Three new documents were filed with the court yesterday.
1. Court clerk entered default of two defendants who failed to response to the amended complaint in 21 days.
Although I advocate not responding to threatening letters and not paying ransoms, if one is named in a lawsuit and served with a summon, not replying to a complaint is not wise, especially if there is a proof of delivery. Laws are laws, and judges don’t have much room when issuing default judgments.
2. Chung Rong Zheng, who filed a good response to complaint with the help of a lawyer, was dismissed with prejudice.
Why with prejudice? Fear of another David Salery? For those who did not read my recent post, David Salery (IO Group v. Does 1-50) is opposing his dismissal without prejudice, so Sperlein probably does not want another fighting defendant and prefers to part with Zheng forever, before our troll is potentially forced to pay defendant’s attorney fees.
3. Sperlein filed a separate case management statement, in which he asks the judge to cancel the case management conference, scheduled for August 26:
The wording suggests that Sperlein does not have any intention to amend this case in order to name more defendants. As such, we probably can relax, yet I don’t understand our official status: we were not explicitly dismissed from the case. Most likely, after the judge rules on the two default entries on or before August 26, Sperlein will dismiss the entire lawsuit (without prejudice – just in case).
In theory Sperlein can file other lawsuits naming some of us, but I doubt it. Remember: his real goal is to extort settlements from those who can be easily scared. Note that he has already collected about $90K from this case only. It is unlikely that those who decided not to pay will change their minds later, so expected settlement rate would be very low, and hence does not justify an investment. You can brew strong coffee from the same beans only once.
It looks like Sperlein is slightly smarter than other trolls (especially Steele the clown): looking at the recent events, I personally think that because of mounting public outcry and judges’ growing awareness, Sperlein is thinking about an exit strategy — minimizing the inevitable damage to his reputation. Sperlein is considering a political career (recently he ran for the San Francisco Entertainment Commission but lost), and despite his talents in twisted rhetoric, this trolling saga can be a fatal blow to these ambitious plans.