“When Paul Ceglia first claimed he owned half of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook shares, not too many people paid attention. But when he hired lawyers from megafirm DLA Piper to re-file his lawsuit in federal court—and attached a bunch of alleged email exchanges with Zuckerberg—he started getting headlines in a big way. Now Ceglia’s big-firm lawyers have unceremoniously withdrawn from the case.
Ceglia was actually represented by two law firms: DLA Piper, which is one of the largest firms in the world; and Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, a mid-size Buffalo law firm that was also on the case.
A spokesman for DLA Piper said only: “We have withdrawn from the case and no longer represent Paul Ceglia. Due to our attorney-client privilege obligations, there will be no further comment.” An attorney with the Lippes Mathias firm, Dennis Vacco, also declined to comment on the personnel changes.
After they took the case, DLA Piper lawyers said the firm had done “weeks” of due diligence analyzing Ceglia’s claims before taking on the case. But their quick withdrawal—in the face of a pile of evidence about Ceglia put together by investigators hired by Facebook—suggests that the firm’s background checks might not have been all that.
It’s generally not a good sign when a plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit keeps changing law firms. It can suggest there’s problems with either the case or the client is particularly tough to deal with. In the course of the past year, three different law firms have signed on to Ceglia’s case, gone through the evidence—and then dropped it. . .”
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