Pietz and Ranallo hire a lawfirm, claim that the latest Steele’s exhibit was forged

Posted: July 8, 2013 by SJD in Coopergate, Prenda
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday I mentioned four motions from the Prenda gang claiming that Steele/Hansmeiers/Lutz were not served by Pietz/Ranallo with the copies of the documents from “The Star Trek” case. The most serious is John Steele’s motion — as it exhibits Pietz’s email purportedly admitting the wrongdoing¹. Today, obviously heeding the legal wisdom that “an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client,” Morgan Pietz replied via newly hired law firm Heller and Edwards.

One might imagine that after being severely sanctioned by this court for what amounts to no less than a criminal enterprise which exploited an unknowing court system in order to extort an innocent citizenry, John Steele and his cohorts would think twice before tiling frivolous and procedurally defective motions. One might imagine [...]

The main points of the reply are:

  • The motion is improper because it is a “motion for reconsideration,” and any reconsideration request must be based on new evidence. No new evidence was presented, according to Pietz/Heller.
  • It is no one’s fault but Steele’s that he has not been receiving document copies: John failed to maintain updated contact information with the court, a strict duty.
  • Steele’s exhibit (Morgan’s email to the Prenda parties, johnlsteele@gmail.com in particular) is forged. Pietz does not deny sending this email. But… it bounced. I tested it and Google said that no such user exists. At the same time, on the page 5 of his motion Steele claims under penalty of perjury that it is “a true and correct copy of an email I received from Morgan E. Pietz.” Heller concludes that the exhibit is doctored (that Steele obtained a copy from one of the CC recipients and “fixed” it to look like he himself received it). If so, I praise a great idea to present a forged document to Judge Wright. Smart!
  • Steele actively participated in the discussion (with Prenda’s attorney Philip Vineyard) about the recent case developments. So, despite not being served with copies by Pietz, John was perfectly aware about the case progress (it would be insane not to follow the most important lawsuit of his life):

    In view of all this evidence, it seems that Steele was just about as “shocked” about the bond issue before this Court as Captain Renault was to find that gambling was going on at Rick’s Café Americain. (See Cap’t. Renault, Casablanca, Warner Bros. (1942)).

Expectedly, the movants request sanctions:

Although already sanctioned by this court, it is clear that neither Steele nor his contingent have learned their lesson. As frivolous as Steele’s motion is, Pietz and Ranallo were compelled to retain outside counsel to defend it. Pietz and Ranallo should be compensated for having to respond to this baseless motion through the court’s issuance, on its own initiative, of an OSC re: Sanctions or, alternatively, through the court’s setting of a hearing date for Pietz and Ranallo to have their Rule 11 sanctions motion heard.

It must be said: finally, enough is enough!

 

 

Spoliation of evidence?

Was Steele’s exhibit “A” doctored or not can be debated (and I’m skeptical that it was forgery: fraud/deception — yes, forgery/doctoring — not likely), but there is an elephant in the room that was initially unnoticed: the very fact that Steele has deleted his email account. A comment by Mysterious Anonymous explains it better than I would:

John Steele deleted his Gmail account?

One that has been used extensively in the course of his litigation activities at Steele | Hansmeier and Prenda Law, Inc., in perhaps hundreds of cases in dozens of federal district courts across the USA?

One that was used to register domain names for Prenda and their supposed clients?

One that was associated with the Alan Cooper ID theft?

After he was referred to the USAO and IRS-CI for criminal investigation?

After he was referred to state Bar associations for investigation?

Holy shit! Can you say

SPOLIATION

OF

EVIDENCE

???

Wow.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

What was in there that Steele is suddenly so desperate to hide?

I’m surprised Heller didn’t raise the issue, seems like a huge oversight. Even though it may not be strictly relevant to the 08333 case and their response, it is surely useful as another demonstration of Prenda’s bad faith and lack of ethics. Surely attorneys operate under record retention requirements that do not include “I can delete all my f%^&king email whenever I want because I am in a panic trying to avoid service and destroy evidence!”

All the histrionics about the guy with CCleaner installed and Steele wipes his f%^&king email account?

This isn’t going to end well. If Nick and Morgan don’t take him to task for it, every other defendant with a counterclaim will have a field day, as will the guys driving the party vans.

Media coverage

 


¹ I think (and I wonder if anyone disagrees) that Pietz’s email is nothing but an example of the professional courtesy.

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Comments
  1. Raul says:

    From the Response in arguing the frivolous nature of Steele’s motion:

    “No sanction is severe enough”.

    This ought to be good.

    • sausages says:

      a defacto asking of contempt of court sanction? Seems to me Steele is rather contemptuous of the courts authority, though I’m not lawyerly enough to say if that is grounds for contempt…

    • Clownius says:

      Yeah its looking great so far Raul. How deep do these guys want to dig.

      Pietz and Ranallo hiring another law firm is going to make this evet more expensive. These guys (the Pretendas) are going to be very broke once this all plays out.

  2. Mysterious Anonymous says:

    John Steele deleted his Gmail account?

    One that has been used extensively in the course of his litigation activities at Steele | Hansmeier and Prenda Law, Inc., in perhaps hundreds of cases in dozens of federal district courts across the USA?

    One that was used to register domain names for Prenda and their supposed clients?

    One that was associated with the Alan Cooper ID theft?

    After he was referred to the USAO and IRS-CI for criminal investigation?

    After he was referred to state Bar associations for investigation?

    Holy fucking shit! Can you say

    SPOLIATION

    OF

    EVIDENCE

    ???

    Wow.

    Wow. Wow. Wow.

    What was in there that Steele is suddenly so desperate to hide?

    I’m surprised Heller didn’t raise the issue, seems like a huge oversight. Even though it may not be strictly relevant to the 08333 case and their response, it is surely useful as another demonstration of Prenda’s bad faith and lack of ethics. Surely attorneys operate under record retention requirements that do not include “I can delete all my fucking email whenever I want because I am in a panic trying to avoid service and destroy evidence!”

    All the histrionics about the guy with CCleaner installed and Steele wipes his fucking email account?

    This isn’t going to end well. If Nick and Morgan don’t take him to task for it, every other defendant with a counterclaim will have a field day, as will the guys driving the party vans.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course the beauty of this is that the mail in a gmail account can never be deleted. He may have “deleted” the account, but Big Brother Google still has all of that email safely stored away in some server somewhere just ready to be subpoenaed and used against him!

      • Mysterious Anonymous says:

        https://support.google.com/mail/answer/32046?hl=en

        This is Google’s support page on Gmail account deletion. It implies that it does delete all information associated with the account, although there is a limited-time recovery option.

        Knowing how computer systems work, of course I think it is unlikely that every piece of data ever associated with a given Gmail account can be deleted from all of Google’s systems and data stores. There is a little bit more here:

        https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/61177?hl=en

        ————
        I want to retrieve my deleted account

        Residual copies of deleted messages and accounts may take up to 60 days to be deleted from our active servers and may remain in our backup systems for an additional period of time. If you delete your Gmail address but wish to have it back, we work to help you recover your deleted accounts whenever possible. However, within a few weeks’ time, accounts are usually no longer retrievable. Note that a successful recovery will only recover the username associated with the account.
        ————-

        Given growing public concern over privacy and data leaks, especially after that AOL search data release from a few years back, I would not be surprised if Google actually does make a good faith effort to clean up as much as they can when a user deletes an account. Pay special attention to the second support note that says only the username will be recovered, so he may have already created a situation where it will not be possible for him to produce any email records without attempting to subpoena Google.

        What happens if Google gets a subpoena, especially a subpoena from law enforcement, especially in light of the NSA data mining scandal, is open to speculation. But I think it’s clear that Google’s stated policy makes things look terrible for Steele, because it suggests that he would at least have expected the emails to be destroyed and has complicated their recovery, so the mens rea is there.

        If I were Steele I would try Google’s account recovery the moment I get done reading this post, although it sounds like that will be too little, too late. We all know he’s a reactionary and loves to take our advice; don’t be surprised if his email stops bouncing in a day or two.

  3. cdru says:

    For a opposition that has a lot to do with whether Steele was served or not at johnsteele@gmail.com, you’d think that the opposition would be filed with a correct email address. Yet on the last page, the Proof of Service List, it lists Steele’s email address as johnsteele@gmaile.com (note the extra e in “gmaile”). Facepalm on someone’s part.

  4. Ron Mexico says:

    With what’s going on, this is precisely what I cannot stand about the legal profession. When does the filing motion after motion after motion after motion end?

  5. anne mouse says:

    No, the argument is whether Steele was served at Johnlsteele@gmail.com (notice the L between “john” and “steele” – actually it kind of looks like a pipe character in the exhibit). Two separate email accounts.

    I believe the one without the L was used in connection with the Alan Cooper identity, but it’s hard to keep track.

    • SJD says:

      I performed a quick search on the email address in question, and it appears that this email – with “l” – was used for domain registrations.

      • anne mouse says:

        SJD, I think you’re right, the one without the L was mentioned in a TechDirt article in connection with a domain name registration in the Alan Cooper affair, but that looks to be a type-o by TechDirt.

        Skipping the L seems to be a further goof by Pietz’s lawyer along the lines of the one that CRDU noted.

        Slightly off topic: I checked the Illinois bar website to see if Steele had an email listed there. He doesn’t, but there was a note to say that he doesn’t have any malpractice insurance. Apparently that’s allowed in some circumstances (judges and in-house attorneys don’t get sued for malpractice too often) but this might be worth checking up on. Has he filed any cases in Illinois as the attorney of record? How about his firms (S/H and Prenda, even if he denies being involved)
        (We’d want to check how long he’s lacked insurance: maybe the Wayback machine can help?)

        • SJD says:

          It rings a bell that we discussed the insurance issue before and to the best of my recollection, Steele never had malpractice insurance, which is consistent with his hubris.

        • Clownius says:

          Who in their right mind would insure him against malpractice. Certainly no on now thats for sure lol

        • Anonymous says:

          In Illinois, a lawyer is not required to carry malpractice insurance. In Illinois, specifically, Cook County Steele (based on his Cook County attorney ID number and captioning) is still attorney of record on several non-copyright related cases. The *change the name game* & claims of not having any involvement with the family law firm(s) anymore is alive and well in this arena too. Different costume, same act. A leopard doesn’t change it’s spots. If you look at the Oct 5, 2012 (?) Guava Order in CC – you can see Steele’s CC attorney (firm) number is used in the copyright cases and by the family law firm he allegedly sold to Peter Olson. Not that anyone cares. He’s been without MP insurance for quite awhile. If memory serves correctly – probably 1+ year?! To the best of my knowledge, attorneys in IL don’t have to reveal that they don’t have malpractice insurance.

    • Raul says:

      Pretty sure malpractice insurance does not cover intentionally fraudulent acts.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think my favorite part of their response is “it seems that Steele was just about as “shocked” about the bond issue before this Court as Captain Renault was to find that gambling was going on at Rick’s Cafe Americain. (See Cap’t. Renault, Casablanca, Warner Bros. (1942)).

    Cited movie references are not something you see every day in court filings.

    Though “was ignored by all of them, except for some nonsensical ramblings from Mr. Duffy.” is pretty good as well.

  7. dogatemyhomework says:

    Question for a lawyer type: Since Steele and Hansmeier are not a part of Prenda and therefore are not clients of Klinedinst PC, does this mean that emails between Prenda and Klinedinst which cc them are not protected by attorney client privilege because they include a third party?

    • Mysterious Anonymous says:

      I think it raises additional questions about Klinedinst PC being actively involved in the Steele/Prenda ongoing fraud.

      If they are consulting with Steele, it makes me wonder if he is the one paying the bills while Prenda pleads poverty to the court.

      What about Vineyard and Rosing knowing full well that Steele knew about the additional bond request? They knew his motion for reconsideration was predicated on a lie and they sat back. They are officers of the court, they knew another officer of the court was lying, and Steele is not even their client, and they did not report that misconduct to the judge or the state bar? Rosing is supposedly an expert in ethics and has served on ABA committees? Says a lot about the profession.

  8. Anon E. Mous says:

    You know I have to wonder if Steele is intentionally trying to mislead the court here with him saying ” I didnt know about any of this and nothing was sent to me” argument, this is of course only hypothetical but…

    Steele had an old email address at gmail that was used to register the domains of a few web sites and it was were he was getting a lot of email. Ok…so I am sure we all know Steele’s fragile ego compels him to keep abreast of what the tech blogs and FCT and DTD are saying about Prenda and it’s cases.

    Now if Steele did delete his old gmail account he could have very well opened up another gmail account with a similar name ( cause really would you want to have JohnSteele in your e-mail address knowing what it is associated with?…I thought not )

    I could see where Steele would hope that know one would notice the slight difference between johnlsteele@gmail.com and johnsteele@gmail.com and hope that the court would agree with him ( if you think about it cyber domain name squatters use tricks like this constantly when spoofing domain names of high value sites, so you could see where this does work in fooling people)

    The mere fact that Stelle doesnt even have his own e-mail address right in the court documents should give Judge Wright a few laughs, But I could really see Steele using this as an escape… of course this is just my opinion… I wouldnt want John to actually believe that I think he is clever… because that wouldnt be anywhere near the truth of what I think of him.

  9. Mysterious Anonymous says:

    If failing to update his contact information in this case was a local rule violation, what are the chances that Steele has similarly violated the rules in every other jurisdiction and case he is still a party to?

  10. SJD says:

    Looking at the CC list, it may be that Steele DID receive the email and did not have a thought about the possible controversy. One of the recipients is paduffy@wefightpiracy.com : it is not a big stretch to assume that any email sent to this address ends up in Steele’s consolidated mailbox. As a matter of fact, I’m sure it is the case.

  11. WDS says:

    For those of you not also following the comment thread that will not quit at Popehat, the Appeals court denied the Prenda appeal re the bond issue. They did consolidate all of the various appeals and set a briefing schedule.

  12. Mysterious Anonymous says:

    Yo, John, how are those lawsuits against The Internet going?

    We’re still here, and you’re still making a fool of yourself.

    BTW, since you don’t check ECF and like to pretend to dodge service, you have another bond to secure…

  13. Christenson says:

    At this point, If I were Pietz, or the good folks in Georgia, I’d subpoenae (or get a warrant to) Google tomorrow on those Steele accounts, just in case the criminal investigators are slower than expected. It is would be more than particular enough.

    But, Mr Steele, way to make the point to the Appeals court that the appeal is meritless!!!! My popcorn futures just made me a small killing! And thanks, WDS, for reminding me to check the zombie thread on popehat that will neither die nor move! (grin)

    • Christenson says:

      Hey! I didn’t look far enough, but only one judge of three dissented on the second bond amount…presumably because with the consolidation of the appeals, Pietz’s original calculations now contain invalid assumptions — he only has to do one appeal! OTOH, he’s just had to hire a lawyer himself, so this should move the numbers back in the right direction.

  14. Raul says:

    One very likely upshot of all of this is the Prenda parties who were not originally sanctioned but who joined in the motion for reconsideration are now at risk of being sanctioned.

    • Mysterious Anonymous says:

      I can’t imagine what Lutz and Peter H. were thinking drawing attention to themselves after just barely escaping Wright’s wrath. They got a light tongue-lashing but basically under the circumstances they should have been very happy campers.

      The most likely explanation is that they weren’t thinking, and just don’t get it, which would be par for the course, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that “their” filings were made by Steele without their knowledge or consent. Peter H. in particular had no reason to jump back in the fray. Lutz is on record as Official Volunteer Mastermind, so he has some motivation to salvage his scam and possibly protect himself from liabilty that may result from any future piercing of AF and Ingenuity’s veil.

  15. If Steele nuked his gmail account(s) he probably had Peter Hansmeier or one of the other engineers at 6881 make forensic copies first. You know, to avoid the aforementioned spoliation issue.

  16. CTVic says:

    Kinda funny that as the real lawyers are further lawyering themselves up, Steele & co. are stripping down by going pro se.

    Will the real lawyers please stand up? No. Not you John. You need to sit down. I said “lawyers”, not “scam artists and extortionists”.

  17. […] Pietz and Ranallo hire a lawfirm, claim that the latest Steele’s exhibit was forged […]

  18. […] Pietz and Ranallo hire a lawfirm, claim that the latest Steele’s exhibit was forged (Fight Copyright Trolls, July 8, 2013) […]

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