Posts Tagged ‘Fraud’

There is a case lingering in the ILND, Ingenuity 13 v Bradley Hellyer (12-cv-06131). The defendant represents himself, and he answered the complaint, even included some counterclaims. I believe that Prenda would be happy to get rid of this lawsuit, but it can’t do it easily since the complaint has been answered. Just last week the plaintiff managed to get the counterclaims dismissed; dismissing the entire lawsuit is much easier now.

After the March 11 hearing in Judge Wright’s chambers, Prenda filed many “notices of allegations” in AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 cases. Duffy explained that the reason for these filings was his wide known candor and honesty. Nonetheless, note that no notice was filed in this case. In my opinion, the judge on this case, Judge Joan Lefkof, is lenient to trolls, but I can be wrong, just a gut feeling. The dismissal of counterclaims has nothing to do with this, though: those counterclaims were indeed weak: the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss was well written (if one wouldn’t know the circumstances).

Therefore, in light of the damning Judge Wright’s Order, the likelihood of winning legal fees is rather high, so I believe this is a great opportunity for an Illinois-licensed attorney to chime in and represent Bradley pro bono. Even if collecting potential fee awards is arguably problematic, there is a certain value in having a favorable judgment in a lawyer’s portfolio. This is not only my opinion, an attorney thinks the same way:

 

To be clear, defendant never contacted me or anyone I know, it was not his initiative.

Saying that judges rarely use words “incarceration,” “fraud,” “automatic bench warrant” in an order to show cause would be an understatement. Nonetheless, Judge Otis Wright did just that in Ingenuity v. Jon Doe (CACD 12-cv-08333). Tired of apparent Prenda Law’s fraudulent activities, he ordered its counsel Brett Gibbs to explain his and his law firm’s behavior at a hearing set for March 11. Additionally, he allowed parties (Brett Gibbs and Morgan Pietz) to file briefs before February 19. A deposition of Prenda by Morgan Pietz was set to proceed on the same date.

Brett Gibbs tries to play a pity card, points finger at “Prenda senior people”

Copyright troll Brett Gibbs

A couple of hours before the deadline, Brett Gibbs filed his declaration through a newly hired law firm Waxler Carner Brodsky LLP, which has been “primarily defending lawyers in malpractice actions.” Although it was a relatively wise move (akin to an old lawyer’s saying that “a lawyer who represents himself in a court has a fool for a client”), the result was a pile of horse manure that does not pass a common sense scrutiny. The funny thing is that this spectacular failure does not characterize Gibbs’s defenders, it’s just too much lying to explain: no star attorney is capable of coming up with a credible story painting Gibbs an innocent kid deceived by evil grown-ups.

Regardless, the main huge news is that Brett has given up his stubborn loyalty and has started pointing his finger at Prenda’s “senior members” (Paul Hansmeier and John Steele):

I am and have never had an ownership interest in the copyrights involved in the Copyright Litigations. As discussed in greater detail below, I did not make strategic decisions like whether to file actions, who to sue, and whether to make a certain settlement demand or accept an offer of settlement in the Copyright Litigations. These types of decisions were made by the clients, after consulting with senior members of the law firms that employed me in an “of counsel” relationship.
[...]

I have never had a financial or fiduciary (i.e., ownership) interest in AF Holdings. AF Holdings was a client of S&H and then Prenda. The face-to-face and direct interactions between S&H and later Prenda with AF Holdings were handled by the senior members of the law firms and not me.
[...]

I have never met Alan Cooper, and do not know what the extent of Mr. Cooper’s role is in AF Holdings aside from seeing a signature from an “Alan Cooper” on the copyright assignments and pleadings.
[...]

I first became aware of a question regarding the identity of Alan Cooper when it was raised by Mr. Pietz.
[...]

I confirmed the existence of the client-executed verification either by seeing a copy of the signed verification, or at the very least, being informed by a representative of S&H or Prenda that a signed verification was in the possession of S & H or Prenda.

The explanation of the reason how Alan Copper’s fraudulent signature was verified by Gibbs and why he failed to present the original is simply stunning. Sure, it is a credible and sufficient reasoning that will clear Mr. Brett’s name so he will avoid sanctions:

In Case No. 84, Mr. Pietz first asked for a copy of Mr. Cooper’s verification to the petition to perpetuate testimony on or about December 2012, well after the petition had been discharged. Given the length of time since the case was discharged, I was informed and understand that S&H (and later Prenda) no longer has a copy of Mr. Cooper’s verification to the petition to perpetuate testimony.

Just a week earlier Steele and Hansmeier decided to delegate Gibbs’s responsibilities to Michael Dugas. After two and half years of collaboration, they have thrown Brett under the bus, so no surprise that his loyalty has evaporated quickly.

I’ll leave it to a reader to go through unconvincing excuses, which are not as entertaining as those that another troll’s mob mastermind, Keith Lipscomb, poured on Judge Baylson last fall.

 


Click to enlarge

[2/21/2013 update] It is not remotely funny anymore that Brett (to whom we already gave an honorable nickname “Pinocchio”) is lying without even thinking about the possibility of anyone doing some basic fact checking. Here is an example (thanks to a commenter for noticing):

From Gibbs’s declaration:

31. In addition, in order to rule out neighbors of the 1411 Paseo Jacaranda, Santa Maria, California 93458 location utilizing the internet connection, I performed a Google map search and obtained a satellite picture of the corner house located at 1411 Paseo Jacaranda, Santa Maria, California 93458. A further public search revealed that the house was approximately 1,200 sq. ft. which sat on a 6,534 sq. ft. lot. Considering the position of the house on the lot, and its position away from the neighboring houses, it seemed clear that, should the household have wireless internet, it would not have been accessible by the neighbors.

Alright. A typical wireless range is from 50 to 100 m. Look at the map: green circle’s radius is 50 m, and yellow — 100 m. So we are talking about 10-30 households capable of utilizing the wireless connection in question.

Can’t help noticing another funny argument in Gibbs’s declaration:

[...] the inconsistency did not prevent a prima facie showing of copyright ownership because the law only requires the assignment to he signed by the assignor. Given the court’s finding that the copyright assignment in Case No. 3335 was prima facie valid despite an issue regarding whether the assignee had properly executed the assignment. I had and have a good faith belief that the assignments in Case No. 6636 and 6669 are valid despite any alleged issue regarding the identity of Alan Cooper.

Or, as scruuball translated it to Twitter’s 140,

It doesn’t matter that we forged a signature, because we didn’t need it in the first place! Hah!

To our surprise, there is a certificate of AF Holdings’ incorporation, but the quality of the copy is poor, and I’m afraid that given St. Kitts’ secrecy laws, there is no way to validate that it is authentic. Even if it is real, this does not negate the fact that AF Holdings is a shell entity “owned” by Prenda. Note that nothing of this kind was presented for another fraudulent entity, Ingenuity 13.

The fact that Brett Gibbs has lawyered up has more significance: it will be easier for him to cut a deal with an Attorney General and (relatively) save his ass while allowing putting the major culprits behind the bars.

Morgan Pietz replies to Judge Wright’s OSC. One word: “Wow”

Defendant’s attorney Morgan Pietz had just an hour to review Gibbs’s weaselspeak. Admittedly, Morgan wrote the bulk of his response in advance, but still he managed to add thorough debunking of Gibbs’s whining. It’s impossible to pull pieces from this document, it is a must read from the first line to the last. It has is all: a long history of Prenda’s crookery, calling out lies and contradictions in Gibbs’s declaration, examples of more identity theft, damning revelations during the deposition of Paul Hansmeier (who, like a “boss” in an action computer game, appeared in the last episode).

I only want to quote the beautiful conclusion (links supplied):

The conduct of Prenda and its “of counsel” Mr. Gibbs in these cases undermines the integrity of the courts and the public’s confidence in the justice system. Here, Prenda has shown is that it is willing to do just about anything to obtain grist for its national “settlement” mill. Repeatedly, in hundreds of actions filed in courts across the country, Prenda has resorted to misrepresentations, halftruths, and questionable tactics, if not outright fraud, forgery, and identity theft. Until now, Prenda has gotten away with quite a lot of these kinds of tactics because it simply abandons its lawsuits, via a voluntary dismissal, after obtaining subpoena returns, and some settlements. Indeed, as noted above, Mr. Gibbs is already at it again, now sending out demand letters on behalf of Guava, LLC, which is now purportedly owned by Livewire Holdings, LLC not a mystery trust. Exactly who is responsible for the worst of Prenda’s actions here may not yet be clear, but this is the archetypical type of case, where there is a pattern of bad action that is done in such a way to avoid scrutiny, where a major sanctions is appropriate as a deterrent. This Court is urged not to go easy on Mr. Gibbs or Prenda Law.

 

Many paragraphs in this brief deserve separate posts, and sure we will continue shedding the light on Prenda and its epic downfall until the fraudsters cease their criminal activity and are severely punished.

Followup
Media coverage

A copyright troll attorney Brett Gibbs continues avoiding questions about the alleged identity theft — after his attempt to remove Judge Wright from the case has failed.

Today DieTrollDie posted an update about yesterday’s dismissal: Brett Gibbs dismissed Ingenuity 13 v. John Doe (CACD 12-cv-08333) pending before Judge Wright. I tweeted about it chuckling at the fact that a miserable attorney couldn’t avoid whining even in a dismissal notice… and forgot about it — until I was pointed to the fact that this is the same case where Judge Wright granted Morgan Pietz’s discovery that supposed to shed some light on the mysterious AF Holdings / Ingenuity 13 CEO Alan Cooper.

Given the fact that Judge Wright has dismissed all but two AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 cases pending before him, for example, 12-cv-05709, 12-cv-06659, 12-cv-06636, 12-cv-06664 (I will update this post later and list all the cases), and has not dismissed this particular case, yesterday’s dismissal by Gibbs is a douchebaggery at its zenith: it is a brazen attempt to avoid answering the damning questions right after the failure of another attempt to do it by removing Judge Wright from the case.

 

Brett Gibbs has just incriminated himself beyond a reasonable doubt.

I hope that Judge Wright will not leave this insult to his intelligence unpunished. I do not expect that he will allow this case to be closed. [Update: I’m not correct — see a lawyer’s opinion at the bottom.]

 

 

Update

It’s even more interesting: the very same day Gibbs attempted to dismiss the case, Judge Wright issues an order that directs parties to prepare a joint conference statement and discusses conference dates, all related to Alan Cooper interrogatories. This indicates the seriousness of judge’s resolution to dig to the bottom of this issue, and Gibbs’s dismissal looks even pettier in light of this order:

 

I asked an attorney a question if Judge Wright has a power to stop the dismissal. Here is his reply:

No, but the Judge retains authority/jurisdiction as to all remaining collateral issues such as sanctions as well as potential inappropriate conduct of counsel/parties. I believe that since the discovery order was issued after the dismissal, it is likely that the Court sees the dismissal as potentially motivated to hide inappropriate conduct or even perjury etc… Technically the judge could still allow discovery on the Alan Cooper issue or even order Gibbs or Steele or even “Alan Cooper” to appear and testify. If they refuse, the court can invoke its plenary contempt power. That’s when the ____ hits the fan.

It is well established that “federal court[s] may consider collateral issues after an action is no longer pending, including an award of attorney’s fees.” Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Engida, 611 F.3d 1209, 1218 (10th Cir. Colo. 2010) (citing Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496 U.S. 384, 395, (1990) (holding that “nothing in the language of Rule 41(a)(1)(i), Rule 11, or other statute or Federal Rule terminates a district court’s authority to impose sanctions after such a dismissal”).

While Dan Booth and Jason Sweet are currently involved in multiple battles with Prenda’s local goon and swindler Daniel Ruggiero in their home state of Massachusetts, sometimes the defenders move their troops to other states.

Friday’s Connecticut campaign delivered an (un)expected strike in AF Holdings LLC v. Elliot Olivias (MAD 12-cv-01401). The heroes and villains are the same, plus a local CT attorney Frances Codd Slusarz on our side.

As usually, it is easy to feature Booth Sweet’s pleadings: neither translation nor annotation necessary. Just skip the legal mumbo-jumbo “defendant denies the allegation in paragraph…,” have a quick look at 23 (!) affirmative defenses on pages 5-9, and proceed to slowly enjoying the counterclaims on page 10. There are four of them:

  1. Declaratory judgment on non-infringement
  2. Abuse of process
  3. Copyright misuse
  4. Defamation

 

It is worth noting that prior to this Answer no one (to the best of my knowledge) attacked one particular link in the chain of fraud — the fact that in many AF Holdings lawsuits, including this one, the copyright assignee is not “AF Holdings” but a mysterious non-party “AF Films,” hence AF Holdings has no standing to sue:

Plaintiff provides contrary information to its standing in the Complaint. Plaintiff includes with the Complaint the “Certificate of Registration” from the United States Copyright Office for “Sexual Obsession,” which lists that the author and copyright claimant as Heartbreaker Films in California. ECF No. 1-2. However, the assignee signing the agreement is AF Films, LLC, which is not a party to this case.

In fact, the concept of “standing” is not applicable to ghosts, so I propose to replace standing by levitation: “AF Holidngs has no levitation to sue.” I urge Jason to incorporate my proposal in the next pleading v. AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13, Guava, LW Systems and other corporations run by ghosts.

After Prenda’s Brett Gibbs filed a palmface-inducing motion to disqualify Judge Write with an obvious goal to further delay the inevitable exposure of a fraud, the matter was referred to Judge Michael W Fitzgerald for determination.

On 1/3/2013 Morgan Pietz filed a request for leave to file an opposition to plaintiff’s motion for disqualification.

On 1/7/2013 Gibbs replied, further embarrassing himself. The reply was so amusing that it has prompted the articles on ArsTechnica and TechDirt today. In what amounts to be a definition of “irony,” Gibbs questioned the existence of Pietz’s client (as if the plaintiff, Ingenuity 13, is not a brazen fake):

Mr. Pietz has demonstrated repeated hostility toward Plaintiff and toward the undersigned, and, as such, would have sufficient motive to interfere with Plaintiff’s cases without the formality of actually having a client involved in the instant litigation. For the reasons contained herein, the “putative John Doe in 2:12-cv-08333-ODW-JC” could be an invention of Mr. Pietz, and Mr. Pietz should thus be required to submit evidence that he actually represents the individual whom he claims to represent.

 

Honestly, I understand why you, Brett, are so nervous. Given that the Coopergate will not go away, I would constantly be on the verge of a nervous breakdown if I had the same plans for this year as you have. Yet you cannot delay the inevitable all the way to April. Let it go: the earlier the better — for everyone, including you. Leave Prenda, tell the truth both to the public and to the people you care about: do not underestimate the power of remorse. I do not have a slightest doubt that your masters will betray you when the real heat reaches them. Protecting these scumbags is beyond ridiculous in these circumstances.

Followup
Media coverage

I intended to enjoy the New Year eve with family, friends and champagne. I postponed some really explosive news till tomorrow (and I promise some fireworks!)¹, but this one just knocked me out. I strolled to the kitchen, looked into the fridge, checked my wine rack: no, I did not drink anything yet. Nonetheless, the following is simply surreal.

To understand the desperation that caused Gibbs’s mega-hysteria and unambiguous admission of the offshore fraud, read my Friday’s post (which, by the way, was featured on the front page of slashdot.org).

Sorry for breaking these news at this time. Normal people try to find peace in their souls on the New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year, normal people! It is painfully clear that the next New Year we will celebrate without thinking about the crooks if they continue to stay on the path of self-destruction (which we, naturally, hardly regret).

Unbelievable.

 

Featured comments
  • 89 Year Old Defender on December 31, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Poor misunderstood Brett. I actually began shedding a tear for a brief moment, then realized it was only an allergic reaction to the text of the Motion. Years ago, I developed an aversion to courtroom lawyer games and lying litigants.

    To my friends on this blog, and elsewhere, this garbage Motion to Disqualify Judge Wright is an act of pure desperation, and I predict Mr. Pietz will pulverize him. The only reason I can think of for him filing such an outrageous Motion is to try and set the stage for an appeal. In fact, the “I know I’m gonna lose this one, but don’t you worry, I’ll appeal” thing is written all over it. Gibbs is nothing less than screwed, and he knows it.

    On Page One: “Of Counsel to Prenda Law, Inc.” — he forgot to mention Prenda’s status with the Secretary of State. Oops.

    …and throughout the pleadings otherwise, he actually spells out exactly what the plaintiffs have been doing, and then blames the judge for calling him on it. Utterly astounding. “Look, Judge Wright, you’re saying we do all these mean and nasty things (which are all true) so now you’re biased against us.” Yeah, no shit Gibbs, you’re a walking talking liar machine. No one believes you anymore, and frankly I’m surprised anyone ever did.

    I await patiently for the Opposition that is filed to this one. I can only imagine how it will look and what will be on it. Mr. Pietz, the ball is in your court. I know you won’t disappoint us.

  • Anonymous on 2012/12/31 at 8:40 pm

    Don’t be so modest SJD, any tale of Troll woe will only warm the heart of a Doe, no matter what day of the year. Watching Gibbs fall further into despair as he contemplates the coming loss of his freedom sounds like a great way to ring in the new year, and while I have been teetotaling recently and was considering abstaining this evening, I may just have to raise a toast to Brett Langdon Gibbs’ Fear.

    While motions to disqualify may be common, I would be surprised if they are usually so personal, insulting, and hysterical. Like all Gibbs’ recent filings, this is a massive rambling blob with very little stating of his case. If there are inconsistencies and apparent biases on Judge Wright’s part, simply state them and get on with it. Considering this is Gibbs’ home territory more or less (although CAND is where most of his cases have been filed), and CAND lead the nation in putting down mass-Doe cases, this is not a diplomatic argument and I don’t see how Gibbs can believe filing this will be of long-term positive benefit to his litigation plans in Northern and Central California when he is already on the defensive. That leaves us to suspect that he is on the ragged edge of despair, making the Alan Cooper question all that more urgent and suspicious, as Prenda is clearly willing to do anything and everything to avoid simply providing Plaintiff’s contact information!

    I’ll say it again, thinking about Brett Langdon Gibbs desperately puking out this garbage on New Year’s Eve makes my year, this is truly a great New Year’s gift and sends 2012 out on a positive note for me. He deserves all the fear and paranoia he is feeling right now; I wish the grief he has caused Does back on him one hundredfold, and I hope that as he goes deeper into despair, there is some remaining piece of a human soul that realizes this is what he has been inflicting on others for the last two years.

    I hope he has a miserable New Year’s and that next year becomes the worst year of his life.

    Happy New Year Does. This one is shaping up nicely before it even starts!

  • Anonymous on 2013/01/01 at 9:24 pm

    Sure, that would be great [a reply to another commenter who noted that "Court should order the “Plaintiffs” to prove the validity of their existence and registrations by documentary production"]. The problem is unless and until Prenda is the subject of a criminal investigation, or a judge pins them to the wall and simply refuses to let them run, Does and their attorneys are stuck doing the investigative work.

    I think we are close to Prenda getting busted by the authorities, but until then it remains to be seen if this or any judge will prevent them from just dismissing this case and running away without having to answer the revealing questions. I’m honestly surprised that Gibbs is pushing his luck this far, of course dismissing the case after discovery of Cooper’s identity was allowed would be super-suspicious, but this is suspicious as well and it risks the wrath of this judge and every other judge in his District and perhaps elsewhere. Judges talk, and CAND and CACD can already smell Gibbs coming, so the more suspicious his behavior and the more obvious it becomes that he is hiding something about these plaintiffs the greater the risk that a judge will alert the guys who WILL find out WTF is going on. Gibbs and Steele must be really desperate with this one, because between this and the motions for security Doe defenders have a strategy that blocks Prenda operations in CA.

    I expected this case to be dismissed immediately after Pietz’ discovery request was granted, so this continuing train wreck is a delightful surprise. But the real test of Judge Wright and the judicial system will come when Gibbs’ latest brilliant plan is inevitably dropkicked into the garbage, and Prenda tries to dismiss the case and weasel out of discovery. Then we will see whether Judge Wright is on to them.

Followups
Media coverage

 


¹Update 1/1/2013: I meant this news, admittedly I exaggerated the explosiveness, but still…

It is getting more and more interesting. Readers of this blog (as well as Arstechnica’s and TechDirt’s communities) are well aware of the “Coopergate” — the ongoing controversy regarding a Minnesota resident, former John Steele’s caretaker Alan Cooper, who, through his counsel, articulated a grave concern that his name might be used as a CEO of two Prenda’s offshore shell corporations, Ingenuity 13 and AF Holdings, without his consent and even knowledge. These two Prenda’s “clients” filed more than 250 shakedown lawsuits across the US. I used quotation marks because those “clients” are widely believed to be fictional, Righthaven-style entities, mere façades that John Steele and Paul Hansmeier created for their firm — created with a sole goal of filing lawsuits against alleged file-sharers and then wrestling them into settling, using deception and intensive harassment¹.

Two California attorneys, Nick Ranallo and Morgan Pietz, have been drawing various judges’ attention to this troubling development. Morgan Pietz, in his motion to relate similar cases, asked Prenda’s California counsel, Brett Gibbs, very straight, no-nonsense questions aimed at resolving this controversy:

  1. Is there another Alan Cooper, other than the gentleman in Minnesota who was John Steele’s former caretaker, who is or was the principal of AF Holdings, LLC and/or Ingenuity 13, LLC?;
  2. Will plaintiff’s counsel Brett Gibbs produce the original signature to the verified petition, supposedly executed by hand by “Alan Cooper” and notarized, which Mr. Gibbs stated, under penalty of perjury, that he has a copy of in his own possession and control? See In the Matter of a Petition by Ingenuity 13, LLC, E.D. Cal. Case No. 2:11-mc-JAM-DAD, ECF No. 1, 10/28/11;
  3. Will Mr. Gibbs identify his client contact at Ingenuity 13 and AF Holdings, given that Mr. Gibbs purported to speak with his “client” at Ingenuity 13 only two weeks ago?

Simple questions, and if there was another Cooper, they would be already answered, and the entire ordeal would be forgotten by today. Instead, Brett Gibbs became hysterical and reacted with a series of tantrums that I covered in detail:

Gibbs went even as far as filing a surprisingly frivolous motion for sanctions. This action raised some brows among attorneys: such a motion, full of baseless farcical allegations was destined to be denied. For example, Gibbs alleged that Morgan Pietz had tried to gain publicity and attract clients by secretly feeding this blog with publicly available documents. Of course, this motion was denied by Judge Wright without a single word of explanation.

On 12/14/2012, tired of Gibb’s games, Morgan Pietz filed an ex parte application for leave to take limited discovery prior to rule 26(f) conference regarding Alan Cooper and to stay subpoena in one of the Ingenuity 13 v. John Doe cases, 2012-cv-04976. He clearly explained the rationale:

[...]very recently, deeply troubling factual allegations have been made which suggest the plaintiff is engaged in a widespread and systemic fraud on the Courts affecting thousands of ISP subscribers. Specifically, very troubling questions have been raised as to whether Prenda Law, Inc., has misappropriated the identity of one Mr. Alan Cooper of Minnesota, holding him out in verified federal court filings as the principal of plaintiff Ingenuity 13, a shell entity organized in St. Kitts and Nevis, without Mr. Cooper’s knowledge or consent. Further, the circumstances seem to suggest that the plaintiff’s lawyers behind this action, Prenda Law, Inc. and/or John Steele, may be the real—but undisclosed—parties in interest in this case. For weeks, undersigned counsel, and others, have sought answers from Prenda Law, Inc. and its clients AF Holdings, LLC and Ingenuity 13, LLC, to try and put these concerns to rest. None of the answers proffered to date have been at all reassuring; to the extent Prenda has engaged on the issue at all, the only answers provided have been evasive to a degree that is almost comical.

To be honest, I did not put much hope in the success of this motion, yet to our cheerful surprise, it was granted by Judge Otis Wright.

Of course, I expect more tantrums and baseless accusations from the crooks in a futile attempt to avoid the inevitable, but this time I’m nearly sure that the judge means business and won’t allow Prenda to weasel out. It means that the following questions will be answered:

  1. Other than the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread, is there another Alan Cooper who is currently the principal of Ingenuity 13, LLC — yes or no?
  2. If the answer to the first interrogatory is yes, state all contact information for this Alan Cooper, including current home address, business address, and telephone number.
  3. Other than the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread, was there ever another Alan Cooper who was, in the past, the principal of Ingenuity 13, LLC — yes or no?
  4. If the answer to the third interrogatory is yes, state all contact information for this Alan Cooper, including all known home addresses, business addresses, and telephone numbers.
  5. Other than the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread, is there another Alan Cooper who is currently the principal of AF Holdings, LLC — yes or no?
  6. If the answer to the fifth interrogatory is yes, state all contact information for this Alan Cooper, including current home address, business address, and telephone number.
  7. Other than the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread, was there ever another Alan Cooper who was, in the past, the principal of AF Holdings, LLC — yes or no?
  8. If the answer to the seventh interrogatory is yes, state all contact information for this Alan Cooper, including all known home addresses, business addresses, and telephone numbers.
  9. If the answer to the third interrogatory is yes, state each position this Alan Cooper held at Ingenuity 13, LLC and the dates such position was held.
  10. If the answer to the seventh interrogatory is yes, state each position this Alan Cooper held at AF Holdings, LLC and the dates such position was held.
  11. Eleventh Special Interrogatory: Was the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread ever a principal, even unwittingly, of Ingenuity 13, LLC?
  12. Was the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread ever a principal, even unwittingly, of AF Holdings, LLC?
  13. On November 26, 2012, when undersigned counsel emailed Brett Gibbs to ask for a routine extension request, Mr. Gibbs responded by email “I would have to check with our client about that request. Just an FYI, our client usually does not like to grant these types of requests on short notice unless there is a reasonable chance that settlement may occur in the case.” Later, Mr. Gibbs purported to have an answer on his query to the “client” regarding an extension. Who is the client contact at Ingenuity 13, LLC that Mr. Gibbs spoke with on this matter? Note, no details of the communication are being requested, just the name of the client contact.
  14. Reference is made to the following civil actions filed by AF Holdings, LLC and Ingenuity 13, LLC in the Northern District of California: 4:2012-cv-02049-PJH; 3:2012-cv-02393-CRB; 5:2012-cv-02394-LHK; 3:2012-cv-02396-EMC; 3:2012-cv-02404-SC; 4:2012-cv-02411-PJH; 3:2012-cv-02415-CRB; 4:2012-cv-03248-PJH; 3:2012-cv-04218-WHA; 5:2012-cv-04219-LHK; 5:2012-cv-04446-EJD; 5:2012-cv-04447-RMW; 5:2012-cv-04448-EJD; 3:2012-cv-04982-CRB; 3:2012-cv-04216-JSW; 3:2012-cv-04217-RS; 5:2012-cv-04445-LHK; 3:2012-cv-04449-SC; 3:2012-cv-04450-MMC; 3:2012-cv-04976-JSW; 3:2012-cv-04977-WHA; 4:2012-cv-04978-PJH; 5:2012-cv-04979-LHK; 5:2012-cv-04980-EJD; 3:2012-cv-04981-RS. With respect to the copyright assignments attached to the complaints in these actions, as Exhibit B thereto, which all appear to have a similar signature by “Alan Cooper,” please state whether the person who signed these assignments was the Alan Cooper of Minnesota who is represented by attorney Paul Godfread — yes or no?
  15. If the answer to the fourteenth interrogatory is no, then state all contact information for the person that did sign these documents, including all known home addresses, business addresses, and telephone numbers.

Any attempt to avoid the answers will mean only one thing: a proof of a brazen criminal conduct. The scam artists found themselves between a rock and a hard place. Not the best timing for Prenda, given that in Florida another scandal involving possible document forgery is emerging.

Related
Followup

¹I don’t even touch upon the fact that all these allegations are based on the “impeccable” super-secret infringement detection methods employed by a “forensic” firm 6881 Forensics, which is not only unlicensed, but, to the best of my knowledge, unregistered as a business.

Follow-up to the Alan Cooper scandal

Oh my… Brett Gibbs continues to dig the hole he has willingly put himself in. Yet another reply to Morgan Pietz’s no-nonsense document was filed, and this filing was obviously crying for having a “Shrill voice” checkbox on the ECF submit page.

Full of ad hominem attacks and LSD-like delusions, this is another attempt to assume an ostrich position after the blatant forum shopping has been made obvious and a suspicion of impudent, potentially criminal, Prenda’s fraud has surfaced.

The filing in question was a reply to Morgan Pietz’ “Supplement to Notice of related cases,” that was covered during the last week by:

 

So what are Brett’s “arguments” this time? In the past, sometimes Brett Gibbs provided contestable, yet coherent thoughts, so he could be considered a somewhat serious adversary. This time I have a sheer disappointment and a bad aftertaste, even with the realization that Gibbs essentially works on our side by letting emotions reign in a court document.

  • Morgan Pietz exceeded the mandated length of his notices. This is the only cohesive argument in this opposition.
  • The cases are not related because… courts found joinder improper. If you don’t believe me, read this argument (the entire tantrum document is embedded below): you won’t believe your eyes either. Certainly, Gibbs has to re-take his Bar exam, and maybe even the English mid-school exam: “related” and “joined” are not only different legal concepts, but by no means are associated words in English.
  • Morgan Pietz is improperly pursuing publicity by feeding information to our sites. No comment. Does Gibbs believe in this nonsense himself?

    Though the undersigned stands by every word he said therein, Mr. Pietz has committed a grievous ethical violation by not only publishing those emails as an exhibit to his Administrative Motion to Relate Cases in the Northern District and the instant Supplement to Notice of Related Cases, but also providing the email exchange to the fightcopyrighttrolls.com website.

    Will someone with a patience of a nursery teacher explain to Brett that the document in question is public, available through Pacer and archive.org. Also, Morgan Pietz runs his very own, quite popular, website, and many filings can be found there. No, Morgan Pietz did not send me anything. There was no need to do that. Court filings, unless sealed, are in the public domain. Should I repeat it one more time? Public.

    Moreover, Arstechnica published the emails in question independently approximately at the same time: this reputable media outlet always cites the original source of information. Fightcopyrighttrolls.com was not cited, which means that the author wrote his piece based on his own research, and I was not even the one who tipped him.

Since you know that, Brett, and premeditatedly attempt to mislead judges, I urge you to look into a mirror ASAP and check the length of your nose before going outdoors: I’m sure you’ll decide to stay home to avoid public embarrassment.

In the past Mr. Gibbs referred to our sites in footnotes, and a busy judge might or might not have followed the link (most likely not). This time he mentions fightcopyrighttrolls.com and dietrolldie.com in such an intriguing way, that I surely expect a visit from court clerks, and maybe judges. It was never a secret that one of our major goals is to widely publicize the bastardization of the judicial system, fraud, and extortion that copyright trolls commit: letting judges read about our grassroots resistance to the unprecedented law abuse is a nice early Christmas Gift. Thank you, Brett.

And the main questions, asked by Morgan Pietz, are not only unanswered, but not even mentioned! Forget the Bar exam, forget a mid-school English exam. Here we talk about basic language comprehension, which any citizen of the United States should master. For readers’ and Brett’s convenience, I repeat these questions:

  1. Is there another Alan Cooper, other than the gentleman in Minnesota who was John Steele’s former caretaker, who is or was the principal of AF Holdings, LLC and/or Ingenuity 13, LLC?;
  2. Will plaintiff’s counsel Brett Gibbs produce the original signature to the verified petition, supposedly executed by hand by “Alan Cooper” and notarized, which Mr. Gibbs stated, under penalty of perjury, that he has a copy of in his own possession and control? See In the Matter of a Petition by Ingenuity 13, LLC, E.D. Cal. Case No. 2:11-mc-JAM-DAD, ECF No. 1, 10/28/11;
  3. Will Mr. Gibbs identify his client contact at Ingenuity 13 and AF Holdings, given that Mr. Gibbs purported to speak with his “client” at Ingenuity 13 only two weeks ago?

 

Last, but not least: While Mr. Gibbs proudly signs his tantrum document as a “Prenda Law, Inc.” employee, he (and the judges) should probably be reminded that this corporation is NOT in good standing with the state of Illinois, and its crooked bosses are in the process of pulling a machination — abandoning the old corporation (most likely, to avoid writing the annual report and to get rid of bad publicity) and creating another one — with the same people, same mailing address, same website and same goal — mass extortion.

TAC’s greeting to judges

Given my strong believe (as I speculated above) that we may welcome some court clerks/judges here soon, I think it is absolutely appropriate to pull a recent TAC’s comment from a different (yet related) discussion thread and embed it it here:

Greetings your Honor,

I would like to hope that after the name of this blog was brought up that you would come visit us poor ‘misguided’ souls.

Sadly, our character is being assassinated by the lawyers who are extorting cash from senior citizens, so one hopes you will consider the source.

This is one of several blogs/website/et al., where people targeted by copyright trolls can get an education about the scam.

We help Does to stop operating in fear, and understand the legal system and how it is being abused to allow them to be harassed.

I might be crass, foul mouthed, and a litany of bad things… but I don’t extort people by abusing the legal system.

I have little respect for the lawyers who run these scams, and it shows.

I have little respect for some Judges who feel these lawyers are doing nothing wrong, how one can say that when the Federal Courts are being cheated out of millions in filing fees boggles the imagination.

The sheer volume of information presented here, should raise serious concerns in your mind about the case before you. The unanswered questions, the blatant forum shopping, the abuse of the legal system, and the desire to not actually pursue these cases is obvious and clear.

I hope if you have any questions you’ll ask, we have a pretty good research “team” at your disposal. A majority of them are people who survived troll attacks, and now help others avoid falling prey to them. We are even more expert than the expert who signed off on the IP addresses at the heart of this case, we can back up our claims with fact… not sure about their expert being able to do such. But then we aren’t paid from each “settlement” reached like their expert, we have ethics and morals.

Enjoy your stay,

I remain…

TAC

Updates
I learned about this motion from the Brett Gibbs’s Motion for Sanctions described in the next bullet point. Therefore, a quick question to Brett: should I be mad at Morgan Pietz for not sending this document to me directly in order to advance his publicity agenda? Morgan did not even notify me! This is outrageous that I had to spend $1.80 to fetch this document from Pacer. I consider joining your motion for sanctions and demanding my $1.80 back!
  • On 12/17/2012 Brett Gibbs filed a motion for sanctions against a “serial filer” (oh irony!) Morgan Pietz, basically reiterating the same delusional accusations as in the document embedded above (except, maybe, for the motion length, the only argument that has a merit, yet it does not warrant sanctions in any sane court). In this motion Brett not only prompts — he begs Judge Write to visit this site. A quick reminder: Judge Write has already labeled copyright trolls’ — including Prenda Law — practice as “extortion”) .
  • On 12/19/2012 I checked my inbox:

    You may accuse me of lying about it, Brett Gibbs, but I was never caught deliberately telling lies. You were — on multiple occasions. You are a miserable funny little man with a long nose, Brett Gibbs.

  • On 12/20/2012 Judge Write issues an Order to show cause (lack of service):

    Plaintiff is hereby ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE why Defendant has not been timely served. Plaintiff has 7 days to comply with this order; or if Defendant have been served, Plaintiff has 7 days to file the proof of service. Failure to respond will result in dismissal of this action.

    It seems to me that Judge Write, although clearly understanding what kind of serial fraudsters he deals with, does not want to get his hands dirty and address Coopergate. I hope I’m wrong and we will hear more from him or other judges “forum shopped” by Prenda and its fake clients.

    Still I experience a slight Schadenfreude that these 7 days fall to the holiday week. Happy holidays, Pinocchio!

  • On 12/21/2012 Judge Write denies Gibbs’s motion for sanctions mentioned in an earlier update to this post. Without explanation (does anyone really need one?). Without even waiting for Morgan Pietz to file his opposition. Quite telling.
  • On 1/23/2013 DieTrolDie’s “torpedo” hit the target.
Followups
Follow-up to the Alan Cooper scandal

Last week I presented a Notice of related cases that California attorney Morgan Pietz wrote with a couple of goals:

  • To make the district aware of blatant forum shopping carried out by Prenda: just a fraction of its carbon-copy cases (filed by two “plaintiffs”) have wasted precious time of 11 judges (instead of one);
  • To draw judges’ attention to a very troubling development regarding alleged fraud, which, if proven, would definitely nullify all the AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 cases at the very least, and possibly warrant a criminal investigation of Prenda;
  • To make the district aware of the events in Florida, which were not only highly embarrassing to Prenda, but also very illustrative of its fraudulent foundation.

In addition to that Notice, Morgan Pietz has been communicating with Prenda’s California shakedown envoy and veteran weasel Brett Gibbs for about two weeks, trying to get answers to simple, no-nonsense questions out of him:

  1. Is there another Alan Cooper, other than the gentleman in Minnesota who was John Steele’s former caretaker, who is or was the principal of AF Holdings, LLC and/or Ingenuity 13, LLC?;
  2. Will plaintiff’s counsel Brett Gibbs produce the original signature to the verified petition, supposedly executed by hand by “Alan Cooper” and notarized, which Mr. Gibbs stated, under penalty of perjury, that he has a copy of in his own possession and control? See In the Matter of a Petition by Ingenuity 13, LLC, E.D. Cal. Case No. 2:11-mc-JAM-DAD, ECF No. 1, 10/28/11;
  3. Will Mr. Gibbs identify his client contact at Ingenuity 13 and AF Holdings, given that Mr. Gibbs purported to speak with his “client” at Ingenuity 13 only two weeks ago?

Wasn’t really a surprise that instead of coherent answers, Brett Gibbs has been throwing a tantrum after tantrum, I can’t find a better word either for his response to the Notice, or for the email correspondence with Morgan (embedded below). I reckon that their phone exchange sounded something like a father trying to reason with a four-year-old, who was left without a cake.

Gibbs is not new to this kind of childish behavior. Every time he is cornered, an apoplectic reaction ensues. There are plenty of examples. Among others: an unfortunate (but not unexpected) harassment that prompted a tear-soaked letter to the judge. Also note how Nick Ranallo’s sane motion to secure a bond resulted in a series of insults and predictions of the end of the World, all in a high-pitched voice. Etc., etc.

I had a chuckle reading Gibbs’s reference to fightcopyrighttrolls.com as a “biased misguided website.” Well, I don’t deny that I’m biased, but I’m biased emotionally only. If anyone wants to question the credibility of facts, he is welcome, but such dialog requires guts and honesty. In the absence of these virtues, Gibbs simply embarrassed himself by brushing off one fact (detailed below) that Morgan referred to — not because Gibbs expressed his doubts about the fact per se, but because it was me who published it. But the fact (90/10 fee split in Malibu Media cases, articulated by Malibu’s owner Brigham Field himself) does not care about who brought it to the light of the day: if you are a professional attorney, and not a toddler, deal with facts without tantrums.

Morgan’s supplement to the Notice was, as usual, short and precise. It reiterated the concerns, noting that

So far, Prenda has not only refused to answer these [listed above] specific questions, it has refused to even discuss these matters at all.

In addition, Morgan presented a notarized affidavit of Alan Cooper, and asked to assign all the seven cases to Judge Write.
Oh, and if you still think that Brett Gibbs is a “decent guy” and a “professional,” read the following email correspondence and make your own conclusions

 

Brain teaser: How many crooks does it take to answer a set of simple, direct questions?

Appendix: Related cases reported by Morgan Pietz
  • AF Holdings LLC v. John Doe (12-cv-05709) | “Popular Demand” | 66.27.196.248 | Judges: Write / Chooljian
  • Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe (12-cv-06635) | “Anything for Daddy” | 99.12.183.52 | Judges: King / Zarefsky
  • Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe (12-cv-06660) | “Five Fan Favorites” | 75.142.52.147 | Judges: Feess / Rosenberg
  • Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe (12-cv-07385) | “Anything for Daddy” | 99.59.96.29 | Judges: Fischer/ Mumm
  • Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe (12-cv-07386) | Teen Sex First Anal 108.38.135.253 | Judges: Gee / McDermott
  • Ingenuity13 LLC v. John Doe (12-cv-08322) | A Peek Behind the Scenes at a Show | 71.83.94.169 | Judges: Gee / Walsh
  • Ingenuity13 LLC v. John Doe (12-cv-08333) | A Peek Behind the Scenes at a Show | 108.13.119.253 | Judges: Gee / Walsh
  • Media Coverage
    Followups

    Christmas is around the corner!
    A book has been traditionally
    one of the best gifts of all times.
    You know the Prenda’s address.

    The sound of Friday’s double-barrel shot in the general direction of the Prenda gang was seemingly too deafening: while the first story (“A hearing transcript or a comedy screenplay? A must-read for those who think about settling”) resonated on the Internet, the second, much, much more damning news (“Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs”) was not eagerly picked up by the news outlets yet. Indeed, the accusation of such rank is not easy to digest; extraordinary claims require extraordinary fact-checking, and I believe that this news is far from being ignored: it is rather the lull before the storm, and soon we will hear a lot about what we think is the beginning of Prenda’s end.

    [Update 12/5/2012: ArsTechnica was the first big news outlet who published this story: Man charges porn trolling firm Prenda Law with identity theft (Says firm listed him as the CEO of a shell corporation without permission.) Check the Media Coverage and Updates sections of my original post: I will post new information as it becomes available.]

     

    In the meantime, attorney Morgan Pietz, who essentially orchestrated the funeral of Malibu Media’s extortion business in Central California, turned his attention to Prenda and filed a Notice of Related Cases, noting that both Prenda’s offshore “righthavens” — “AF Holdings, LLC” and “Ingenuity 13″ — failed to file notices, which are required when a plaintiff files similar cases in the Central California Federal District (Local Rule 83-7 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c)(1)). Malibu Media’s local Shakedown Envoy Leemore Kushner failed to do just that, and, as a result, all her 30+ cases are history now. Morgan’s website has the entire story.

    If I had a frivolity of comparing my two Friday news stories to a double-barrel shot, it will be fair to compare Morgan Pietz to a sniper: his words are unexpected, effective, and rarely miss the target:

    Plaintiffs AF Holdings, LLC and Ingenuity 13, LLC are both shell entities organized under the laws of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Both entities have filed a tsunami of John Doe pornographic copyright infringement actions in United States District Courts, including 49 total cases currently pending in this judicial district. Both entities are represented by the same plaintiffs law firm: Prenda Law, Inc. (f/k/a Steele Hansemeier PLLC). Both entities have filed substantially identical cookie cutter complaints and ex parte applications seeking leave of Court to issue subpoenas to ISPs prior to a Rule 26(f) conference. In support of their applications for early discovery, both entities have offered a declaration from “Peter Hansemeier” who purports to be a computer expert. Generally speaking, the pleadings in all the AF Holdings cases and Ingenuity 13 cases in this district track paragraph by paragraph, word for word. The only real difference between the two groups of cases appears to be the particular pornographic works at issue and, of course, the varying IP addresses identified in the complaints.

    Like in the Malibu Media’s case, Prenda’s failure to file the required notices indicates impudent forum shopping. Mr. Pietz explains this clearly, but in addition, he does not hesitate to go further, much further, and, based on the last week Minnesota events, continues hammering the Prenda gang, asking very uncomfortable questions:

    Common Issues of Law and Fact Between the Related Cases:

    1. Is There a Widespread Fraud With Respect to the Use of the Identity of One Mr. Alan Cooper by AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13;
    2. Do These Entities Have Proper Standing;
    3. Are John Steele and/or Prenda Law the Undisclosed, Real Parties in Interest in These Cases;
    4. Do These Cases Involve Improper Fee Splitting?

    Here is the entire Notice embedded for your convenience. Visit Morgan Pietz’s page dedicated to Prenda’s offshore businesses for more information, including exhibits.

     

    By the way, yours truly is mentioned in footnote 6, which talks about inappropriate fee splitting between troll lawyers and rights holders. Thank you, Morgan: it is always flattering to see my humble efforts contribute to the inevitable end of one of the most shameful chapters in the US judicial history.

    Raul adds an important nuance that I missed:

    Love the post, one thing that the Notice of Relate Cases makes clear (p. 7) is that Duffy wants nothing to do with this AF Holdings/Ingenuity 13 BS and Steele is holding the bag for this possible gigantic fraud (emphasis is mine):

    Immediately after Mr. Cooper’s lawyer filed a notice of appearance on his behalf in one of the Minnesota cases, John Steele attempted to call the Minnesota Mr. Cooper directly, multiple times, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Cooper was represented by counsel. Appendix 1, p. 2. Since then, Prenda Law’s principal Paul Duffy has apparently disavowed Mr. Steele, and directed Mr. Cooper’s attorney that this should be considered solely a matter between Mr. Cooper and John Steele. Appendix 1, p. 2. [...]

    Do you wonder where Gibbs will land?

    Followups
  • 1/15/2013: Prenda’s motion to disqualify Judge Otis Write has been denied.