It was a bad day for Steele, who appeared in the courtroom along with his partner in crime Paul Hansmeier and a nominal plaintiff’s counsel Michael Dugas. As usually, Steele did most of the talking, while Hansmeier participated a bit, trying to bullshit the judge on the question of jurisdiction, and Michael Dugas did not say a word: a striking resemblance to a recent court appearance in Chicago, where articulately challenged Paul Duffy did not talk beyond identifying himself as a plaintiff attorney.
Steele tried to deceive the judge, showing her a demand letter that does not ask for money. He presented it as a big deal, but we all know what his words are worth: just last week I published such a demandless demand letter, but next to it I also published a mandatory follow-up, which is not much different from the familiar Prenda’s Halloween scares, and asks for $4,000.
Steele revealed to the judge that Guava is primarily based in Las Vegas, NV (hi, Jayme!), but originated in St. Kitts and Nevis. He also said that the computer systems were in Illinois and Las Vegas, which is another hogwash that can be easily debunked: if this gang had a single computer in Illinois, Guava complaints would not fail to state it — instead, a frivolously vague phrase “computer systems accessible in Illinois” was used. In reality, “Guava” exists only on paper, and as such does not have any hardware at all.
When the hearing transcript is available, I will make sure to publish it.
I said it was a bad day for Steele, but this narcissist megalomaniac probably thought it went brilliantly: he ecstatically sang the same old song how catching the correct user of an IP address is similar to traffic cameras capturing license plates… Ironically, he enjoyed his diarrhea of words in Minnesota, where the Supreme Court has already ruled that traffic cameras that issue tickets only on the basis of the license plate are unconstitutional because you don’t know who the driver was.
Yes, he probably was high from his speech, yet the abovementioned Merkel’s affidavit was not served before the hearing, so Steele did not know about it. Also, he probably did not realize the extent of another blow as he did not have time to read the documents featured below: before John entered the courtroom, either in the elevator or upon exiting the elevator, Steele was served with a lawsuit filed on behalf of Alan Cooper (represented by his attorney Paul Godfread).
The complaint v. John Steele, Prenda Law, AF Holdings, and Ingenuity 13 alleges invasion of privacy, deceptive practices, and civil conspiracy. Also, it asserts that all the defendant “corporations” are, in fact, inadequate, improperly maintained shells created solely as abusive lawsuit mills. Plaintiff asks for monetary award and injunction that he was never an officer of the said “corporations.”
Other documents were served along with the complaint. I suggest reading them as they contain interesting, previously unknown bits (for example, the fact that Steele threatened Alan Cooper with a vexatious lawsuit weeks after he went forward with identity theft allegations).
Minnesota state court rules are a bit different from federal ones. The lawsuit commences upon service, and one can serve initial discovery requests at the same time. Nothing needs to be filed with the court immediately, and sometimes cases go through pleadings, discovery, and settlement without ever being filed. Steele, as well as other defendants, have 20 days to answer to the complaint. They have 45 days to respond to the discovery requests.
The set of interrogatories is largely different from those hanging over the Brett Gibbs’s head, perfectly complementing them. It is like opening the second front against an army of aggressors.
- TechDirt: Alan Cooper Sues John Steele, Prenda Law And The Shell Companies He Supposedly ‘Runs’ by Mike Masnick.
Below is the transcript of the hearing: