Paul Ceglia from his public Facebook page.
Paul Ceglia, the New York man who was suing for 50 percent ownership of Facebook, has been dropped by his high-powered lawyers.
Seven lawyers representing Ceglia from the firms DLA Piper LLP and Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP, announced their withdrawal from the case in papers filed Tuesday in federal court in Buffalo, N.Y., according to Bloomberg Businessweek. They will be replaced by San Diego attorney Jeffrey Lake. Ceglia is still represented by Paul Argentieri, his lawyer who filed the original complaint against Facebook.
Ceglia's lawsuit against Facebook started last year, when he claimed to have given a young Mark Zuckerberg $1,000 to start what his lawsuit calls "the face book," in 2003. Facebook lawyers called Ceglia's alleged original contract and e-mails "complete fabrications," according to federal court papers. Both Facebook founder Zuckerberg and Facebook lawyers agree that Zuckerberg was contracted to do work for Ceglia, but for a site called StreetFax.com which dealt with photos of traffic intersections for insurance companies.
"The contract is a cut-and-paste job, the e-mails are complete fabrications and this entire lawsuit is a fraud," Facebook's federal filing said. "(Ceglia) is a convicted felon and well-known scam artist who has spent the last decade of his life ripping people off."
Losing two high-powered law firms can't be good for Ceglia, but he's still moving forward with his lawsuit for half of possibly $100 billion. While some believe this means that his case is too weak for the two firms, other lawyers including Lake, seem to be more than willing to take on the risk. Of course, there's always the option of settling out of court -- which now seems more and more likely.