers for their fiasco in turning over email accounts and passwords, as the judge had ordered in an August 18 order.
In an October 7 court filing, Lake claimed that he had informed Ceglia concerning the order, but that “Mr. Ceglia instructed him not to obey with the stipulation and in raising the issue before a different judge.
A week later, Facebook said Ceglia’s lawyers had a duty in resisting their client’s alleged effort in breaking the law, and might have dishonored state ethics rules by unveiling what he believe is an act to protect themselves.
According to the Facebook lawyer, the moment that they fail in persuading their client, their only option is to withdraw.
Lake was the replacement for the law firm DLA Piper as Ceglia’s counsel. Before the said firm, there was another lawyer that got replaced.
Earlier on Monday, Foschio had planned a November 2 hearing in considering whether to force Ceglia to comply with his August 18 order, which also gave Facebook the right to retrieve the files in the computer and mandatory obliged Ceglia in declaring the missing materials.