Paul Ceglia, the plaintiff, asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio in Buffalo, New York to delay his case for three weeks after allowing his lead lawyer, Jeffrey Lake, to withdraw from the case.According to the Monday evening filing, Lake said Ceglia is in the “final stages” of obtaining a new lawyer, and is in talks with “several” lawyers who are “diligently coming up to speed with the facts and proceedings” to represent him.Paul Argentieri, another lawyer for Ceglia, will remain on the case, Monday’s filing showed. Lake did not give a reason for his withdrawal.A call to Lake’s office in San Diego was not answered, and Lake did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. Argentieri did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Facebook declined to comment.The filing marks the latest twist in a year-old case over the authenticity of a 2003 contract under which Ceglia said he hired Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University freshman, for multiple projects, one of which eventually became Facebook.The company calls that contract a forgery, and said an “authentic” contract found on Ceglia’s computer does not concern Facebook.Lake withdrew after Facebook asked Foschio to punish Ceglia and his lawyers for their failure to turn over email accounts and passwords, as the judge had directed in an Aug. 18 order.In an Oct. 7 court filing, Lake had written that he had told Ceglia about the order, but that “Mr. Ceglia instructed me not to comply with this provision” and to raise the issue before a different judge.A week later, Facebook said Ceglia’s lawyers had a duty to resist their client’s alleged effort to break the law, and might have violated state ethics rules by revealing what he said in an effort to protect themselves.”If they fail to persuade their client to change direction, their proper course is to withdraw,” Facebook lawyers wrote.Lake had in June replaced the law firm DLA Piper as Ceglia’s counsel. That firm previously replaced a different lawyer.Earlier on Monday, Foschio had scheduled a Nov. 2 hearing to consider whether to force Ceglia to comply with his Aug. 18 order, which also gave Facebook access to computers and files and required Ceglia to describe the content of missing materials. That timetable is now in doubt.Facebook is based in Palo Alto, California, and may be worth $68.2 billion, according to SharesPost Inc, which tracks valuations of private companies.Many analysts expect Facebook to conduct an initial public offering as soon as next year. Zuckerberg is worth $17.5 billion, Forbes magazine said last month.Ceglia is a wood pellet salesman from Wellsville, New York, and now reported to be living in Ireland.The case is Ceglia v. Zuckerberg et al, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, No. 10-00569.
* China trade surplus narrows* Futures off: Dow 22 pts, S&P 3.8 pts, Nasdaq 5.25 ptsBy Chuck MikolajczakNEW YORK, Oct 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday after weaker-than-expected economic data in China reawakened global economic worry and earnings from JPMorgan Chase.* China’s trade surplus narrowed for a second straight month in September, as both imports and exports were lower than expected, reflecting global economic weakness and domestic cooling.* Shares of JPMorgan Chase Co , the first of the U.S. big banks to release third-quarter results, were off 0.7 percent to $32.96 in premarket after posting third-quarter earnings.* The S&P 500 is up about 12 percent from its intraday low hit last week on Tuesday and had its largest seven-day rally since March 2009.* S&P 500 futures fell 3.8 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures shed 22 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 5.25 points.* Economic data on tap includes weekly U.S. jobless claims, due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), with economists in a Reuters survey forecasting 405,000 new filings compared with 401,000 in the prior week.* Also at 8:30 a.m (1230 GMT), the Commerce Department releases data on August international trade. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a $45.8 billion deficit compared with a $44.81 billion deficit in July.* Google is reporting third-quarter earnings after the close and investors will be looking to see how the slowing economy is impacting its advertising business.* A report on Wednesday that Akamai Technologies Inc was close to being acquired by Google has no merit, a person familiar with the matter said. Akami shares were up 4 percent to $24.30 in premarket trade.* The CEO of AOL Tim Armstrong has been pushing the idea of a sale to Yahoo to top shareholders, which could see the company save $1.5 billion, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions.* Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp has agreed to buy Rolls-Royce Holding’s share of the International Aero Engines consortium in a $1.5 billion deal.* Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter, that DuPont Co is seeking buyers for its polyester-film joint venture as well as its powder-based paint business.* European shares slipped in choppy trading in the morning, after recent strong gains, with mining stocks among the biggest casualties after Chinese trade data was weaker than expected.* Asian shares rose on growing optimism that Europe will take concrete steps to contain the region’s debt woes and head off a systemic banking crisis* U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as Europe’s progress toward bolstering its financial rescue fund brought more battle-weary investors back into the market.
* Edison shares rise 2.7 pct in flat sector (Adds comments)ROME, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Italian investors in Edison still need to reach common ground on the terms of an agreement to present to French utility EDF for the reorganisation of the Italian utility, a shareholder said on Wednesday.Edison, Italy’s No.2 power generator, is jointly controlled by EDF and a group of Italian investors led by regional utility A2A and including smaller peer Iren .”The (industry) minister is waiting for decisions of this kind. We need to reach an agreement to take to EDF,” Iren’s Chairman Roberto Bazzano said on the sidelines of a conference.EDF, which already owns about 50 percent of Edison, reached an agreement in March with the Italian investors that would give full control of Edison to EDF in return for a series of power generation assets. That deal was blocked by Rome.Press reports on Wednesday said the Italian government had given its nod to an agreement based on the March deal after a meeting between Industry Minister Paolo Romani and EDF head Henri Proglio.The Industry ministry declined to comment.A spokeswoman for EDF said Proglio had met the Italian government last week but gave no further details. She said talks with the Italian investors were ongoing.In September a top A2A executive said Rome was unlikely to stand in the way of a deal.EDF’s Proglio has said EDF wants to build its stake in Edison, which also has valuable gas assets.Shares in Edison were up 2.7 percent at 0905 GMT while the European utilities index was up 0.4 percent.A complex shareholder pact between EDF and Edison’s Italian investors is due to expire at the end of October.”The time is sufficient (to reach a deal) if the will is there,” Bazzano said.If Edison shareholders fail to reach agreement on the organisational structure of Edison, a competitive bid for assets could ensue, which would leave EDF in a strong position.