Archive for the ‘Prenda’ Category

Thyself shalt see the act:
For, as thou urgest justice, be assur’d
Thou shalt have justice more than thou desir’st.

Shakespeare. The Merchant of Venice.

 

Since Prenda became a national poster child, I’m not compelled to cover its illustrious downfall anymore, unless I have something unique to add: there are people who write much better than yours truly. I’m sure anyone who follows Prenda stories enjoyed yesterday’s news: our trolls had their first oral argument on appeal in front of the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit (appealing Judge Murphy’s sanctions in Lightspeed Media Corporation v. Smith et al, ILSD 12-cv-00889). If you didn’t listen to the recording yet, you definitely should. Also read:

 

I want to present an eyewitness story. Heather S. enjoyed the show personally, so her first-hand impressions are valuable. Continue to pictures!

Below is another story from the AF Holdings v. Patel (GAND 12-cv-00262) hearing held on 1/28/2014 in Gainesville, Georgia. Thursday’s post featured transcript-like notes made by Oralia Oglesbee. Today’s story by Kat is a bit more personal and perfectly complements the previous report. I also storified Kat’s tweets related to this event. Enjoy and send big thanks to both ladies.

Nazaire was a surprise to me. The word that came to mind when he started speaking was “cultured”. Which is proof that crazy comes in all forms.

The man wanted names. He initially asked the Judge to order every member of the audience to identify themselves. He did so after looking over to where Graham, Oralia and I were sitting. And when he did, I couldn’t help but smile back at him. He was worried that one of us was a surprise witness. The judge asked Blair if he had any witnesses in the audience and that is when Graham was identified and forced to leave.

At this time John Steele was not in the audience. I think he must have come in while Graham’s back was turned because nobody saw him enter.

Later Nazaire demanded that Blair turn over the names of all donors of the crowd source fund. He wanted to know if any of the lawyers in the other cases had donated. That ain’t happening either. Nazaire made a big deal of how Blair had promised videos and transcripts of Mark Lutz’s deposition to all donors and said that the purpose of the deposition was to serve as evidence for cases outside of Georgia (where discovery had not been granted). The Judge didn’t see a problem with this and pointed out that one of the court reporters had made a small fortune selling copies of a transcript an “expert” witness’s deposition “from here to Hawaii”.

The thrust of Nazaire’s questions, arguments, and discussions with the Judge is that this case should have been over. He asked Patel if he understood what “dismissed with prejudice” meant. He accused Patel (and Blair, by proxy) of “going after” (his words) AF Holdings. This was an accusation that Patel didn’t deny. While the judge was berating Chintella over how he handled discovery, and how long this case has dragged out, Nazaire pointed out he had offered Blair $3,100 to dismiss. The Judge called this inappropriate and chastised Nazaire for interrupting.

During his cross examination of Blair, Nazaire wanted to know how much had been raised. How much had been spent. And what it was spent on. He seemed to be implying that Blair was embezzling funds. He also spent a fair amount of time grilling both Blair and Patel over the logistics and accounting of the money raised, citing various rules and regulations. Gotta hand it to him, the man knows the rule book back and forth.

Lutz’s testimony

Mark Lutz stated that he was — to his knowledge — the sole owner of AF Holdings. Nazaire asked if Steele, Hansmeier or Duffy (among others) owned any shares and Lutz answered in the negative. When speaking of AF Holdings, Lutz kept saying “we”. When Blair asked who “we” was, Lutz said that it was just “AF Holdings,” but since Lutz wasn’t entirely consistent with the royal “we”, I’m pretty sure that was a lie.

Lutz claimed that AF Holding consisted of just himself. That he was the sole owner and had no employees. He said that Hansmeier was not paid to represent AF Holdings. He said that AF Holdings had the right to go after pirates because they were stealing. He also claimed that he had not had the opportunity to testify in the past and that he had failed to appear at the deposition because he felt its sole purpose was to humiliate him and that the questions would have no relation to the Patel case.

Lutz stated that this and other lawsuits had forced him to start over. That he is currently rebuilding by starting a new business in a new industry. He implied that he didn’t have a lot of money. He said that being there in court had cost him $500.00.

When Blair cross examined Lutz, Lutz said that he had known John Steele for three years; that they were not living together; but that they may have leased an apartment together.

Lutz said that AF Holdings no longer has any assets. That it had previously owned copyrights to several videos which were worthless because of pirating. He stated that AF Holdings was not distributing the videos commercially because there was no point in doing so while they were being pirated. He also stated that AF Holdings’ intention was to increase the value of the copyrights (presumably by going after the pirates) and then distribute the videos commercially at a later date.

He said that AF Holdings had purchased the copyright to Popular Demand in 2011.

Lutz stated that at one time or another he had worked as a paralegal for Paul Hansmeier, John Steele, and Paul Duffy.

Blair asked if AF Holdings was a client of both employers (Steele|Hansmeier and Prenda Law). Lutz answered “yes”.

The judge asked where Blair was going with all this, and Blair said that he was illustrating how the CEO of AF Holdings was employed by the firms retained to represent his business.

They then moved onto the subject of trusts. And boy does Lutz have Trust Issues.

Oralia already mentioned the inconsistencies with the trust names and the mindboggling explanation for them. But here’s something else: Lutz admitted that the Trust’s sole source of income was Prenda Law. He also stated that he had instructed his attorney to answer the interrogatories. He didn’t seem to be overly familiar with the interrogatory documents.

And that’s when the weather intervened. Dammit.

Minute Sheet for proceedings
Today a long anticipated hearing in the AF Holdings v. Patel (GAND 12-cv-00262) took place in Gainesville, Georgia. Oralia Oglesbee was there and documented the event. Let us thank her: it is understandable how challenging the task was.

Although I previously reported on this case (I counted four posts), this case is so eventful that I did not cover all the important moments, especially the recent ones. Fortunately, there are stories on the net that fill the gap, particularly the one by Mike Masnick that discussed the order that called for this hearing.

In short, Judge O’Kelley was unhappy with both parties (primarily with Prenda) and ordered AF Holdings’ counsel Jacque Nazaire to explain a lot of things related to Prenda’s shenanigans (the only alleged violation defense attorney Blair Chintella would need to address was his campaign to crowdfund Mark Lutz’s deposition). The conclusion of the order suggested that the judge was quite serious about getting to the bottom of things:


US District Judge
William Clark O’Kelley

In case this order did not adequately drive the point home earlier, the court is not pleased with how this litigation has progressed. Failure to attend the show cause hearing will not be well received. Failure to attend will result in severe sanctions and may result in referral to the State Bar of Georgia. Failure to directly address the court’s concerns will result in equally severe sanctions.

Notwithstanding this court’s prior order prohibiting the parties from filing additional motions, the parties may file a supplemental brief addressing the court’s concerns to the extent that the supplemental brief provides facts not already present in the record. The parties are strongly encouraged to bring any relevant evidence to the show cause hearing. Specifically, plaintiff must produce the original assignment agreement for inspection. If a party wishes to present testimony that it deems critical to its case, the party should be prepared to solicit that testimony through a live witness. The parties are on notice that they may not use affidavits as a means to circumvent cross examination.

(more…)

2/3/2014 Update is below — Memorandum and Order sanctioning Prenda and Duffy.


U.S. District Judge
John W. Darrah

Today a hearing in Prenda v. the Internets (ILND 13-cv-04341) was held in Chicago. Cook County Record’s reporter Bethany Krajelis was there:

U.S. District Judge John Darrah at a brief status hearing today granted the motion for sanctions that defendants Paul Godfread and Alan Cooper filed this past fall against Prenda and Paul Duffy, who served as the firm’s sole officer before it dissolved and now serves as its attorney in the matter.

Following his verbal ruling on the sanctions motion, Darrah asked the defendants’ attorney, Erin Russell, to submit a list of itemized fees to the court by Feb. 6, presumably to help him come up with a dollar figure to attach to his decision.

We are waiting for the full order, and I will update this post as soon as it is filed. So far the only new document was a “Notification of docket Entry”:

 

Note that the judge also denied yesterday’s eleventh hour motion to leave to file surreply. The proposed surreply was weak even by Duffy’s standards, and the explanation of the last minute submission is mind-boggling:

Plaintiff has this week realized that that [sic], while it filed a motion to file a Surreply in opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Sanctions (filed on or about October 7, 2013 (ECF #52.)), he did not notice the motion for a hearing. This was simply the result of an oversight on the part of Plaintiff. Plaintiff now re-submits the proposed Surreply and respectfully requests that the Court grant it leave to file it.

As Raul nicely put it,

 

Indeed.

Update

2/3/2014

We have been waiting for more than a week, and finally Memorandum Opinion and Order has been issued by Judge Darrah. To say it is harsh on Prenda and Paul Duffy is an understatement. Enjoy the sweetness of justice:

Based on the conduct of Prenda and its counsel, it is clear that sanctions are warranted.

Duffy had the opportunity to address this lie in his response to the Motion for Sanctions and did not. To fabricate what a federal judge said in a ruling before another court falls well outside the bounds of proper advocacy and demonstrates a serious disregard for the judicial process.

Prenda and Duffy’s arguments against the Motion for Sanctions are unpersuasive at best. In a final act of audacity, Prenda, in response to Defendants’ Motion for Sanctions, contends that the “Court should award Prenda the fees it incurred in defending against Defendants’ patently frivolous motion.”

Media coverage
I recently promised not to write about Prenda except for entertainment purposes, and I couldn’t miss this opportunity.

We all know that one of the three Prenda stooges (Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy) is especially entertaining. Paul Duffy, being contacted by the press regarding the fact that Prenda finally began to pay its victims, solemnly responded:

I hope you are doing well. I am devastated by the loss of Nelson Mandela and I hope you join with President Obama in remembering his legacy. He ranks with Mohandes Ghandi, Dr. King and President Kennedy in the struggle for human rights over the past 50 years. There are larger issues than the ability to steal porn… You seem like a nice guy. Thanks.

…only to later merrily celebrate Nelson Mandela’s Memorial Day on December 12, 2013:

 

The document embedded below describes some hilarity from the past: how our highly professional attorney avoided service 26 times in 2012:

 

..and how he threw a temper tantrum to the amusement of passersby during one of the service attempts:

[...]Mr. Willson and his associate rode the elevator with Mr. Duffy down to the lobby of the Daley Center. Mr. Duffy exited the building, followed by Mr. Willson and his associate. Mr. Willson called out Mr. Duffy’s first and last names, and, when Mr. Duffy turned around, Mr. Willson confirmed Mr. Duffy’s identity and handed him the summons.

Mr. Duffy tossed the summons to the ground. Later that morning, counsel’s office received a phone call from a County employee how works in the Daley Center who advised that the summons and complaint had been found on the ground outside the Daley Center.

After all this amusement, Duffy had a nerve to contest the way these events have been presented… with a straight face. Note how he states that he is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, which alone disqualifies him as one who can be perceived seriously. I also wanted to note that Duffy’s firm was involuntarily dissolved, but to be fair, this honorable achievement took place only shortly after the affidavit was filed.

 

According to the Illinois Attorney’s Registration and Disciplinary Record, an infamous copyright troll John Steele is not authorized to practice law in Illinois. Voluntarily inactive:

 

It’s quite a radical way to avoid disbarment. Will John incarcerate himself to avoid jail?

 

 

On a serious note: inactive status does not actually mean “auto-disbarment”: if an attorney does not want to pay Bar fees, he can voluntarily temporarily suspend himself. And it is perfectly normal… unless motives are questionable… oh, well.

Here is the rule:

Lawyers who register as inactive must pay an annual fee of $105.00. Inactive status lawyers may not practice law based upon their Illinois license or hold themselves out as being so authorized. An inactive lawyer may resume active status by submitting written or online notification of the intent to do so, and by paying the balance of the fee active lawyers must pay for the registration year in which active status is resumed. Inactive lawyers are also subject to a $25.00 per month late fee if registering late.

So in theory he can reinstate himself by simply paying the outstanding balance and clicking a button. Yet in light of the current investigation, it is not likely John will be practicing in Illinois again (or anywhere else, because Illinois is the only state where he is licensed). It is clear that this is not about saving on fees. If I had to guess I’d say that’s why he did it: to be able to say “You can’t sanction me! I’m not a practicing attorney anymore!” Won’t fly, of course.

Media coverage

I’m sorry for thy much misgovernment.

William Shakespeare, “Much Ado About Nothing,” 4.1.99

 

On Friday St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a long story about one of the most watched Prenda’s infamous disasters, Lightspeed v Smith lawsuit (Raul had been the first to break a story about this farce 1.5 years ago). In addition to a good article, St. Louis Post-Dispatch presented us with a Christmas gift — a transcript of a motion hearing in Judge Murphy’s chambers on November 13, 2013. We all know what followed two weeks after the hearing — a scalding order, in which Murphy explicitly called John Steele and Paul Hansmeier liars:

[...] For example, at the November 13 hearing, Hansmeier skirted the Court’s direct questions, Steele made feigned protestations, and both flat-out lied about their association with Prenda Law, Inc. in the face of documentary evidence on the record in this case, and their sworn declarations in other cases.

Our three stooges were participating: Duffy and Steele in person, Hansmeier via the phone. Duffy did not say a word beyond introducing himself (which is natural, as the purported Prenda owner is barely involved in the fraudulent enterprise). Hansmeier did all the talking, and Steele joined him at the very end.


Proposed watermark for
the Prenda stationery

If you have been following the case, you know that Steele and Hansmeier claimed that the judge’s ruling, awarding attorney fees to the defense, was unfair because they knew nothing about the latest developments in the case and did not have a chance to respond. In essence, the judge gave our “heroes” enough rope a chance to argue why, while Duffy was served all the time electronically, Steele and Hansmeier needed to be served with motions and orders separately. You know, the Prenda clowns travel over the country performing the same song, to which the chorus is “We were not served!” We heard this motif in California, Connecticut, Massachussetts, and now in Illinois.

In a curious mixture of amusement and disgust, I envisioned a couple of naughty children who have been caught red-handed but continue lying in a futile hope to avoid punishment, and adults who are tired of these kids’ shenanigans, but don’t want to push too hard in a fear of messy temper tantrums.

Just look at these amazing fables:

MR. HANSMEIER: I first learned of the motion when I got a phone call from Paul Duffy telling me that the Court had granted the motion for attorneys’ fees against not only him but —

THE COURT: Right. You didn’t get notice of it until after the order had been entered.

MR. HANSMEIER: That’s correct.

THE COURT: All right.[...]

MR. STEELE: [...] I learned about this fee issue when Paul Hansmeier called me — I don’t know if it was a few days ago, a week ago, whatever — and told me what he had just learned from Paul Duffy.

Another entertaining moment: when Hansmeier whined that 70K in attorneys’ fees are too high, the judge noted:

THE COURT: You have not seen anything yet. The other defendants have not filed theirs yet. That’s what you call bargain rates around here. You are going to see what rates are shortly. As I said, ordinarily we look for six figures on notices of removal around this place. So I don’t know what your financial situation is, but in the larger picture I can just tell you that’s just kind of a foreshadowing of about what you are going to see here shortly here, I think.

And indeed, AT&T and Comcast later demanded their cut of Prenda’s flesh, and got what they asked for: $188,658.11 in addition to Smith’s $72,367.00 — $261,025.11 total.

The finale of that epic hearing is priceless. Meeting and exceeding our expectations, Jester John simply couldn’t keep his mouth shut and started talking. He is not a stranger to provoking judges, remember famous Wright’s “Raise your voice again and I’m going to introduce you to the United States Marshals. Get out”?

MR. STEELE: And, your Honor, I think it is important because we are assuming a lot of things. For instance, prior to this case even being filed, I personally spoke with Anthony Smith twice. I personally spoke with him and came away saying —

THE COURT: Who left him with a card that said call this person. They’re a very important lawyer from —

MR. STEELE: It wasn’t —

THE COURT: Obviously, somebody did.

MR. STEELE: The person that did that, I’ve never met never heard of, never spoke to.

THE COURT: But it is your case, you are responsible for it. It is your case, you filed it. There seems to be —

MR. STEELE: I didn’t file it.

THE COURT: There seems to be — what do you mean you didn’t file it? You entered your appearance in it.

MR. STEELE: Right. But I did not file this case.

THE COURT: Do you think that makes a difference —

MR. STEELE: I do.

THE COURT: — if you enter your appearance in a case that’s pointless, worthless, a sham?

MR. STEELE: Well, Judge, this same type of cases have been ruled in our favor in many other jurisdictions, including the state action that preceded proceeded this, the judge sided with our arguments. So in one case —

THE COURT: Mr. Steele, you are in the United States court of — in Southern District of Illinois. You are part of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Now, I could be dead wrong. Occasionally, I am; not too often. But I would say that this litigation the chances of being successful on appeal are somewhere between slim and below zero. This matter is under advisement. The Court’s in recess.

 

 

While Prenda’s federal cases are closely watched and reported (thanks to immediate availability of court documents via Pacer), cases filed in state courts are difficult to follow as the majority of local courts don’t provide online access to the filings. This post addresses one of the cases that flew under the radar for a while. This is the story of cowardice, sloppiness and douchebaggery by Lightspeed/Prenda on the one side and courage on the other. It has a happy ending, and victims of extortionists deserve to know about it, a healthy dose of Schadenfreude never hurts.


Pornographer Steve Jones

This fiasco stems from a previous action — a poorly conceived Lightspeed Media Corporation v. John Doe “hacking” lawsuit that was filed in a hellhole of St Clair County, IL. It was obvious even from reading an extremely vague complaint that this lawsuit was merely a fishing expedition to uncover and harass owners of more than 6000 IP addresses, produced by a random number generator called “Arcadia Security” (a “forensic company” owned by the plaintiff). Judge LeChien, who raised many brows by disproportionally favoring Prenda, tried to defy common sense by stubbornly dismissing numerous motions to quash until the Superior Court of Illinois slapped him on the wrist. Then the case was removed to the federal level and ended with a remarkable defeat of the extortionists. An unbelievable Chutzpah (the decision to add ISPs to the defendants list), defense attorneys’ intellectual superiority, and the inherent frivolousness of the action — all these factors contributed to this spectacular downfall — a $261,025.31 judgment against John Steele, Paul Hansmeier and Paul Duffy personally.

These fireworks took place last month, but 1.5 years ago Prenda’s spine was not yet broken. In order to maintain the level of pressure on hapless Does, Prenda started a couple of showcase lawsuits in various states. One of these, Lightspeed Media Corporation v. Adam Sekora, was filed in the Arizona Superior Court (Maricopa county) on 5/25/2012 (CV2012-053194).

Who are the parties?

Plaintiff Lightspeed Media Corporation, which is run by a slimeball Steve Jones and his wife, is a low-budget pornography producer who earned a fortune exploiting gullibility and natural stupidity of 18-19 year old girls, whom he films.

Defendant Adam Sekora, an IT professional, ran a TOR exit mode on the date his IP address was harvested by Jones’s script.

So, we have a “businessman” (in reality a parasite), who lacks basic ethics, and a productive citizen who donated his resources to a valuable cause by running a TOR exit node:

Using free software, Tor has enabled roughly 36 million people around the world to experience freedom of access and expression on the Internet while keeping them in control of their privacy and anonymity. Its network has proved pivotal in dissident movements in both Iran and more recently Egypt.

If Lightspeed was not disgusting enough already, this contrast makes him look like a cockroach. It is absolutely natural that John Steele and Steve Jones were attracted to each other.

Evasiveness and lies

Adam was served with the complaint on 6/22/2012 and quickly retained Aaron Kelly and Paul Ticen of the Kelly Warner, PLLC. The Answer was filed on 7/10/2012. Before and after Kelly started representing Adam, both Prenda’s paralegal Mark Lutz and robots were harassing Adam, pushing him to settle.

In addition, the complaint was posted on now defunct Prenda’s website wefightpiracy.com, and that could potentially damage Sekora’s reputation. I don’t know if it did, but unproven allegations can cause a real harm: employers and prospective creditors are reluctant to deal with people involved in litigation, especially when the other party is a pornographer.

Arizona has very strict disclosure rules, maybe the strictest in the country. There is no “hiding the ball,” without putting one’s right to put on evidence at serious risk. So, the defense naturally requested the evidence of “hacking.” Fast forward, no such evidence was ever disclosed: it seems that Prenda/Lightspeed trespassed Adam’s life based only on the recorded IP address, and they did absolutely nothing to further investigate the allegations: a cursory search would immediately show that the IP address in question ran a TOR exit node.

Scared by the mounted defense, Brett Gibbs approached Sekora with a walk-away offer, and was flabbergasted by Adam’s refusal. Immediately after that drunk John Steele called Adam’s attorneys with infamous bragging/threats:

Mr. Steele inquired why my client didn’t accept Plaintiff s settlement proposal and during the course of the conversation I mentioned that Plaintiff is deliberately withholding critical evidence; Mr. Steele responded that they have sufficient numbers of young attorneys” to get “crafty.”

Still not getting necessary evidence, on 11/1/2012 defense filed a motion to compel and for sanctions, and, after Judge’s order, Lightspeed spat out an ostensive piece of evidence: the server logs for the “stolen” username (“rick14”) that Adam purportedly used to access Lightspeed’s smut. It turned out to be questionable though,

CCBill recently produced documents in response to the subpoena clearly showing that the account associated with user name “rick14” was deactivated on November 3, 2004. These records will be disclosed via a supplemental disclosure statement. Surprisingly, this fact was never disclosed nor was it disclosed that the account or this particular user name was reactivated at some point within the following seven years. Further, Lightspeed failed to even disclose what password Mr. Sekora allegedly used to access the website and all password changes made under this username. The password in the CCBill document differs from what was posted online.

By that time it was clear that the entire case is nothing but a bluff.

An amended complaint that removed some of the allegations was filed on 12/12/2012, and the defense answered on 1/9/2013 (I currently don’t have these documents).

Dismissal and judgment

At this time the Coopergate was quickly unfolding, and the entire Prenda train started accelerating towards its inevitable derailment. Seemingly, Prenda was overwhelmed by troubles, and on 5/15/2013 the case was dismissed for lack of prosecution. The defense moved for attorney fees (in the amount of $34,053) on 5/28. I have embedded this motion because it includes a comprehensive history of the case:

 

Plaintiff opposed on 6/11 (you can hear Steele’s snarky and arrogant voice while reading this document), and on 6/21 Ticen filed a resounding reply.

Judge Alfred Fenzel was not moved by Lightspeed’s/Prenda’s lame lawyering, and on 8/5/2013 he ordered the plaintiff to pay $29K (and a 4.25% interest started ticking).

Garnishment

Is anyone surprised that Prenda/Lightspeed simply ignored the debt? I’m not. So, when defense’s patience was finally exhausted, two Writs of Garnishment were issued (to CCBill on 11/7/2013 and to Bank of America on 11/13). Those institutions replied (1, 2): Lightspeed had enough funds to cover the debt, and after the stipulation between the defense and garnishees, judge ordered that

1. Garnishee Defendant Bank of America, N.A. shall turn over $25,939.17 by check payable to “Adam Sekora and Kelly / Warner, PLLC, his attorneys’ of record.”

2. Garnishee Defendant CCBILL, LLC shall turn over $3,577.68 by check payable to “Adam Sekora and Kelly / Warner, PLLC, his attorneys’ of record.”

3. Both Garnishee Defendants shall mail/deliver the check to Kelly / Warner at 8283 North Hayden Road, #229, Scottsdale, Arizona 85258.

This event took place on Thursday, December 5, 2013, exactly two years after Adam’s TOR exit node IP address was recorded by the software that had never been independently scrutinized. Kudos to Sekora and his lawyers for fighting and winning, yet it is worth recalling those innocents who succumbed to threats, fearing for their careers, relationships and community relations.

In Lightspeed Media Corporation v. Smith et al lawsuit (initially St. Clair county, removed to ILSD — 12-cv-00889), Judge Patrick G. Murphy has finally issued a highly anticipated order denying Prenda’s multiple copy-and-paste motions to reconsider his previous order to grant defendant Anthony Smith’s attorney fees. In addition, Comcast’s and AT&T’s motions for attorney fees have been granted as well, resulting in a hefty amount of $261,025.31, payable in 14 days.

Prenda’s fraudulent sophisticated scheme to reap benefits yet avoid liability failed miserably. John Steele, Paul Hansmeier and Paul Duffy are personally liable. Period.

The Court also finds that Duffy, Hansmeier, and Steele exhibited a “serious and studied disregard for the orderly process of justice.” [...] These men have shown a relentless willingness to lie to the Court on paper and in person, despite being on notice that they were facing sanctions in this Court, being sanctioned by other courts, and being referred to state and federal bars, the United States Attorney in at least two districts, one state Attorney General, and the Internal Revenue Service. For example, at the November 13 hearing, Hansmeier skirted the Court’s direct questions, Steele made feigned protestations, and both flat-out lied about their association with Prenda Law, Inc. in the face of documentary evidence on the record in this case, and their sworn declarations in other cases.

The Court has also carefully considered the interrelationship between Duffy, Hansmeier, and Steele. Court finds, that these men acted in concert throughout the entirety of the proceedings in this matter, share total responsibility for their actions, and are jointly and severally liable for the fees and costs of Defendants.

Hat tip to Booth Sweet!

Enjoy!

Media coverage
Prequel
A lot of events are still going on the Prenda front. I almost stopped covering Prenda stories, firstly, because I think that Prenda is mostly done since this spring, and I should refocus my efforts on other trolls; second, because many other people now dig for the information, discuss and cover new events. I’m happy about it. If you want to stay informed, it is better to subscribe to Popeheat’s Prenda stories’ discussion threads: the latest story usually has the most active discussion. And don’t forget to contribute to the Prenda Recap fund (PayPal simality@gmail.com) run by Kat (she checks for new documents twice a day and recaps if there are any). I hope that the TrollWiki project (currently Prenda-only) run by Andrew Norton will mature and become a useful reference resource.

I’ll continue covering the most significant and/or interesting Prenda-related events when I have time.

Motion for sanctions

On 09/09/2013 Cooper’s and Godfread’s counsel Jason Sweet and Erin Russel filed a powerful motion for sanctions in the Prenda v. the Internets (ILND 13-cv-01569). Don’t forget to browse the recapped exhibits. Exhibits A and B are hearing transcripts: I’m sure you’ll find a striking difference (in ethics and professionalism) between Duffy’s and Russel’s dialogues with the judge. Other exhibits are interesting too.

In every conceivable way, Prenda and Duffy have crafted their own doom. Lying to courtofficials, presenting false documents, making material misrepresentations on the record in this Court, filing documents in this Court with full knowledge that they lacked legal merit, pursuinglegal arguments that lack merit, all while under siege by state and federal courts issuing crushing sanctions orders, and at all times following a course of action from which any reasonably prudent attorney would run. [...]

 

First amended counterclaims

On 9/18/2013 an equally powerful amended set of counterclaims has been filed. There are two major parts in this document.

The story

The first part of the document is a new short and concise iteration of the previously told story of Prenda’s theft of Alan Cooper’s identity (and of the subsequent retaliatory lawsuits).

The vermin have built rather a non-linear system of stinky burrows, and this document describes only one cross-section (Cooper- and Godfread-related), purposely leaving out the side stories (even the story related to the very same case — the one that triggered the EFF involvement). I already wrote a plethora of compliments to Jason Sweet, like

[...]as usually, a memo accompanying this motion is an excellent, refined iteration of a guide to Prenda’s shameful history of deception and abuse.

I cannot help repeating myself this time, yet this variant of Prenda’s story is told in a way worthy of mass media attention, beyond tech blogs.

The counterclaims

There are five counts:

  1. Declaratory judgment pursuant to Minnesota Anti-SLAPP immunity;
  2. Invasion of privacy — appropriation;
  3. Civil conspiracy;
  4. Defamation;
  5. Abuse of process.

 

Yes! The brand new counterclaim has been added: defamation. The bizarre nature of this Prenda’s lawsuit has been clear to any honest person: it is Prenda who defamed and harmed Alan Cooper and hundreds and hundreds of other people, damaging their careers, ruining families and relations with neighbors. Not the other way around. It is obvious to anyone that Prenda deliberately entered the libel-proof territory long time ago: you cannot defame a proven crook.