The case is dismissed for failure to appear at this hearing, for failure to present a lawful agent, for attempted fraud on the Court by offering up a person who has no authority to act on behalf of the corporation as its corporate representative, and the Court will hear, by motion, a motion for sanctions and fees against this Sunlust entity and everyone affiliated with it, including a motion against Mr. Wasinger for his purposeful failure to appear at this hearing.
And a motion will also be heard on Mr. Duffy for his lack of candor in relation to his connection with this matter based upon the representation of Mr. Torres that he was contacted by the Prenda Law Group or Prenda Law, Inc. for the purpose of being retained as local counsel in this case and that was not presented to the Court in this purportedcorrespondence. The case is dismissed.
I intend to advise the other Judges in the Courthouse of the nature of this matter and may refer this matter to the Florida Bar for further proceedings.
What preceded this ruling is an unreal, Kafkaesque hearing, that I offer for your enjoyment below. I read this transcript in a gym on a treadmill a couple of hours ago collecting strange looks from the gymgoers: my uncontrollable giggles and gasps were probably too loud.
THE COURT: Mr. Lutz, who is the individual who you just spoke to in the Courtroom with you?
MR. LUTZ: Sorry?
THE COURT: Who is that behind you?
MR. STEELE: Your Honor, my name is John Steele.
THE COURT: Who are you?
MR. STEELE: I’m an attorney, but not involved in this case.
THE COURT: You’re an attorney with what law firm?
MR. STEELE: I’m not an attorney with any law firm right now […]
During the entire hearing, the judge’s attempted to understand who was who in this comedy with everthickening plot. Despite that it was apparently the only actual agenda, I am not sure that the judge succeeded in figuring that out. The only thing that she seemingly got right is that she dealt with a bunch of fraudsters, and very sloppy ones. I hope that she will carry out her intentions to alert other judges and to ask the Florida Bar to conduct yet another investigation.
Although both this hearing and the resulted dismissal were based on procedural questions, if you want to learn about the merits (or the lack thereof, to be more precise) of this case, read an excellent motion to dismiss written by the defense counsel Graham Syfert.
Please set sharp things aside, do not eat and drink, and sit firmly and comfortably, so you cannot fall and injure yourself. Laughs are guaranteed (not for Steele though: I am sure that some unpleasant phone conversations ruined his evening).
After you wipe off your tears and your hiccups subside, I will have a question for you. I am waiting.
Girls and boys, ladies and gentleman, senior citizens!
Appendix. Prenda and Florida: a love story
Many things happened since my article/informal interview with Graham Syfert “Who and where is Prenda Law? What happened to John Steele?” written in May, but you do not need to follow all the intrigues, just one fact is enough to know. This fact is: Prenda has tried and failed to secure nine local counsels in Florida:
- Joanne Diez: filed one case, it is not implausible that her name was used without her consent.
- Robert Balzebre: resigned.
- Joseph Perea: was an integral part of Prenda, officially left it, although continues trolling, investigated by the Florida Bar (initiated by multiple parties).
- George Banas: resigned.
- Maurice Castellanos: resigned.
- Matthew Wasinger: resigned.
- Jonathan Torres: resigned.
- Alan Greenstein: a current counsel, but for how long will he hold the ground? :)
Every time a new guy understood that the newly acquired stink he couldn’t get rid of is exuded by Prenda Law, he ran away as quickly as possible. Even 75% contingency fee cannot persuade local lawyers to stain their future careers by associating themselves with a lawfirm that is actively investigated by the Florida Bar Association, and is expected to be investigated criminally in the nearest future.
- ArsTechnica: Porn trolling case thrown out for “attempted fraud on the court” by Timothy Lee.
- TechDirt: Copyright Troll Case Tossed For ‘Fraud On The Court’ After Abbott & Costello-Worthy Hearing by Mike Masnick.
- 12/4/2012: Expected development in a courtroom comedy: attorney Graham Syfert moves for sanctions.
- 12/18/2012: A quick update on dismissed Sunlust Pictures v. Nguyen case.
- 12/20/2012: Prenda hires an outside counsel in Sunlust Pictures v. Nguyen case.
- 12/21/2012: “White collar criminal defenders” attempt to defend Prenda’s scam artists. Surfacing of a new evidence of others’ identity misappropriation by Prenda.
- 12/30/2012: Does “under penalty of perjury” mean anything? Apparently not for Prenda and one of its plaintiffs
- 01/03/2013: Graham Syfert reiterates his demand for sanctions, accuses John Steele of fraud.