Posts Tagged ‘Sunlust Puctures’

Previous coverage on Sunlust Pictures, LLC v. Nguyen (FLMD 12-cv-01685):

 

Yesterday I broke the news that Prenda gang hired an outside law firm to prevent (or rather to slowdown) scam artists’ inevitable downfall. At the time of the writing, I was not aware that on the same day (yesterday) two important events happened.

 

1

On 12/20/2012 “White collar crime defenders” filed an opposition to Syfert’s motion. What can I say? Professional weaselness is apparent. They are good lawyers. Good fantasy skills. Yet because Steele’s gang is so deep in the excrements of its own production, I doubt that even a star lawyer can salvage the situation. The part aimed at explaining why Mr. Steele wife’s info ended up in the metadata is ridiculous and ironic. This days and age no one “inherits” someone’s computer with all the software installed. Note that in the unlikely case of “inheriting” a computer full of software, there would definitely be at least a couple of license violations, because many products are licensed to a user, not a computer. By the way, I would check the particular software used in creation of the PDF documents — its license agreement in particular. It would be a lot of fun to find out that the prominent “anti-piracy” law firm uses illegally obtained software. Moreover, the opposition’s attempt to discredit the accusation in Steele’s misappropriation of others’ identities is flushed down the toilet by Wasinger’s motion (see below).

Also, the skeletons of Mr. Syfert’s self-help forms were unearthed and dusted. Graham’s “personal alimony” towards an undeniably evil man is presented as a basis for a “bad faith purpose.” Any reasonable person, after spending an hour researching, would agree that Mr. Syfert should be commended for his work, targeted to stop the brazen abuse of the judicial system by Prenda and other scam artists; the abuse that gives bad names to all the attorneys, including those employed by Kynes, Markman & Felman.

Read the opposition and make your own conclusions. I only want to note that the entire document would look plausible if not for this blog’s readers’ extensive knowledge of Prenda/Steele’s shenanigans that are overwhelmingly documented in many places. As I wrote to Katherine Yanes yesterday, this is not a usual case with a handful of spectators: thousands are watching, and every spectator has a much better knowledge of Prenda’s history than the law firm it hired. With this knowledge, this document is just a nice fiction story, an amusing read, nothing more. I’m sure that, due to her long professional career, Judge Scriven is capable of telling made-up stories from real ones.

Don’t miss the exhibits — a full-blown assault on Graham Syfert by Prenda crooks (in addition to outright lies).

Apparently, Graham is Prenda’s mega-enemy, and it is not a surprise that so much effort is being put in discrediting him. Messing with a Mafioso racket bears its costs.

 

2

On the same day another document (embedded below) was filed: Matthew Wasinger’s Urgent renewed motion for withdrawal as a local counsel for Prenda. This document contains pretty damning accusations. Read and pay attention to yet another confirmation of Prenda’s abuse practice: how using others’ identity is not a big deal. Note that the super-scandal “Coopergate” was not brought to the attention of the judge, but if an outside law firm continues to defend indefensible, I’m sure that this scandal will surface in her courtroom.

As a reader Sausages nicely put it,

#11 & #12 explains why they retained third part representation — they (Steele) tried to once again write a motion and strongarm Mr. Wasinger into signing it with his electronic signature without seeking permission.

Pretty funny you have all these wordy lengthy oppositions filed by the third party saying how all this is a sham and Syfert is an extortionist, then the local guy they hired (who I really feel for now and is trying to back out of it to not ruin his career) drops this kind of bomb saying they tried to commit fraud once again and incidentally backs up Mr. Syfert’s assertion that Prenda often submits documents with other peoples signatures without permission (which the opposition motion filed by the third party lawfirm tries to discredit).

Comedy!


Don’t miss the exhibits: A and B (email correspondence). A lot of crookery to scrutinize.

I know another attorney whose identity was misappropriated by Steele, but that attorney decided to wash his hands and put this issue behind him. While I respect his decision, Mr. Wasinger’s courage in defending his dignity, while he is facing legal and other threats, is much-much more admirable.

Followups
After the disastrous Sunlust Pictures v. Nguyen (FLMD 12-cv-01685) hearing on 11/27/2011, which looked more like a circus performance than a courtroom event,

  • The case was dismissed by a frustrated Judge Scriven;
  • Prenda’s “counsel for an hour” Matthew Wasinger, feeling like conned by Prenda’s scam artists, indicated his willingness to answer questions about the circumstances of his recruitment;
  • Defense attorney Graham Syfert moved for sanctions and $10,000 in attorney fees.

 

Raul reported about these developments two days ago. Today another curious event happened on this case: our scammers (Prenda Law, Inc., Paul Duffy, Brett Gibbs, and John Steele) decided to hire the Kynes, Markman & Felman, P.A., “Best law firm in Tampa for white collar criminal defense” (as they advertise themselves). This hire was only made in connection with responding to defendant’s motions for sanctions/fees. I commend John Steele for his rare paroxysm of honesty in an implicit acknowledgement that he and his clique are essentially white collar criminals.

Raul’s commented yesterday:

The beauty of this situation is that Prenda/Steele have painted themselves into a corner in that they cannot oppose either the motion for sanctions or attorney’s fees without risking another hearing before Judge Scriven.

It seems that Steele & Co. have found a workaround. Now they can contest the requested fees/sanctions AND avoid a possible personal appearance: I’m pretty sure that if trolls were to appear without an external counsel in front of Judge Scriven, she would definitely scrutinize our trolls only under oath. I don’t think I should explain that the crooks have a lot of dirty laundry to hide and that they would fight tooth and nail to avoid any truthful testimony.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time when Prenda uses an external help, although other trolls invoked an outside representation before: for example, in K-Beech v. John Does 1-85 (11-cv-00469), when Judge Gibney threatened a minor greedy troll Wayne O’Brian with Chapter 11 sanctions.

We will watch the developments on this case closely. I wrote a quick email to Katherine Yanes (one of the two Kynes, Markman & Felman, P.A attorneys hired by Prenda). In this e-mail I introduced myself, and let her know that this is hardly a regular case for her firm: this time thousands of eyes are watching, and thousands of victims are hungry for Prenda’s [preferably painful] downfall.

Followups
By Raul

Previous coverage on Sunlust Pictures, LLC v. Nguyen (FLMD 12-cv-01685):

 

Matthew Wasinger, feeling deceived by Prenda, is willing to answer questions

On 12/6 Prenda’s Florida local to-be counsel Matthew Wasinger filed his response to Syfert’s motion for sanctions against him in which he states:

The undersigned is willing to answer the questions set forth by Mr. Syfert in his Motion upon Order by the Court and a finding of this Court that answers to these questions would not violate any potential ethical duty to Sunlust Pictures. The undersigned would truthfully answer any questions as directed by the Court under oath.

…it is now blatantly clear that I was mislead by Prenda Law regarding the overall handling of this case.

…the undersigned has significant concerns of the operation of Prenda Law that prevent the undersigned from continuing to represent the SUNLUST PICTURES, LLC in good faith, and as a result require him to withdraw in accordance with Rule 4-1.16(a) of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

Defendant asks for around $10,000 in attorney fees

Also on 12/6 Syfert filed a motion for attorneys fees, which totals approximately $10,000 including costs, and where he points out that:

After filing and before service, the Defendant in this action voluntarily offered up his computer for inspection by agents of the Plaintiff and claimed innocence and a lack of knowledge. Despite the volunteering and cooperation and claim of innocence, the Plaintiff through its agents continued the case were unwilling to address actual issues of liability, and instead intended to proceed solely on the tenuous action of negligence. The further bad faith at the hearing, by presenting a corporate representative without any authority, showed an objective frivolousness by continuing the litigation despite any reasonable offers of cooperation or settlement.

Syfert also points out the charade of Steele’s “non-involvement” in the affairs of Prenda:

Counsel for Defendant filed two bar complaints against Mr. Steele for his involvement with Prenda Law, and he has consistently denied involvement with Prenda Law while he is within the State of Florida. While he is in Illinois or safely behind a telephone extension in Miami, he has embraced his involvement with Prenda Law and made multiple appearances on their behalf in the Northern District of Illinois. If challenged, Defendant can produce the affidavits various federal practice attorneys throughout the United States who have tried speaking with Paul Duffy at Prenda Law, and have only been able to speak with John Steele.

Syfert goes on to warn the court that:

Despite the objection of many attorneys, the Court within the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts have liberally granted early discovery to a Plaintiff alleging harm through the infringement that can occur in bittorrent swarm. Given their potential liability, limited damages, Sunlust and their counsel should be more wary of the consequences of attempting to violate the public confidence by pursuing massive amounts of claims. Plaintiff should further be deterred from advancing fraud upon the court in the furtherance of their claims.

Judge is angry; case dismissed

And finally, the official Judge Scriven’s order dismissing the case:

Before the hearing, Paul Duffy sent a letter to the Court claiming he was the sole principal of Prenda Law and that the Court’s directive that a principal of the firm appear was, therefore, directed at him. […] He also questioned how he would be of any assistance to the Court since he was in no way affiliated with this matter and did not represent anyone in the case. […] However both Mr. Torres and Mr. Wasinger stated that Prenda Law was in fact involved in this case, albeit through another individual, Brett Gibbs, who resides in California…

Further, the Court finds that Plaintiff itself failed to comply with this Court’s Order and attempted to deceive this Court when it sent Mr. Lutz, who had no knowledge of the company and had no authority to speak on behalf of the company, to pose as its “corporate representative.” Finally, the Court finds that Prenda Law, the law firm both counsel stated retained them to serve as local counsel on behalf of Plaintiff, misrepresented its role in the case and relationship to the Plaintiff.

The beauty of this situation is that Prenda/Steele have painted themselves into a corner in that they cannot oppose either the motion for sanctions or attorneys fees without risking another hearing before Judge Scriven.

Followups
Last Thursday I wrote a post about how sloppiness, unprofessionalism and outright lies resulted in the dismissal of one of the Prenda’s individual trolling cases, Sunlust Pictures LLC, v. Nguyen, (12-cv-01685) was dismissed by Judge Mary Scriven with fireworks (emphasis is mine):

The case is dismissed for failure to appear at this hearing, for failure to present a lawful agent, for attempted fraud on the Court by offering up a person who has no authority to act on behalf of the corporation as its corporate representative, and the Court will hear, by motion, a motion for sanctions and fees against this Sunlust entity and everyone affiliated with it, including a motion against Mr. Wasinger for his purposeful failure to appear at this hearing.

As a logical next step to this dismissal, Graham Syfert filed two motions on 12/4:

 

Motion for sanctions against attorney Matthew Wasinger

The goal of this motion is explained clearly:

Defendant would rather see the abusive and deceitful patterns of Prenda Law terminated than be awarded monetary sanctions.

To achieve this, Graham suggests compelling Mr. Wasinger to answer specific questions in a hope that

[…] the responses serve as a warning to other potential “local counsel” representatives of Prenda Law to caution themselves in representing Plaintiffs in Federal Court without a reasonable disclosure of the facts surrounding the cases that they are accepting and ability to adequately protect the interest of their clients.

Specifically, the Defendant would like the court compel, under oath the answers to the following questions:

  1. Have you ever had an in person or over the phone conversation with Sunny Leone or Daniel Weber?
  2. Did you ever try to contact the principals of Sunlust through Prenda Law, and if so, what did those agents tell you about communicating with your client?
  3. Have you ever spoken to or exhcnaged e-mailed with John Steele?
  4. Have you ever spoken to or exchanged e-mails with Paul Duffy?
  5. What percentage of recovery was promised to you for an award in this case, and what percentage was to be paid to Prenda Law?
  6. How much was to be paid to the client?
  7. When you received a check for your fee in settling a Prenda Law case, who was it signed by?
  8. What address and business name or personal name is/was on that check?
  9. What is the name of the account on that check (i.e. Prenda Law Operations, Prenda Law Trust, Paul Duffy Trust, Steele Law Firm Trust, etc.) and what institution was it drawn on?
  10. Were your actions in the Nguyen case at any time directed by any another person than Brett Gibbs (including Joseph Perea, Paul Duffy, John Steele, Mark Lutz, or any other person)?
  11. Who composed the original drafts of the materials filed in the Nguyen case while you were counsel?
  12. Did you ever ask to see the evidence which supposedly shows copyright infringement and have you seen that evidence?
  13. Have you ever talked to anyone with the last name Hansmeier concerning Prenda Law cases?
  14. Explain the circumstances around how you came to be hired by Prenda Law, whether you responded to one of their ads or how they responded to one of your ads, including the exact date that you were hired, and who did the hiring.

 

 

Omnibus motion for sanctions against Prenda, Paul Duffy, Brett Gibbs, and John Steele

This motion begins with a thorough proof that Paul Duffy is a decoy, a fake Prenda’s principal. If you read this blog regularly, you couldn’t miss the fact that I repeat this statement over and over again. The very first time I mentioned Duffy about a year ago, I did use the word “decoy”; and just a week ago I wrote:

…it is a common belief that Paul Duffy is a no one, a nominal president of Prenda, a patsy, that he does not write motions, does not argue in courtrooms, does not reply to emails.

One of Syfert’s argument is really funny, (palmface-funny, not laughter-funny): analyzing the document, purportedly written by Paul Duffy to the court (the one mentioned during the hearing), Graham made an interesting discovery:

A quick and dirty forensic examination of the PDF document, as sent by email by “Angela Van Hammel” of Prenda Law, reports that the PDF document was created by a computer user by the name of Kerry Eckenrode (the maiden name of John Steele’s wife) and was created by “Steele Law Firm.” Exhibit “C” attached gives the simple properties of this document and evidences that it was created on 11/20/2012 even though it is dated the 11/18/2012. It is possible that John Steele created the letter at the request of Paul Duffy, but it is unlikely that it was ever presented to Mr. Duffy for his approval, as he would know of his representation in the Sunlust matters.

Next, Syfert explains why everyone listed in the motion’s title should be disciplined. It does not make much sense to summarize the remainder of the document: the motion is quite concise and easy to read.

 

Media coverage
Followups

On Tuesday, November 27, 2012 one of Prenda’s individual trolling cases, Sunlust Pictures LLC, v. Nguyen, (12-cv-01685) was dismissed by Judge Mary Scriven with fireworks (emphasis is mine):

Judge Mary Scriven
Federal Judge Mary Scriven

The case is dismissed for failure to appear at this hearing, for failure to present a lawful agent, for attempted fraud on the Court by offering up a person who has no authority to act on behalf of the corporation as its corporate representative, and the Court will hear, by motion, a motion for sanctions and fees against this Sunlust entity and everyone affiliated with it, including a motion against Mr. Wasinger for his purposeful failure to appear at this hearing.

And a motion will also be heard on Mr. Duffy for his lack of candor in relation to his connection with this matter based upon the representation of Mr. Torres that he was contacted by the Prenda Law Group or Prenda Law, Inc. for the purpose of being retained as local counsel in this case and that was not presented to the Court in this purportedcorrespondence. The case is dismissed.

I intend to advise the other Judges in the Courthouse of the nature of this matter and may refer this matter to the Florida Bar for further proceedings.

What preceded this ruling is an unreal, Kafkaesque hearing, that I offer for your enjoyment below. I read this transcript in a gym on a treadmill a couple of hours ago collecting strange looks from the gymgoers: my uncontrollable giggles and gasps were probably too loud.

THE COURT: Mr. Lutz, who is the individual who you just spoke to in the Courtroom with you?
MR. LUTZ: Sorry?
THE COURT: Who is that behind you?
MR. STEELE: Your Honor, my name is John Steele.
THE COURT: Who are you?
MR. STEELE: I’m an attorney, but not involved in this case.
THE COURT: You’re an attorney with what law firm?
MR. STEELE: I’m not an attorney with any law firm right now […]

During the entire hearing, the judge’s attempted to understand who was who in this comedy with everthickening plot. Despite that it was apparently the only actual agenda, I am not sure that the judge succeeded in figuring that out. The only thing that she seemingly got right is that she dealt with a bunch of fraudsters, and very sloppy ones. I hope that she will carry out her intentions to alert other judges and to ask the Florida Bar to conduct yet another investigation.

Although both this hearing and the resulted dismissal were based on procedural questions, if you want to learn about the merits (or the lack thereof, to be more precise) of this case, read an excellent motion to dismiss written by the defense counsel Graham Syfert.

Please set sharp things aside, do not eat and drink, and sit firmly and comfortably, so you cannot fall and injure yourself. Laughs are guaranteed (not for Steele though: I am sure that some unpleasant phone conversations ruined his evening).

After you wipe off your tears and your hiccups subside, I will have a question for you. I am waiting.

Ready?

Girls and boys, ladies and gentleman, senior citizens!

Do you understand that the clowns that appeared in this comedy are the very same people that manage to terrorize tens of thousands and to induce fear so irrational, that many, prior to understanding what’s going on, reach out their checkbooks and write four-figure amounts on the checks? How can it possibly happen?
Appendix. Prenda and Florida: a love story

Many things happened since my article/informal interview with Graham Syfert “Who and where is Prenda Law? What happened to John Steele?” written in May, but you do not need to follow all the intrigues, just one fact is enough to know. This fact is: Prenda has tried and failed to secure nine local counsels in Florida:

  • Joanne Diez: filed one case, it is not implausible that her name was used without her consent.
  • R.B.: the guy I don’t want to name, because John Steele has committed an identity theft and used his letterhead /email without his permission.
  • Joseph Perea: was an integral part of Prenda, officially left it, although continues trolling, investigated by the Florida Bar (initiated by multiple parties).
  • George Banas: resigned.
  • Maurice Castellanos: resigned.
  • Matthew Wasinger: resigned.
  • Jonathan Torres: resigned.
  • Alan Greenstein: a current counsel, but for how long will he hold the ground? :)

Every time a new guy understood that the newly acquired stink he couldn’t get rid of is exuded by Prenda Law, he ran away as quickly as possible. Even 75% contingency fee cannot persuade local lawyers to stain their future careers by associating themselves with a lawfirm that is actively investigated by the Florida Bar Association, and is expected to be investigated criminally in the nearest future.

Media coverage
Followups