Posts Tagged ‘Mark Lutz’

Prenda is a gift that keeps on giving.

Court Jester

No matter how this phrase is banal and overused, it will be repeated many more times, guaranteed. Because… Prenda is a gift that keeps on giving. At different times different clowns appeared in the farce; today it was Jacques Nazaire’s turn to take the stage. For those who don’t remember, Nazaire is a Georgia Craigslist lawyer who entertained us in the past by telling the court that Judge Wrights’ famous order is irrelevant in Georgia because California recognizes gay marriage, and because Anonymous attacked PayPal. He called the EFF “terrorists organization” and his “your momma” email to me prompted so many laughs…

In the aftermath of the November 20, 2014 hearing in the AF Holdings v Patel (GAND 12-cv-00262), motions and notices by both sides continued to pour into the swollen docket. For example,

 

But one particular Jacques Nazaire’s filing left my face burning from an involuntary facepalm:

 

First of all, there is no such thing as a post-dismissal sanctions hearing by a jury. This isn’t going anywhere, period. The case was dismissed. What “trial” for God’s sake? We really need the Twenty Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution, which addresses the problem with attorneys who embarrass themselves and the legal profession: those comedians should be banned from the courtroom.

But, if for the sake of argument we assume this childish act has a quantum of merit, I think that when Nazaire wrote

[…] listen to the factual [non-legal] issues of this case […],

he mixed up the “factual” and “legal” terms. The questions derived from the “factual issues” are pretty damning:

  • whether Prenda seeded its smut to entrap file-sharers;
  • whether Prenda forged the signature on the copyright assignment;
  • whether the “client” AF Holdings exists at all;
  • whether former Prenda’s paralegal, John Steele’s drinking buddy and a fugitive from justice Mark Lutz, is really a principal of a sham corporation AF Holdings;

 

The list can go on and on, and some of the “factual issues” have already become “facts” — Judge O’Kelley has adopted Judge Wrights’ findings in full.

When facts are not on your side, the only way to get away with scams is to juggle legal [non-factual] issues. That’s how all the copyright troll cockroaches (Keith Lipscomb, Michael Hierl et al) avoid justice today and continue plundering citizens with impunity — by exploring the cracks in the legal system while playing fast and lose with facts.

Here is our advice, Jacques: stop digging. Humbly accept the sanctions that Judge O’Kelley will most likely impose on you. All your temper tantrums will only worsen your situation. Don’t embarrass yourself any longer, fade into obscurity: even though you took orders from the con artists (who, I hope, will end up in jail soon), your shenanigans were relatively minor, and I bet that Prenda’s victims are willing to forget them if you stop disturbing the past over and over again.

 


¹ Note that Duffy continues deceiving the court by signing his missives as “Duffy Law Group” — an entity that was involuntarily dissolved a long time ago.

The AF Holdings v Patel (GAND 12-cv-00262) Show Cause Hearing, which was abruptly interrupted by a snowstorm on the 1/28/2014 afternoon, was finally continued and concluded almost ten months later, on 11/20/2014. I was not there — Kat was, and she wrote a detailed and vivid three-part story. It doesn’t make sense to retell it in my own words: firstly, as I said, I was not there; second, Kat is simply a terrific storyteller, so pour yourself a glass of wine and read:

 

 

While we are waiting for the written order, the minute sheet is worth mentioning: in part because

The Court verbally adopted as part of its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Judge Wright’s Order, Central District of California, paragraphs, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 & 11¹. (See Wright Order 2:12-cv-8333-CDW).

 

I’ll copy and paste the adopted paragraphs for your convenience:

1. Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy (“Principals”) are attorneys with shattered law practices. Seeking easy money, they conspired to operate this enterprise and formed the AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 entities (among other fungible entities) for the sole purpose of litigating copyright-infringement lawsuits. They created these entities to shield the Principals from potential liability and to give an appearance of legitimacy.

2. AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 have no assets other than several copyrights to pornographic movies. There are no official owners or officers for these two offshore entities, but the Principals are the de facto owners and officers.

3. The Principals started their copyright-enforcement crusade in about 2010, through Prenda Law, which was also owned and controlled by the Principals. Their litigation strategy consisted of monitoring BitTorrent download activity of their copyrighted pornographic movies, recording IP addresses of the computers downloading the movies, filing suit in federal court to subpoena Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) for the identity of the subscribers to these IP addresses, and sending cease-and-desist letters to the subscribers, offering to settle each copyright infringement claim for about $4,000.

4. This nationwide strategy was highly successful because of statutory copyright damages, the pornographic subject matter, and the high cost of litigation. Most defendants settled with the Principals, resulting in proceeds of millions of dollars due to the numerosity of defendants. These settlement funds resided in the Principals’ accounts and not in accounts belonging to AF Holdings or Ingenuity 13.

No taxes have been paid on this income.

5. For defendants that refused to settle, the Principals engaged in vexatious litigation designed to coerce settlement. These lawsuits were filed using boilerplate complaints based on a modicum of evidence, calculated to maximize settlement profits by minimizing costs and effort.

6. The Principals have shown little desire to proceed in these lawsuits when faced with a determined defendant. Instead of litigating, they dismiss the case. When pressed for discovery, the Principals offer only disinformation—even to the Court.

8. The Principals maintained full control over the entire copyright-litigation operation. The Principals dictated the strategy to employ in each case, ordered their hired lawyers and witnesses to provide disinformation about the cases and the nature of their operation, and possessed all financial interests in the outcome of each case.

9. The Principals stole the identity of Alan Cooper (of 2170 Highway 47 North, Isle, MN 56342). The Principals fraudulently signed the copyright assignment for “Popular Demand” using Alan Cooper’s signature without his authorization, holding him out to be an officer of AF Holdings. Alan Cooper is not an officer of AF Holdings and has no affiliation with Plaintiffs other than his employment as a groundskeeper for Steele. There is no other person named Alan Cooper related to AF Holdings or Ingenuity 13.

11. Plaintiffs have demonstrated their willingness to deceive not just this Court, but other courts where they have appeared. Plaintiffs’ representations about their operations, relationships, and financial interests have varied from feigned ignorance to misstatements to outright lies. But this deception was calculated so that the Court would grant Plaintiffs’ early-discovery requests, thereby allowing Plaintiffs to identify defendants and exact settlement proceeds from them. With these granted requests, Plaintiffs borrow the authority of the Court to pressure settlement.

Brett Gibbs Paul Duffy Adam Urbanczyk John Steele Paul Hansmeier Mark Lutz Yo momma...

 


¹ The paragraphs 7 and 10 deal with Brett Gibbs’s conduct, and were not adopted by Judge O’Kelley simply because they are irrelevant for this case.

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
Followup
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…)

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.

 

 


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.

By Mysterious Anonymous

Since I made it to the Spring Street Courthouse again to see Friday’s performance, SJD asked me to write up my impressions as a community representative. I had a super-busy weekend so I didn’t think there would be anything left to say by the time I found time, but I came up with an editorial angle that might be more entertaining to people who have come to read this site not because they have read about John Steele on Techdirt and Ars Technica, but because they were actually threatened by Steele | Hansmeier, Prenda or one of their other guises.

I had seen John Steele previously at the April 2 hearing where he plead the 5th, but I had never actually seen him perform, and the take-home lesson from last Friday’s hearing is…

John Steele is an idiot.

I had assumed Wright was simply calling Steele’s bluff by scheduling a hearing on Steele’s motion for reconsideration. Surely, given Steele’s history of trying to avoid Wright’s courtroom, Steele was bound to no-show even with his own motion scheduled for a hearing, giving Wright justification to deny the motion by default. But Wright’s plan was far more devious than that. After briefly chewing Steele out for filing documents that have nothing to do with anything, Wright had Steele staring at his own request to substitute counsel (or in Steele’s case go pro se) that had an incorrect mailing address… When Steele was there to complain about not being served by mail…

Unhappy troll

Things went all downhill. Steele basically couldn’t put a sentence or an argument together. As covered in detail elsewhere, Wright had gone over Steele’s filings in meticulous detail, found the inconsistencies, and grilled Steele with pointed and specific questions. Steele was desperate, pathetic, grasping for straws. He could barely answer any of Wright’s questions and never had a straight, specific answer, it was always an appeal to emotion, or his rights, or a wild conspiracy to deny Steele said rights. Wright repeatedly asked him to make an argument, explain a problem, and/or state some facts to back up anything he was saying, and Steele just couldn’t do it. He did manage to keep talking, we all know Steele can’t keep his mouth shut, and that is true no matter how deep of a hole he digs himself. Steele’s mouth kept running but the garbage coming out became less and less intelligible. It sounded like “blah blah blah MY RIGHTS blahbaddy blah 5TH AMENDMENT blah blah blah PATTERN OF FRAUD blah.”

The incoherence, paranoia, ego. Unbelievable. John Steele is so full of shit that I won’t even try to describe how full of shit he is. If you had tried to explain to me that a person could be that full of shit before I saw John Steele performing in Los Angeles, I would not have believed it was possible.

For those who have been intimidated and scared by Steele in the past: There is no evil genius here. There is no master plan, no craft, no clever, no intelligence. Just a bully who got lucky a few times bluffing laypeople with no understanding of the law. Now that he must practice his profession against real opponents he is a complete and utter failure. Such a failure that Wright joked about the Ninth Circuit having a reserved parking space for him. Such a failure that many attendees were wearing government ID badges. Investigators from the DOJ and IRS? Maybe. We can hope. But they looked a bit young to be seasoned investigators, so I think it is likely that John Steele has become a celebrity in the courthouse, and anyone who could slip away from work was there to watch him make a fool of himself.

John Steele has become the Court Jester of the Central District of California.

He brings shame to the University of Minnesota for having such low standards it awarded him a JD.

He brings shame to the state bar exam preparers of Illinois that created an exam so weak that John Steele could pass it.

He brings shame to every lawyer in every state where Prenda has filed cases, for having such collectively low standards and ethics that they call this scum their peer.

I would like everyone who has been threatened by Steele, intimidated by Steele, harassed by Steele, who has lost sleep because of Steele to know that John Steele was very, very unhappy on Friday. John Steele was mad. John Steele was worried. John Steele wore a deeply concerned and unhappy face that I wish all of you could have seen (I had to work to suppress the urge to break courtroom protocol and try to sneak a picture of Unhappy John Steele; it would have made great memes). I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time, and like many other attendees could not keep from chortling and snorting with derision, glee and surprise at the contemptible foolishness of John Steele.

John Steele is struggling to deal with all the trouble John Steele has made for himself and behaved like he’s coming apart at the seams. His final words in the courtroom, a bellowed “It’s called cutting and pasting!” are a suitably pathetic example of how ridiculous this sad excuse for a man has become.

Everyone who has worked with or for Prenda should read this, and read everything else about Friday and their current state of affairs, and be scared. Very, very scared. Because their mastermind is a clueless buffoon of little ability who went all in with an empty hand and had his bluff called.

Update

SJD, 7/16/2013

On 7/9/2013 John Steele filed an apoplectic reply to Ranallo/Pietz/Heller response. The caveat is that, as a manual filing, it was stamped only on Friday (right before the hearing), and appeared on Pacer only today.

You’ve read the story above, now read Steele’s BS through the glasses of Friday’s event: it is entertaining.

 

Another [fantastic] update

SJD, 7/18/2013
Judge Wright issued an order on Steele’s motion for reconsideration, denying it and referring a purported attorney John Steele to Pro Se Clinic! This is probably the second-best (after the “Star Trek order”) by Wright in this case:

Based on these findings, the Court finds Steele’s Motion meritless and frivolous. Therefore, it is appropriate to consider whether sanctions should be awarded to Pietz and Ranallo for the expense of defending this Motion, one where Steele sought sanctions against them for their failure to serve.

Pietz and Ranallo are hereby directed to file a regularly noticed motion for Rule 11 sanctions against Steele in connection with his filing of this Motion. A hearing should be noticed for the motion no later than August 26, 2013. The Court hereby reminds Steele that failure to timely oppose the motion may result in the automatic imposition of the requested sanctions. L.R. 7-12.

Steele’s Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED. Steele is advised that the Federal Pro Se Clinic is located in the United States Courthouse at 312 N. Spring Street, Room G-19, Main Street Floor, Los Angeles, California 90012. The clinic is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Federal Pro Se Clinic offers free, on-site information and guidance to individuals who are representing themselves in federal civil actions. Steele is encouraged to visit the clinic for advice concerning his case.

 

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.