Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Piracy Law Group’

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’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.

 

 

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.

 

I know that the Popehat crowd is sensitive about copyright and encourage linking to their musings rather than copying wholesale (otherwise they couldn’t afford their famously posh living style resulting from the sidebar advertisement commissions). Usually I follow the recommendations, but today I’m going to copy one particular Ken White’s post in its entirety. There are two reasons for that:

  1. The subject of this post: it discusses the event that happened yesterday to yours truly: after reading one of Prenda’s filings (by Jacques Nazaire), I was visited by a fairy who told me to write a personal message to Mr. Nazaire expressing my butthurt disappointment (you’ll understand what I mean by reading along). So I did, and I received a reply shortly.
  2. This reply, published on Twitter, prompted Ken “Popehat” White to write a post, and, unfortunately but not surprisingly, he did it better that I would ever do. So, the same fairy told me: go ahead and copy it, all of it! It’s about you for the God’s sake!

Thus, I consider the inclusion of the entire post from the Popehat blog a fairy use.

 

Team Prenda Is A Classy, Classy Bunch | Popehat

Aug 27, 2013. By Ken White.

All of Popehat’s Prenda coverage is collected here.

It really can’t be easy to be on Team Prenda these days. Hordes of detractors scrutinize your every legal filing. Mean bloggers say embarrassing things about you. The threat of sanctions always looms. A tangled web of legal proceedings across the country complicates your efforts and constantly generates new evidence and assertions.

So, I guess I can see how a Prendarast could lose his cool on occasion.

Take Jacques Nazaire. Nazaire has found the waters in the Prenda lagoon to be unstill and unpleasant. Craigslist court appearances never generate such negative attention. It’s enough to make a man go off on a rant about a witness or launch an ill-conceived detour about gay marriage or rend his garments and bewail how posts by mean blogers “lead to anger.”

So: when Mr. Nazaire asked a Georgia federal judge to quash some subpoenas calculated to uncover facts about Team Prenda, it is perhaps understandable that he indulged in a little dig at his detractors:

In addition to the facial defects of the subpoenas, these subpoenas should be quashed because the “Google” and “Comcast” subpoenas are issued for the sole purpose of gathering information of third parties and the undersigned and putting them in display on such websites as “techdirt”, “dietrolldie” and “Popehat”.

Actually, I suspect that the purpose of the subpoenas is to gather evidence to test the theory that Team Prenda, far from being a victim of piracy of pornographic videos, deliberately posted the videos on piracy sites to attract downloaders in a scheme to manufacture copyright violation claims. Watch this space for a discussion of the legal significance of that theory.

Anyway, Mr. Nazaire’s gripe was banal and unsurprising — but also rudely exclusionary. How could he have forgotten the site Fight Copyright Trolls, one of the most steadfast foes of Team Prenda? The proprietor of Fight Copyright Trolls wanted to know, too. So he wrote Mr. Nazaire, and got a response. And such a response!

Dear Mr. Nazaire,

In 2:12-cv-00262-WCO Document 68 (filed 08/26/13) you wrote:

10. In addition to the facial defects of the subpoenas, these subpoenas should be quashed because the “Google” and “Comcast” subpoenas are issued for the sole purpose of gathering information of third parties and the undersigned and putting them in display on such websites as “techdirt”, “dietrolldie” and “Popehat.”

I cannot express the extent of emotional distress this paragraph caused to the undersigned. You mentioned three of the major resources that cover Prenda, but failed to include my “fightcopyrighttrolls.” FYI, while my blog is not the oldest, it has the most extensive coverage of the Prenda soap opera: if you navigate to the “Prenda” tag (http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/category/clans/prenda/), you will find 122 posts, not to mention numerous informative pages. Thus, not including “fightcopyrighttrolls” where it belongs is offensive and scandalous.

Please govern yourself accordingly and refrain from hurting my feelings in the future.

Very truly yours,

SJD

Quoth Mr. Nazaire in response:

I like your Mom. She’s a nice lady but not so good in the sack. I guess she has too much mileage on that poon.

Tsk Tsk Tsk. All worn out.

You think that you are funny, huh?

How’s that for funny?

Now, insulting somebody’s mother is a venerable rhetorical device. It can be a stylized vehicle for creativity, as in a yo’ momma competition, where it’s not actually about any real person. (The geeky ones are the best. “Yo momma so fat, her patronus is a Ding Dong.”) It can be delivered to inflame with some degree of style. (“I wrote a paragraph about your blog, SJD, but I left it on your mother’s nightstand.”) But it can also fall flat and just sound creepy and angry and needy. So it has here.

For someone who spends so much of his time angry, you would think that Mr. Nazaire would be better at it.

 

 

Daniel Ruggiero, Prenda’s local in the Eastern states, filed dozens of cases on behalf of Prenda’s fake plaintiffs. Today he submitted a curious motion to withdraw (without substitution) as Plaintiff’s counsel in AF Holdings, LLC v. Chowdhury (MAD 12-cv-12105), one of the two cases Prenda couldn’t easily dismiss because the counterclaims are pending (hat tip to Booth Sweet). In this motion Ruggiero plays a gullible attorney, who did not know that “Prenda” is a synonym of “Fraud” and suddenly wakes up:

The undersigned had absolutely no prior knowledge of any of the findings of Judge Wright and the additional findings of Judge Chen.

Once I became aware of the “on goings” of AF Holdings and the others mentioned in his decision, I reached out to speak with someone about it. I received a phone call from someone who claimed to be Mark Lutz. It is my understanding that Mr. Lutz is the owner of Plaintiff, but to be honest, I have no idea what to believe.

While I share Daniel Ruggiero’s sentiments regarding Mark Lutz, I don’t believe in Daniel’s sincerity: either he is a cynical hypocrite or he has an IQ of… to not figure out Prenda’s “on goings” much earlier. Well, neither conclusion is flattering.

 

There are rumors that Ruggiero has 99 problems with Massachusetts’ Bar, and Prenda ain’t one. Thus, I wouldn’t worry too much: justice will be served one way or another. In addition, by throwing his former bosses under the bus, Ruggiero has finally done something useful that will heal one or two bruises on his abused Karma.

In other news

Prenda’s/Anti Piracy Law Group‘s site wefightpiracy.com / wefightpiracy.org now redirects to Google. Good riddance. Fightcopyrighttrolls.com and dietrolldie.com are alive and well.

Update

8/21/2013
Judge Joseph L. Tauro Endorsed ORDER entered — Allowed 22 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Daniel G. Ruggiero terminated. 

Ruggiero has dodged the bullet.


Mark Lutz

This guy harassed tens of thousands over the phone during the past two years. Mark Colins Lutz, Prenda’s paralegal, used to call victims telling them that they had broken the law — either the copyright law or the CFAA. Sometimes he used his real name, sometimes he did not identify himself, sometimes used a bogus name Jeff Schultz.

Note that, to put it politely, Mark is not exactly a person who has a moral right to lecture others about the law violations: prior to becoming a Prenda’s goon, Mark worked as an insurance salesman in Illinois and used to break the law there.

On 7/29/1997 Lutz was speeding under influence in Park Forest, IL, which resulted in his arrest. He was charged with four counts:

 

According to the documents linked above, the arrest warrant is still open.

Since this episode happened a long time ago, I believe Mark had another problems with the law more recently: his driving license was apparently revoked/suspended: on 11/27/2006 he was caught driving on revoked license. A warrant for this case is also active, according to the county website.

But that’s not all: Mark was apparently caught driving without license in Cook County, IL, as well, and the warrant, issued on 9/12/2007 (a nice 30th birthday gift!) is still active (according to the Will county circuit court website):

 

Other Mark’s shenanigans include:

  • 04/29/1997 — Milwaukee county, WI: open (according to the county site) arrest warrant for
    • Criminal damage to property;
    • Disorderly conduct;
    • Possession of controlled substance.
  • 08/05/1997 — Park Forest, IL: Resisting peace officer (warrant not extended, quashed on 9/13/01 – 25th birthday gift was more pleasant than the one mentioned above).
  • 05/07/2007 — DuPage County, IL: caught driving without license. This case is resolved — a judgment was issued, I don’t have any idea if the fee was paid.
  • 7/13/2008 — Zionsville, IN: Possession of marijuana (warrant status is unknown: waiting for information).
  • Early January 2013: troubles with law in Mexico.

 

So, to the best of my knowledge, at least four arrest warrants are still open (one Cook and two Will county warrants in IL and one in Milwaukee county, WI), which means that Mark Lutz is a wanted fugitive and may be arrested if he shows up in the counties that want him.

Currently, Mark Lutz resides in Miami Beach, Florida, and his last known address is here — even if he moved since then, authorities still can track and arrest him, but… according to a criminal lawyer I consulted with,

It is up to the state that wants him whether he has to come back. So Florida could detain him, call IL and they might say “not worth the $25K to extradite, cut him loose.”

…which is, alas, the most likely scenario. Things would be different if Mark was not a poor call center guy, but a wealthy person who could pay a bail — a CEO of a company that operates a nationwide business, for example, or a father of an offshore trust beneficiary.

Nonetheless, I hope this information will be remembered when Lutz is summoned to an Illinois Court. Not that I believe he will appear, but notifying US Marshals still makes sense.

As you know from the previous posts here and a never-ending Popehat thread, after four clowns (Steele, Paul and Peter Hansmeiers, Mark Lutz) unwisely submitted frivolous motions claiming that they were not properly served by the opposition in the “Star Trek” case (and demanding sanctions against Pietz and Ranallo), Judge Wright set a hearing on these motions to this Friday, July 12. In the meantime, Pietz and Ranallo have lawyered up and delivered a sledgehammer response.

It was not unexpected that Steele would ask the Court to appear telephonically, and he did ask to appear by phone without specifying the phone (no email was provided either — only a Regus virtual office address):

 

Equally not unexpectedly, this motion was denied almost immediately:

 

Note that according to the order, the clerk did not advise Steele to file this motion while he claimed just the opposite.


If I close my eyes, there will be
no Wright, no Pietz, no Ranallo…

Now, we are all used to Steele’s lies, nothing is surprising anymore, except maybe the fact that John chose the most self-destructing path to go. Maybe he still thinks it’s a poker game and there is a room for bluff? But is he the only one who doesn’t see that mirrors are everywhere, and everyone knows that his cards are crap?

Claiming that he was not aware of the hearing prior to Monday? Bullshit: I know, John, you check our blogs and Twitter a couple of times a day and learn the news in real time. Who will believe you? This is the most important case in your life: many things, including your freedom, are at stake. While I called you derogatory names, I always thought that your IQ is above average, but seeing your latest actions, I have started to doubt it.

Now, a poll:

 

Media coverage
  • ArsTechnica: Prenda’s motion to reduce $238,000 appeal bond falls flat by Joe Mullin. I liked one reader comment in particular. AaronLeeR wrote:

    “[S]everal of the pro se persons in this matter are of limited income and cannot afford the extreme financial hardship associated with missing work and flying across the country on 3 days notice.”

    Financial hardships didn’t seem to be a concern when they were extorting people for cash. What goes around….

  • 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.

    Over the previous week Prenda continued to broadcast its last season of the soap opera. In particular, two events have been covered by the media:

    • A batch of new filings in the famous Ingenuity 13 v John Doe (the “Star Trek” case — CACD 12-cv-8333), where four clowns (John Steele, Paul and Peter Hansmeiers, and Mark Lutz) filed motions complaining that they were not served properly, essentially (and, in the Lutz’s case, literally) accusing Morgan Pietz and Nick Ranallo of fraud (wow!).
    • At the same time but in another case, Nick Ranallo, whom John Steele once called “underemployed lawyer trolling for business,” moved for sanctions against John Steele and Paul Hansmeier personally — to preemptively deal with the problem of extracting fees from Prenda’s shell corporations, which are de-facto judgment-proof. Unlike the farcical movements in the Wright’s case, a must-read Ranallo’s motion is dead serious, it contains all the instances of Penda’s wrongdoings, and it is complemented by Brett Gibbs’s declaration in support of sanctions (wow #2!).

    These two events in their ironical contrast were nicely covered by ArsTechnica and TechDirt, so I won’t waste time trying to re-tell quite obvious commentaries (don’t neglect the readers’ comments).

     

    One significant Prenda-related episode has been left out: there was a hearing in the AF Holdings v. Patel (GAND 12-cv-00262), where Blair Chintella, one of the first original Doe defenders, has been firmly standing against Prenda, opposing its cowardly move to flee — to dismiss the case with prejudice on 3/18/2013 — after it became clear that this particular extortion attempt had failed. Instead of letting the villains go unpunished, Chintella filed a comprehensive motion for sanctions. Naturally, Steele/Hansmeier did not like it, and what followed made this case probably one of the most entertaining Prenda’s shows (to the extent you can separate the grief of the victims from the good, healing and disinfectant laugh). Prenda’s local — The Best Of Craigslist Attorney 2012 winner Jacque Nazaire — filed motions featuring all kinds of bizarre arguments ranging from equating EFF to a “terrorist organization” to arguing that Judge Wrghts’s order is irrelevant because California allows gay marriage and because Anonymous attacked PayPal. It was the case where Mark Lutz claimed under influence oath that “Salt Marsh” is not an individual but a trust that benefits Mark’s unborn children.

    Below is Chintella’s press release regarding the July 3 hearing. It is pretty self-explanatory; I only want to stress two most important points (in my opinion):

    • Court granted discovery to the defendant, and that is huge. I hope Blair Chintella will use all his skills to pierce Prenda’s shell game down to its core. Prenda is not dead yet, and opening another discovery front for sure will be cheered by tens of thousands of Prenda’s extortion targets.
    • Prenda via Nazaire went to great (popcorn-laden) lengths to shield this Court from the bigger picture, yet Blair was firm and it paid off: initially reluctant to go beyond this case’s scope, Judge William C. O’Kelley has finally made a note of the nationwide scam and expressed serious concerns.

     

     

    As indicated in the release, Andrew Norton was at the hearing ready to testify as an expert witness, but was not called. Here is his detailed report, somewhat long but worth your time.

    Update

    10/24/2013

    Below is the corrected press release by Blair Chintella:

     

    In other news

    One more notable Prenda-related event from the last week: David Harris, a pro se defendant from Arizona, filed a nice motion for Equitable Estoppel and Show Cause Order.

    For the aforementioned reasons Defendant request this Honorable Court to Order Plaintiff to Show Cause why this Court should not forward the information in this Motion to the United States Attorney for the District of Arizona for Criminal Prosecution of Plaintiff for the charge of Criminal Copyright Infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. §506(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319 a Federal Five Year Felony.

    Many people welcomed Mr. Harris’s change of tone: previously he was criticized for rude language directed not only at the troll, but also at the judge, yet even the harsh critics agreed that in the essence Harris was always right. DieTrollDie has been following this case closely.