Did Another Law Firm Just Drop Paul Ceglia’s Case Against Facebook?

It’s been nearly a whole month since Paul Ceglia’s new lawyer, San Diego solo practitioner Jeff Lake, said that he’s “in discussions with several nationally recognized law firms” interested in taking on Ceglia’s quixotic quest to own half of Facebook. Yet no new attorney of record has been added to Ceglia’s case. But a source close to the case tells paidContent that a Chicago law firm well-known for it work for plaintiffs in internet-related cases did get involved, but backed out this week.

If that’s true, the firm, Chicago-based Edelson McGuire, would be the fourth law firm to get close to Ceglia’s case, and then decide it doesn’t want anything to do with it. Two other law firms-global megafirm DLA Piper and a mid-sized Buffalo law firm-dropped Ceglia’s case last month. And another well known Buffalo lawyer, Terrence Connors, dropped the case in April. None of the firms would say why they left. But it seems to suggest that whatever these firms are seeing when they go through Ceglia’s evidence, they don’t like it. On top of that, a month of searching hasn’t led a new law firm to join up with Ceglia’s team as counsel of record.

Contacted by telephone, McGuire Edelson founder Jay Edelson wouldn’t say whether or not his firm had worked on the Ceglia v. Zuckerberg case. But he did make it clear he isn’t working on it now.

Jeff Lake didn’t respond to an inquiry about Edelson’s involvement. Paul Argentieri, Ceglia’s longtime lawyer in Hornell, NY, said via e-mail that “Edelson was never ‘in’ with a retainer.”

Other news in the Ceglia v. Zuckerberg case:

»  Paul Ceglia was the subject of a very unflattering profile in The Buffalo News two weeks ago. The newspaper didn’t have a hard time getting locals in Ceglia’s hometown of Wellsville (pop. 5,000) to speak ill of him. “The whole time I’ve ever known him, he was into conning people,” said Ira Warboys, a Wellsville High School classmate of Ceglia. “Any way he could make easy money, that’s what he did for a living.” And a Main Street merchant who declined to be named said: “When you shake Paul Ceglia’s hand, you better count your fingers afterward.” The Buffalo News reporter left messages at Ceglia’s home and his parents’ home, but couldn’t get anyone to comment.

The newspaper’s findings-including interviews with victims of Ceglia’s fraud-would seem to confirm some of findings that Facebook’s investigators laid out last month.

»  Recently filed court documents indicate that Ceglia is actually living in Ireland and is removed from the discovery process. In a letter [PDF] to Jeff Lake dated July 20, a lawyer from Facebook’s law firm wrote: “I was surprised when you advised me that your client has not been involved and most likely would not be involved with ensuring production of this information called for by the Order, as he obviously is the best source of knowledge on these topics. That fact-coupled with our understanding that your client is currently living in Ireland and your production yesterday of an additional computer-raises serious concerns” about whether Ceglia is with the judge’s discovery order.

»  That document is part of a dispute that’s broken out over discovery. Ceglia’s side says it has handed over all that it has and that it’s time for Facebook to hand over all the additional emails it has between Zuckerberg and Ceglia. See Facebook has refused to give up anything, saying that Ceglia still hasn’t given up all the documents, electronic and otherwise, that he’s supposed to. Facebook says that handing over the documents is a “precondition” for getting any more e-mail evidence from Facebook. This argument over who’s following the discovery rules is going to be briefed by both sides, and is scheduled to be argued in court on Aug. 17.

Ceglia’s Motion to Compel
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»  Ceglia’s Federal Amended Complaint, filed April 2011 [PDF]