Prenda trolls appear in Judge Wright’s courtroom only to plead the Fifth. Furious judge ends the hearing after 12 minutes

Posted: April 2, 2013 by SJD in Coopergate, Prenda
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


If the last Prenda hearing was a tornado, this one was an earthquake.
Abrupt, powerful, and leaving unclear casualties.

Adam Steinbaugh

 

Basically, the title says it all. I was not there (looking back — fortunately: the travel would be too expensive given the length of the show). I could filter the bits of information from the Twitter feed, but it does not make much sense: Ken White‘s analysis is by far the most read-worthy:

However well grounded in the individual rights of Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy, the invocation eviscerates their credibility as lawyers and the credibility of Prenda Law as an enterprise in every court across the country. I expect that defense attorneys will file notice of if in every state and federal case Prenda Law has brought, through whatever guise or cutout. The message will be stark: the attorneys directing this litigation just took the Fifth rather than answer another judge’s questions about their conduct in this litigation campaign. I expect federal and state judges across the country will take notice and begin their own inquiries.

The consequences for the individuals behind Prenda Law may arrive slowly — particularly by the standards of Twitter and anxious blogs. But they will come — and they may come from many directions at once.

Prenda Law may still be standing. But it’s dead.

I want to make sure that one particular tidbit is not lost: according to an earlier Dark Moe’s tweet, “IRS Agent from L.A. Anti-Money Laundering Unit will be in the audience.”

As in the case of the previous hearing, I’ll try to collect links to all the stories about this short, but “an extinction-level event for Prenda.” Needless to say, this post will be updated as I become aware of new coverage.

Transcript
Featured comment by a witness

Anonymous wrote:

Well there wasn’t really enough drama to do a full narrative writeup. Popehat and Ars have it covered, and Ken’s background provides more insight than I can given there were no new revelations.

But there are a few things I thought were interesting that I don’t think were highlighted in the other coverage:

Steele now has his own attorneys.
Paul Hansmeier has his own attorneys.
Duffy, Van Den Hemel, and Prenda are still represented by Rosing.

Peter Hansmeier and Lutz did not have representation.

Hansmeier and Steele were sitting next to each other and chatting, so they still appear to be buddies.

Duffy entered separately, looked beet red.

Peter Hansmeier looked like he was about to cry at one point.

Paul Hansmeier looks like he has been eating all the settlement money, or maybe he is a stress eater and the last month or so has been particularly rough.

Lutz looks much older than I expected, maybe 40′s. I assumed from his being such a fool, and the antics like showing up to court in flip-flops, that he would look like a 20-something college dropout. He decided to wear a suit this time and looked like someone I would take seriously if I didn’t know better.

I believe Van Den Hemel entered and sat with Lutz, Steele and the Hansmeiers, but not sure if I caught it all, I didn’t know who she was or that she was there yet.

So it looks like factional lines are being drawn.

Nobody took credit for being Alan Cooper, Wright made a particular point of asking if there was an Alan Cooper; I’m sure this is key to whatever he has in mind.

Gibbs was present but basically ignored, the only acknowledgment of him or his lawyer I recall was when Wright thanked Waxler for successfully serving the rest.

Pietz and Ranallo were present and armed to the teeth with boxes of stuff, but I think they only spoke to identify themselves when the hearing began.

Except for Rosing, who seemed like she is at least trying to do her job and put up some fight, the other guys’ attorneys got steamrolled by Wright, they barely even tried. They literally ended up hunched over the table, arms splayed out, mouths hanging open looking like “WTF is happening to us?’

I wanted to get pics of the crew, especially Lutz since he has been the Prenda Mystery Man, but no electronics in the courtroom and they didn’t leave with the crowd, probably slithered out the side doors long after everyone else left.

I will also predict that, with Prenda simply pleading the 5th regarding everything they do, the defamation suit counterclaims will be disastrous for them. Not sure what they can do at this point if they simply won’t answer questions or produce discovery, but at the rate they are going they may be forced to let them go to default judgements.

By the same token, it seems like anyone involved in a Prenda case that hasn’t been dismissed yet has a golden opportunity. Get a counterclaim in, and if they are are simply unwilling to speak about any of their cases, how will they defend it?

A bit anticlimactic, a lot less theater than last time, but it looks like they are seriously screwed.

Featured cartoon

JohnGenryLawyer created a splendid cartoon relevant to the theme of this post. To those who started following Prenda cases only recently: text on the left is from the April 2 hearing transcript, which is embedded above; text on the right is from another famous transcript — of the hearing that took place in Judge Scriven’s courtroom in Tampa in November.

Media coverage
Comments
  1. Donald Duck says:

    Not to rehash the twitter, but I do want to draw attention to Popehat’s comment for those who can’t wait for the full writeup:

    @Popehat
    As I will write later: the Prenda attorneys taking the Fifth is an extinction-level event for Prenda .

    Extinction-level event.

  2. rkz326 says:

    IANAL, but isn’t taking the 5th in an OSC hearing basically straight-up asking for whatever sanctions the judge feels like dishing out?

    • Donald Duck says:

      Yeah – my understanding is that if you plead the fifth in a civil case the judge can infer whatever he wants from that. Remember, this isn’t a criminal case, so they are pleading the fifth saying what they did could be used against them in a criminal case – that doesn’t happen very often in a civil case, and it’s hard to hold any moral high ground in said civil case.

      It becomes even more rare, that these are attorney’s pleading the fifth to a judge who is just asking them about their litigation tactics and strategy in a civil case! Plus, remember they are the plaintiffs, not the defendants. So yeah, this doesn’t happen very often.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Everyone in attendance did an excellent job of keep the rest of us informed. Thank you.

    I was shocked at the initial (and ultimately, correct) reports that the hearing was over in less than 15 minutes. After the pre-hearing Twitter chatter died down right at 10:00, I ran upstairs to grab a drink and a snack and headed back down to my office to get some work done. I quickly checked the live blog that had been set up and couldn’t understand what I was reading…Court in recess? We’re done? Judge Wright incandescently angry? What the hell did I miss?!?!?!?

    I was hoping for some instant gratification in the form of…I dunno…a royal ass-reaming, sanctions, whatever. But based on my Twitter conversations with those who know much more about this sort of thing than I do, not to mention the fantastic analysis by Popehat, I think the fireworks are still coming; they’ll just take a little time in getting here.

    My final thought…Suck it, Prenda. It’s been my opinion that you were crooks for a long time. It’s my opinion that the rest of the world (that cares about this whole fiasco) now agrees with me.

  4. Clownius says:

    Just Wow.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious if Does are still getting settlement calls.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well there wasn’t really enough drama to do a full narrative writeup. Popehat and Ars have it covered, and Ken’s background provides more insight than I can given there were no new revelations.

    But there are a few things I thought were interesting that I don’t think were highlighted in the other coverage:

    Steele now has his own attorneys.
    Paul Hansmeier has his own attorneys.
    Duffy, Van Den Hemel, and Prenda are still represented by Rosing.

    Peter Hansmeier and Lutz did not have representation.

    Hansmeier and Steele were sitting next to each other and chatting, so they still appear to be buddies.

    Duffy entered separately, looked beet red.

    Peter Hansmeier looked like he was about to cry at one point.

    Paul Hansmeier looks like he has been eating all the settlement money, or maybe he is a stress eater and the last month or so has been particularly rough.

    Lutz looks much older than I expected, maybe 40′s. I assumed from his being such a fool, and the antics like showing up to court in flip-flops, that he would look like a 20-something college dropout. He decided to wear a suit this time and looked like someone I would take seriously if I didn’t know better.

    I believe Van Den Hemel entered and sat with Lutz, Steele and the Hansmeiers, but not sure if I caught it all, I didn’t know who she was or that she was there yet.

    So it looks like factional lines are being drawn.

    Nobody took credit for being Alan Cooper, Wright made a particular point of asking if there was an Alan Cooper; I’m sure this is key to whatever he has in mind.

    Gibbs was present but basically ignored, the only acknowledgment of him or his lawyer I recall was when Wright thanked Waxler for successfully serving the rest.

    Pietz and Ranallo were present and armed to the teeth with boxes of stuff, but I think they only spoke to identify themselves when the hearing began.

    Except for Rosing, who seemed like she is at least trying to do her job and put up some fight, the other guys’ attorneys got steamrolled by Wright, they barely even tried. They literally ended up hunched over the table, arms splayed out, mouths hanging open looking like “WTF is happening to us?’

    I wanted to get pics of the crew, especially Lutz since he has been the Prenda Mystery Man, but no electronics in the courtroom and they didn’t leave with the crowd, probably slithered out the side doors long after everyone else left.

    I will also predict that, with Prenda simply pleading the 5th regarding everything they do, the defamation suit counterclaims will be disastrous for them. Not sure what they can do at this point if they simply won’t answer questions or produce discovery, but at the rate they are going they may be forced to let them go to default judgements.

    By the same token, it seems like anyone involved in a Prenda case that hasn’t been dismissed yet has a golden opportunity. Get a counterclaim in, and if they are are simply unwilling to speak about any of their cases, how will they defend it?

    A bit anticlimactic, a lot less theater than last time, but it looks like they are seriously screwed.

    • Doh! says:

      Hell, I think I would counter or file suit even if I had settled. Now that it’s pretty clear they a) wont defend themselves and b) were running a pretty shady operation when a settlement was forced out of me would look pretty good in my favor if I filed a suit and claimed foul play or settling under false pretensess. I would think a lawsuit for anyone brave enough to try could pay big dividends.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This situation is very entertaining and seems it will be a boon for the does targeted by Steele and company. But, I would like to raise the point that whatever comes from this hearing and the rest of the Prenda saga isn’t going to provide a legal precedent for many of the other trolling cases.

    Judge Wright said (as quoted in the Ars article):

    “It should be clear by now that this court’s focus has shifted from protecting intellectual property rights to attorney misconduct. Such misconduct brings discredit to the profession.”

    I interpret that statement to mean that beating Prenda only defeats one of the combatants in the copyright trolling war. A battle may soon be won, but there are others who won’t be affected by Prenda’s downfall.

    To use another analogy, the Prenda tree may be cut down, but the roots, seeds, and soil that nourish the copyright trolling strategy will still be there.

    If the rest of the trolls (Siegel, Lipscomb, et al.) have real clients and follow judges orders, their strategies won’t have to change for them to continue their extortion rackets.

    This is all IMH–IANAL–O

    Govern yourselves accordingly ;-)

    • SJD says:

      It’s not black-and-white: Prenda’s downfall will have some impact on the other trolls, albeit not as dramatic as we dream about. If all of us continue hard work of digging the dirt, I’m sure we will have something on other trolls, not as damning as direct (alleged) fraud, but still. For example, Lipscomb/Malibu fee split arrangement can raise many questions once it is discovered. Wright made a big deal of not reporting related cases too. Etc, etc. No one said it would be easy…

    • Anonymous says:

      The overall discrediting of copyright trolls will make legitimate businesses less likely to use their techniques, as it may well turn out that obeying the law and making a profit from copyright trolling are mutually exclusive. Malibu and Lipscomb seem to be a special hybrid, it seems like a genuine partnership and there is enough profit in it for both parties to keep going, with a dash of shell companies as well. We have yet to catch them as dramatically as Prenda was busted with the Cooper and Salt Marsh, but I will not be surprised if there turn out to be shenanigans, especially since they were so desperate to dodge discovery in the Fantalis case.

      Beyond that, turnkey trolling services like Steele | Hansmeier and Prenda used to be, or like CEG-TEK USCG, will likely take a major reputational hit as fallout, because any potential client is going to be put off by the Prenda and Righthaven disasters even if the exact methods are different. After the RIAA’s litigation campaign ended, it was years before copyright trolls came back on the scene in force.

      Prenda had already pretty much given up on real clients, which is a major reason this turned out as bad as it did for them, although it’s not clear if they really couldn’t find clients or just decided vertical integration was more profitable.

      • Raul says:

        The overall reputation all hit to this businees model is a very good point. Also moving forward I do not expect judges to take everything trolls swear to on face value; these lawsuits are going to be subjected to increasing scrutiny which is all good.

        • juancarlosdeburbon says:

          It will have the most impact when new cases are presented to state courts. Anyone with a properly prepared letter and properly referenced docket number should be able to present to a state judge that the troll (any troll for that matter) is in the wrong venue and using the state’s venue should be questioned since they are pursuing a copyright matter.

          Remember, the entire business model is going under the microscope. It is still very and legitimately questionable as to why any attorney is bringing bulk cases into the wrong venue. If it isn’t ultimately for relief of copyright infringement, then what is it? It’s still extortion and an improper use of the court system. <— That's what Judge Wright is going to put under the microscope. That's the part that Wright is referring to when he states, "It should be clear this court's focus has shifted dramatically from litigation of intellectual property rights to attorney misconduct — such misconduct as brings discredit to the profession."

          Although Prenda is screwed on a whole different level than Lipscomb, Lipscomb's business model is still essentially the same as Prenda's. He's running an extortion racket in the wrong court venue with full knowledge of the how and why. That is attorney misconduct and it is bringing discredit to the profession.

          IMHO.

        • Anonymous says:

          Last year Lipscomb’s business was high volume threats, just like Prenda. Mass fishing expeditions in the wrong court with the Florida PBOD and 30-50 Doe abuses of joinder in the federal venues to get long lists of names for threatening calls and letters but without much – more than Prenda’s but still not much – actual followup.

          That’s over. Does discovered in the existing cases are still being threatened but the last Florida PBOD case I see was in August. Lipscomb hasn’t filed a multi Doe federal suit since December, and even his November and December multi Doe suits were much smaller, in the 5-20 Doe range.

          Now Lipscomb is only filing single Doe, correct venue, federal suits. Over 100 of them per month. Every one of these single Doe suits is for Malibu site rips containing dozens of copyrights in a single file, every case is actively pursued, and because it’s not just a threat anymore the cost to his victims has gone from $3-4,000 nuisance money into the mid five figures, 2nd mortgage money. That will only go up as his evidence collection matures.

          Prenda only used the law as far as acquiring names and filling in threatening details for their collections business. Lipscomb is actually following it and that’s frankly terrifying. Prenda’s $4,000 scam ruined people’s years. The law as it actually exists is a $150,000 per title scam that can ruin people’s entire lives.

        • Doh! says:

          Five figures sounds like an amount that is definitely worth fighting back on. It’s ridiculous to think of any judge awarding that amount as anything other than default. Even if it’s “only” 100 per month that’s still far too many to actually run good discovery on. In the end Lipscomb is still running a scam designed to make money, and it’s still as full of holes as Prenda’s scam was.

        • juancarlosdeburbon says:

          Lipscomb still has the same legal problems in his cases as Prenda: Burden of proof. He’s still relying on IP addresses. There are enough boilerplate motions out there to quash that.

          He also probably won’t get 10s of 1000s of dollars from anything but settlements. The court will usually grant a lower amount to a doe with a lawyer, but in nearly every case the doe wins and the plaintiff settles in Federal court.

          Even if Lipscomb uses the right venue, the cases are all longshots. Thanks to Prenda, Federal courts will be scrutinizing this business model. Remember, it’s not about intellectual property protection anymore, it’s systematic settlements for profit. That model is now completely exposed.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t believe for a second that awards like that can only occur in default. The statutory MINIMUM for willful infringement is $750 for title and Malibu site rip torrents contain 20 to 40 titles in a single file. Lipscomb is routinely accusing defendants of scores of infringements, see the link below. 72 titles at $750 is over $50,000 before legal fees. I read a Pietz declaration from California last year that $750 per title was Lipscomb’s standard, attorney negotiated settlement demand for 20+ titles. This year’s expansion to individual suits with long term surveillance may well be higher than that.

          http://ia601609.us.archive.org/2/items/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250.1.3.pdf

          It’s easy to say lawyer up and fight – this isn’t Prenda where 15 billable hours to intercept the threatening letters and file a couple of motions to show you won’t default will make them to move on to one of their other 15,000 defendants. A real defense costs tens of thousands of dollars and Lipscomb knows this. With a smaller case load he knows where his marks work and what their houses are worth, too. That’s how he sets his high settlement figures, exactly as Prenda set their low ones.

          Lipscomb isn’t Prenda. The goal remains the same but the legal means aren’t even close.

        • JoseDoe says:

          Lipscomb may not be the assclown that Steele is, but his cases suffer from the exact same defects as Prenda’s did. And that just starts with the paucity of evidence. Not only does Lippy have to ascertain just who is the infringer, he has to eliminate all of the other alternate explanations, such as malware/botnet infection, honeypot operations, 99% download infringement, IP spoofing, MAC poisoning, and all the rest.

          Consider: since the time of the alleged infringement, a non-served Doe could have had a hard drive crash, a router die, a computer replaced, or had a change of ISP. Some ISPs loan you a router when they install, if you change, they take it away. Since the Doe is unserved, then none of this ‘evidence’ is under any kind of anti-spoilage requirement. So, should Lippy come sniffing around, it is quite possible that the entire environment will have changed. What, then, would he have? Nothing.

          I haven’t even gone into the various ways that the ‘evidence gathering’ could be spoiled. So, it is well worth it to fight these cases. I do think that Lipscomb is abandoning the mass-Doe cases he has out there, but is concentrating on those Does with whom he has a particular beef.

        • juancarlosdeburbon says:

          Just like JoseDoe said, the cases cannot be won and all of the necessary motions are boilerplated. It will not cost thousands of dollars to fight, it’s rather simple to fight.

          I’ve also noticed that Lipscomb is now petitioning Verizon for DCMA notices served and other irrelevant information. Verizon is fighting the order and will probably win. It’s the sign of a desperate attorney using desperate means to prolong a business model that is now under Federal scrutiny.

          Remember when the porn producers were trying to get Steve Lightspeed to STFU with his dubious litigation? They were worried that porn would lose it’s questionable copyright protection of he pressed further. Lipscomb should be extremely worried about what Prenda has done. The cat is out of the bag.

          I have no doubt that Lipscomb’s cases and business will be questioned and possibly be subject to the same kind of review as Prenda. In Prenda’s case all it took was one defendant and a properly-worded motion. The same will probably happen to Lipscomb, using the same boilerplates.

          In short, Lipscomb can’t win any cases. He’s going Federal to get quick settlements. Same business model, different venue. His days are numbered until he files against the wrong Doe, and then his house of cards will come down as he is compared to Prenda in front of an angry Federal judge. It’s only a matter of time.

        • juancarlosdeburbon says:

          Okay, now I’m focused. Anonymous linked this document:

          http://ia601609.us.archive.org/2/items/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250.1.3.pdf

          And at that site there is also this document:

          http://ia601609.us.archive.org/2/items/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250.1.0.pdf

          Which is riddled with holes. Lipscomb should be embarrassed for submitting Swiss Cheese to the courts.

          From the document: “12. In order to distribute a large file, the BitTorrent protocol breaks a file into many small pieces called bits. Users then exchange these small bits amongst each other instead of attempting to distribute a much larger digital file.”

          Further down we read: “20. IPP Limited downloaded from Defendant one of more bits of each file has listed in Exhibit A. IPP Limited further downloaded a full copy of each file hash from the BitTorrent file distribution network and confirmed through independent calculation that the file hash matched what is listed on Exhibit A. IPP Limited then verified that the digital media file correlating to each file hash listed on Exhibit A contained a copy of a movie which is identical (or alternatively, strikingly similar or substantially similar) to the movie associated with that file hash on Exhibit A. At no time did IPP Limited upload Plaintiff’s copyrighted content to any other BitTorrent user.”

          The method described in 12 invalidates the argument in 20 especially since it says “One or more” and not “the entire freaking thing, bit for bit”.

          It goes on to justify: “24. As the subscriber in control of the IP address being used to distribute Plaintiff’s copyrighted movies, Defendant is the most likely infringer. Consequently, Plaintiff hereby alleges Defendant is the infringer. Plaintiff has included as Exhibit D a solicitation of exculpatory evidence in the event that Defendant chooses to deny the allegations.”

          Which is a reach in and of itself.

          Here is exhibit D:

          http://ia601609.us.archive.org/2/items/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250.1.5.pdf

          Exhibit D is a very creepy document. Any ISP should easily be able to fight answering it, but it’s creepy that Lipscomb would be asking for all of this information when in fact he should hire his own forensic people to discover all of this. In fact, his forensic researcher generated this document:

          http://ia601609.us.archive.org/2/items/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250/gov.uscourts.mdd.227250.1.4.pdf

          Regardless of the additional filing (which by the way have very little value other than to intimidate the Doe), there is nothing in his initial filing that cannot be beaten with a boilerplate. He comes to the same erroneous conclusion that’s been held up in countless courts that and IP alone cannot be used to identify a person. The plaintiff has not followed the DMCA to seek remedies. This is 100% clear-cut “trolling for settlement dollars”.

          I’m hoping SJD has to time to shine some light on this and give it the exposure it needs. Just because the venue has changed and the troll is using different intimidation tools does not mean that his legal arguments are any better. Fundamentally they are not. They are the same and they will easily be beaten without spending a day in court. A simple boilerplate filing, hopefully one that files a counterclaim like in the Prenda case, will end this case before the trolls can collect. Additionally, I believe there is cause to seek legal fees from the plaintiff further inflicting monetary insult to injury.

        • Anonymous says:

          Juan and jose, please don’t get me wrong. I agree with you that Lipscomb’s copy and paste filings are in many ways technically suspect. I agree with all of the reasons why an IP address is not a person. I agree with you that the ISP discovery he is seeking is in many cases ridiculous over reach. At the most basic level I agree he’s an assclown and it’s a scam to get settlement money. We’re all preaching to the choir there.

          Federal court is not our choir. You and I recognize technical falsehoods and assumptions in their claims right away. Making a judge aware of same is not a given. If it’s a judge like Howell in DC it may not even be possible.

          The first rule of a gun fight is to bring a gun. Lipscomb’s motions all have a bar number at the bottom. Lipscomb’s technical accusations come from a computer company along with a deposition of the technician. Matching that is why a full defense costs upwards of $50,000. Not matching that could be forfeiting the fight and that fight is for EVERYTHING YOU OWN.

          The bottom line is that if I were a Malibu single Doe and it were my house on the line I would want a hell of a lot more than pro se boilerplate and “you can’t find it on my computer.” That isn’t holding up in the Bellwether. Juan and jose, please don’t get me wrong. I agree with you that Lipscomb’s copy and paste filings are technically suspect. I agree with all of the reasons why an IP address is not a person. I agree with you that the discovery he is seeking is in many cases ridiculous over reach. We’re all preaching to the choir there.

          The bottom line is, if you were a Malibu defendant with A) a 40 title list of accusations, B)

        • juancarlosdeburbon says:

          Not sure where you’re getting the incredible $50,000 number from.

          When I refer to boilerplating it’s for the representing attorney. I figure it would cost probably $2K-$5K to fight it and with a counterclaim I’d probably win legal fees back in a settlement. There’s plenty of case law to back this up.

          The burden of proof is on Lipscomb, and there’s nothing he has that can absolutely prove that the owner of the IP address is the infringer. In lieu of concrete evidence all he has is speculation, and in nearly all cases that have been argued like this, that speculation isn’t enough to grant anything to the plaintiff. There’s no risk to me losing everything if he can’t win anything.

          Would I settle, no. I’d fight it like I’m currently doing. I lawyered up.

        • Anonymous says:

          juan, I have no first hand knowledge of litigation costs. I am not a lawyer and have not consulted with one, I am only speculating from what I have read eg. motion for bond by Antonelli in NDIL below estimating $60,000+ in defense costs.

          http://dietrolldie.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/bond_motion_03211il.pdf

          What I have read makes Lipscomb’s siterip cases seem extremely threatening in my mind. I would love nothing more than to be wrong in all of my pessimistic assumptions and for your defense to prevail.

          Thank you for fighting the troll. It’s the right decision for you. I have been lucky enough not to have to decide if it’s the right decision for me.

        • juancarlosdeburbon says:

          I’m glad you posted that. It’s a response from the Defendant’s lawyer asking that Malibu post a bond. It’s a boilerplate that was successfully used against Prenda.

          They’ve done a good job demonstrating that Malibu is a foreign entity (strike #1), and that they should post bond prior to litigation because the defendant is confident that they will win and will also win legal costs. So rather than have Malibu dodge their financial obligation to pay legal costs the defense is asking for the bond to be posted. If Malibu is confident they will win, then they shouldn’t protest posting the bond. And there begins the collapse of the suit and an out of court settlement.

          Thanks for posting that. Excellent example of troll boilerplating.

  8. that anonymous coward says:

    *rolls on the floor laughing*
    give me a couple days…. it might take that long to stop laughing

  9. John Steal says:

    It is my opinion that this was the best thing since Gibbs’ brain cancer. So funny and delicious. It is also my opinion that these “alleged” fraudulent assclowns are about to be figuratively sodomized by both the IRS and the DoJ.

    Welcome to the big league (PMITA federal prision); govern your sphincters accordingly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tasteless, John Steal. You should be ashamed of that comment. Cancer isn’t a joke.

      • Terminal Illness says:

        For a terrorist like Gibbs cancer is not enough! I will celebrate when he becomes a vegetable!

        • Anonymous says:

          How about you celebrate that these guys law careers are potentially over? Death or vegetative states be damned. Karma will get them and arguably is. With comments like the above, you do a disservice to everyone else who comments on this site. I find your comments detestable. You should be ashamed of yourself.

        • Terminal Illness says:

          I wasn’t aware that wishful thinking is a crime

  10. Anonymous says:

    Also, if I were Adam Urbanzcyk, I would stop doing anything to create even the slightest suspicion that I’m colluding with Prenda. It’s looking like that won’t end well.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry if this makes me sinking to their level, but I hope the whole Prenda crew rot in Hell. The sooner a higher power from above (or below in this case) removes them from this planet the better. Their cavalier attitude towards entrapment, extortion, and reaping millions because of it makes me sick. I wish bad things on very few people but these people have contributed NOTHING to society and should turn in their cards to the human race. That is my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    With taking the 5th, no one at the hearing who did so can now say they are not arguably a crook (including those who filed defamation suits). They literally just destroyed any such arguments. The lawyers, especially, since they definitely should know better. I wish Lutz had been questioned, though he may have been out of reach of the judge in terms of sanctions. That said, he’s supposedly CEO of multiple Prenda clients. I also wish that Peter Hansmeier was questioned — one observer said it looked like he was going to cry — I wonder why. 6881 Forensics needed to be unveiled for whatever they/it are/is. Prenda, et al. and previous incarnations have caused a lot of pain, depression, and anxiety, and they should answer for that in civil (and perhaps criminal, if applicable) court. I understand people wishing ill on them, but let’s not stoop to direct statements of ill will. I want justice and nothing else. I want these actors to have the full force of the law and justice felt upon them so it never happens again. That’s all. IRS and FBI — I hope you’ve taken full notice.

  13. UnrulyPrawn says:

    And yet they will continue as they have. My personal opinion is that this entire thing has been nothing more than a dog and pony show. the proof will be is letters continue rolling off their presses and the unknowing keep paying the ransoms. It literally is a syndicated criminal cartel, and unfortunately, in my opinion, they are being protected by a very powerful “uncle”. They yet again walked out untouchable. At some point the word conspiracy must begin to creep in.

    • Anonymous says:

      This. Prenda may be dead but Anti-Piracy Law Firm or whatever lives on. Heck, even LiveWire Holdings webpage is still up showing a false pic or Mark Lutz. They’re still rich and will form some other shop and learn from their mistakes. Eventually, Steele’s ego will get the better of him again and we’ll start all over again. Heck, even if they’re disbarred he’ll just pull the strings of some lawyer behind the scenes. Maybe Adam Urbanczyk or any of the other local counsel he’s colluded with. This is of course all opinion. And in my opinion they won’t be stopped until they physically are unable to carry out this criminal racket.

      • DUMBASS-TROLLS_can_rot_in_hell says:

        Maybe its time to seriously raise the stakes on idiots like Urbanczyk and any other sub-human who has gotten in bed with Prenda in any way, shape, or form……spread the word in any and every way that these dumbasses joined in on a potentially criminal extortion scheme by partnering with the Prenda troll enterprise. Sounds like a ‘smart” lawyer to me.

        Maybe we can try their churches and congregations, their neighbors, professional associations, country clubs, bar associations, and use the good ole internet over and over and over to crowd out any message other than these are scummy porn trolls……just get the word out. A little search activity and a few peices of paper and stamps will “help” these so-well-deserving idiots. Imagine a potential client doing a google search on a potential lawyer they might hire……..they get a list of all the lawyer’s porn trolling activities and the lawyer’s affiliation with a potential criminal enterprise and its shady doings. Gee…I’d hire them….never.

        They all deserve to feel some of the same pain they gave to others, now and in the future, for joining in on the spreading of extortion pain to so many. They deserve the shit reputation that will follow them for the rest of their deservedly and hopefully shit-miserable lives. How much have these secondary players, baby-trolls, and the related enterprises, shared in causing damage to others lives? So give it right back!!

        Every client, and potential client, of these troll-helpers should know that these pathetic lawyers, and others, gladly joined a likely criminal enterprise just to line their pockets. The more they can be feel the pain, the more any other lawyer (and perhaps the current batch of trolls like Lipscum) will notice and stop all this extortion insanity. Its all about money to them, so let’s try to make sure they have as little as possible in the future. Fair is fair after all.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think ATPLG and prenda are the same people i may be wrong though

  14. [...] on April 3, 2013 at 2:47 am | Reply Prenda trolls appear in Judge Wright’s courtroom only to plead the Fifth. Furious judge ends t… [...]

  15. SaveADoeStarveATroll says:

    Still anxiously watching their downfoall

  16. AnonymousDoe says:

    Kind of saddens me that they’re probably not going to file in the St. Clair County Guava case. I’d love the opportunity to file a countersuit after THIS.

  17. TxJenM says:

    We have been praying for the downfall of Prenda Trolls since we recieved our first letter. Yesterday, I was tickled to death to read the news of dummies pleading the 5th and Judge (Superman) Wright bringing the hammer (gavel) down on their heads. I can hardly wait to see what’s next. I hope other courts are watching closely.

    Hey Prenda, Karma is a bitch isn’t it!

  18. No_Lubricant says:

    Message for John Steele & Co: this is just the foreplay; you will be fucked, just be patient!

    • That Anonymous Dude says:

      Love the nickname and the analogy, this is like a bad handjob for Steele…next up, well, has anyone heard of Tool’s “Prison Sex” (that’s in the setlist at the “Enda of Prenda Party” hehe). Judge Wright gave those assclowns an opportunity to answer for their actions. They chose not to. This will result in a shitstorm of epic proportions in which Steele will be lucky to walk away with just permanent disbarment. This is gonna be one helluva show to watch, AGs coming from all fronts, judicial referrals, sanctions, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they move (or have moved) their spoils to countries that the U.S. Treasury can’t get at…and Mr. IRS hates when people do that.

  19. Ron Mexico says:

    to quote Wayne Larrivee “And there is your dagger!”

  20. SJD says:

    HT Jordan Rushie (via Twitter):

  21. SJD says:

    Another relevant video:

  22. PleasePassThePopcorn says:

    I wonder if there isn’t a play to be made here since the “hey-who-taped-my-mouth-shut’ principals at Prenda are still filing law suits from make believe companies. If you were threatened with the game of lawsuit chicken from a shell co. with the big league boys, it might make sense to make a phone call or email them challenging their manhood and they will definitely ignore reality and file a lawsuit. – WALA , countersuit $480.000 payable upon Pretenda pleading the 5th, ala Morgan Pietz.

    (let’s stop these troll suits, get the Shield Act passed!)

    • Raul says:

      At this stage I think you can safely abandon DTD’s RPR with respect to Prenda and just tell them to smoke a big bag of dicks.

      The forgoing does not constitute legal advice….but HAHAHA.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or maybe find an attorney friend or Doe Defender willing to send a friendly note to Prenda’s defense team regarding their ongoing settlement efforts.

        If they had to plead the 5th regarding their litigation activities, their own defense attorneys may shit their pants at the prospect of becoming accessories to ongoing fraud, losing the attorney/client protection, etc. I’m sure that’s why they started dismissing cases like crazy after the March 11 hearing.

      • MinnesotaDoe says:

        These assholes are done. There’s a reason all of the Prenda/Alpha Law Firm/Livewire cases were dismissed in Minnesota in March. These were all litigated by Michael Dugas. My conjecture is that he realized how fucked up things were and got out while he could. He still have the Spencer Merkel affidavit to answer to if anything gets opened up again, but I bet he doesn’t want that — it doesn’t look very legitimate to me. I hope he finds a good legal career after all this. (I believe in redemption.) It’s nearing time to claim victory in toppling a house of cards that can be described as Prenda, et al. The only way to make this better is if Michael Dugas and/or his wife were willing to testify against their employers.

  23. MinnesotaDoe says:

    Isn’t it strange that Mark Lutz, supposedly CEO of AFH, I13, and Livewire, found himself without counsel?

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel honored that a busy CEO of three companies once called me to discuss my “options”. That’s a guy who really cares about the people.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Oh and I almost forgot.

    GOOD WORK TEAM!

    MUHUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

  25. MinnesotaDoe says:

    Someone give the signal when it’s time to involve the Attorney General of Minnesota. I’ll be watching….

  26. eatingpopcorndownunder says:

    Mr Steel’s high tech software….
    ““When we were in law school, we could look at the router and see people ripping movies and songs. We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could find a way to identify these people and go after them?’” he says. “Adult entertainment companies were only ones that would work with us.”

  27. AnuthaDoe says:

    I was thinking of calling the Prenda 800 380-0840 number and telling them I’ve decided to settle after all. Where should I send the check?

  28. PleasePassThePopcorn says:

    This is what should be happening – a brit-ish disgraced troll

    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/372247/file-sharing-acs-law-solicitor-suspended

  29. That Anonymous Dude says:

    Very soon it will be time for me to draft a letter to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and enclose Judge Wright’s orders from the two hearings as well as the transcripts of the hearings. And also enclose a copy of every…single…demand letter I have ever received. Shit that’ll cost me A LOT of money to FedEx to Springfield, maybe I should just hand deliver it? I have a file folder half an inch thick, demand letters from Steele|Hansmeier and Prenda, signed by Steele, Duffy, and even Perea. I hope Judge Wright refers Steele and his lackey lawyers to the bar associations in every state they are licensed to practice and to the peer review committees for every federal jurisdiction in which they are admitted as well.

  30. that anonymous coward says:

    Cry Havoc and let slip the Judge of War!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well, will you look at that? John Lawrence Steele now have not one but TWO Forbes articles. I bet he is so proud.

  32. [...] Prenda trolls appear in Judge Wright’s courtroom only to plead the Fifth. Furious judge ends t… [...]

  33. [...] Prenda trolls appear in Judge Wright’s courtroom only to plead the Fifth. Furious judge ends t… [...]

  34. […] time when the entire gang, including the ethically handicapped attorney who signed it (Paul Duffy), pleaded the Fifth and was referred to the authorities for criminal investigation (as a matter of fact, Duffy pleaded […]

  35. […] it took six months of inventive evasion, attempts to remove a judge from a case, lies, invoking the Fifth Amendment to finally come up with a crafty plot that for the first time explicitly accuses Steele’s […]

  36. […] 59). The most interesting piece is John Steele’s sworn affidavit. In my opinion, John waived his 5th amendment rights by filing it. Someone has immediately noted that the notarized date is 5/28/2013, while […]

  37. […] 2: Prenda principles plead the Fifth declining to answer questions about the bogus corporations and their roles in those […]

  38. […] had seen John Steele previously at the April 2 hearing where he plead the 5th, but I had never actually seen him perform, and the take-home lesson from […]

  39. […] had seen John Steele previously at the April 2 hearing where he plead the 5th, but I had never actually seen him perform, and the take-home lesson from […]

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