Two judges dismiss troll’s single Doe lawsuits due to sleazy litigation tactic

by Raul

In the Southern District of Florida (FLSD) there has been a recent development, involving a lawsuit, in which both Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga and Judge Patricia A. Seitz have dismissed former Prenda Law INC associate’s (Joseph Perea) lawsuits — each against a single John Doe. This merits a little examination. Cutting through the legal mumbo jumbo, the judges dismissed the lawsuits because they did not buy Perea’s arrogant justifications for a sleazy litigation tactic.

Listening… what is this “sleazy litigation tactic”?

Basically, Perea, as an associate of Prenda and now allegedly as a solo practitioner, will file a troll lawsuit in the FLSD and immediately make a motion for expedited discovery to issue third party subpoenas to ISPs — so as to discover the personal identifying information of the targeted John Does to shake them down for settlements. Typically, the motion would be granted. However, here is the sleazy part: instead of having the subpoenas issued out of the presiding FLSD court, Perea has them issued by Prenda’s “founding partner” Paul Duffy out of the Nothern District of Illinois (ILND) or the District of Columbia (DCD).

It also bears some examination as to whether Duffy, who is not licensed to practice law in Florida, can issue subpoenas that pertain to a Florida federal lawsuit.

Confused? That is the point. Almost any pro se John Doe would be in a quandary and would naturally file a motion to quash/sever or issue a protective order in the FLSD, but he would then face this greasy argument in opposition by Perea:

Because Movant failed to bring his motion before the court that issued the subpoena, his motion should be denied.

That’s right: Perea is arguing that the court that authorized the subpoena in the first place (FLSD) has no authority to hear a challenge to that same subpoena — because it was issued out of another court (which the authorizing judge had no idea was going to occur).

What has been the reaction of Doe Defenders?

It is beyond the scope of this post to examine every individual example of a Doe Defender (an attorney who defends the Doe) taking issue with this shady litigation tactic and the steps they have taken to combat it. However, there are two examples that ought to be mentioned.

Doe Defender William R. Wohlsifer pointed to this tactic in the lawsuit Sunlust Pictures v. Does 1-120 (FLSD 12-cv-20920) arguing in support of a (successful) motion to quash the subpoena and dismiss the lawsuit. In her Omnibus Order of 7/23/2012 granting the motion, Judge Seitz wonders (in footnote 10):

Pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 45 (c)(1), parties have an obligation to “avoid imposing undue burden or expense on a person subject to the subpoena.” Additionally, FED. R. CIV. P. 1 requires that the parties proceed in a cost-efficient manner. It is unclear why the subpoenas were issued in another judicial district for information about Doe Defendants who allegedly reside in this district.

Mr. Wohhlsifer currently has a motion pending before Judge Seitz to have the plaintiff pay his attorneys’ fees because the defendant is a prevailing party. I hope he is as successful with this motion as he was with the motion to quash the subpoena and dismiss the complaint.

The second example of a Doe Defender taking issue with this sleazy litigation tactic is Kubs Lalchandani — in the lawsuit Bubblegum Productions v. Does 1-80 (FLSD 12-cv-20367), which resulted in Perea finding himself in a pot of hot water. This case is noteworthy as well, because it marks the first time that Judge Seitz (in footnote 9) questions the sleazy litigation tactic involving the third party subpoenas.

How did the single Doe lawsuit dismissals come about?

Perhaps discouraged by the severances granted in the Sunlust and Bubblegum lawsuits, or perhaps in furtherance of Prenda’s much ballyhooed “new” business model to bring suits against individual John Does, in late July and in August Perea began filing individual John Doe lawsuits on behalf of Prenda clients Ingenuity 13 and AF holdings. In AF holdings v. Doe (FLSD 12-cv-22147), Perea draws Judge Seitz, who on 8/8/2012 issues an Order denying his motion to take early discovery of the personal identifying information of the John Doe. Judge Seitz writes:

Paintiff has not provided an adequate justification as to why the Court should authorize it to issue a subpoena from the District of Columbia for information it can obtain from a subpoena issued from the Southern District of Florida, where this lawsuit is pending and where Plaintiff alleges the sole Defendant resides and/or committed the alleged infringing activity. The Court has an interest in managing the discovery it authorizes in a lawsuit it is presiding over. This management includes challenges to the subpoenas, which the Court cannot address if the subpoenas are issued elsewhere.

And (emphasis is mine):

Finally, Plaintiffs insistence on issuing a subpoena from the District of Columbia, a judicial forum that has no connection to this lawsuit, appears to be a litigation tactic. In another BitTorrent copyright infringement case pending before this Court, Plaintiff s counsel issued a subpoena from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to obtain subscriber information from Comcast for Doe Defendants who allegedly reside and/or committed infringing activity in the Southern District of Florida. Bubble Gum Productions, LLC v. Does 1-80, Case No. 12-20367-C1V-SEITZ/SIMONTON, (DE 13-1). Thereafter, a number of the Doe Defendants tiled motions to sever or, in the alternative, to quash the subpoenas in this Court. On July 19, 2012, the Court issued an Order Granting Defendants’ Motions to Sever, Dismissing Claims Against Does 2-80 Without Prejudice, and Vacating the Portion of its Order Granting Early Discovery as to Does 2-80. Id. at (30). However, the Court could not quash the subpoenas as to Does 2-80 because they had been issued from the District of Columbia. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(c)(3)(A).Four days after issuance of the Court’s July 19, 2012 Order, Plaintiff tiled a Renewed Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena against Comcast in the District of Columbia, and failed to inform the D.C. Court in that Motion of this Court’s July 19, 2012 Order. BubbleGum Productions, LLC v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, Case No.12-00382-MC-HUVELLE, (DE 6). The D.C. Court was subsequently informed of this Court’s Order by Comcast and denied Plaintiff’s Motion and issued an Order to Show Cause because it viewed Plaintiff’s actions as an attempt to perpetuate a fraud upon the court.

Judge Seitz has since killed at least one other Perea’s single Doe lawsuit on this ground.

Subsequently, Perea files a lawsuit Ingenuity 13, LLC v. Doe (FLSD 12-cv-22756), draws Judge Altonaga and, again, files a motion to take early discovery. Judge Altonaga, like Judge Seitz, denies the motion with leave to refile, provided Perea supplies a justification for the questionable litigation tactic. On 8/23/2012 Perea refiles along with his “justifications” that ooze with hubris and sarcasm, and which space does not permit elaboration on. (I’ll leave that to the comments :)) Judge Altonaga handed down an Order on 8/29/2012, denying the discovery because:

Plaintiff wholly fails to address why Comcast’s production or inspection cannot be made in the Southern District of Florida where John Doe resides, and therefore, why the subpoena cannot be issued in this judicial district.


Plaintiff does not specify what burden will be imposed on it should the subpoena issue from this district as opposed to the District of Columbia. Indeed, as Plaintiff has brought suit in this district, Plaintiff presumably is also available to receive discovery here.

It is my hope that denying troll motions to take early discovery on the basis of this dishonest litigation tactic spreads far and wide.

In closing, I wish to leave you with a music video by a band that elects to innovate in the Internet rather than sue it.

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44 responses to ‘Two judges dismiss troll’s single Doe lawsuits due to sleazy litigation tactic

  1. Great article. Very nice to see FLSD waking up and putting a stop to Perea. The more of this happening in Florida could be a major hit on the trolls.

    A question I have is, (Raul maybe you can answer this), is Perea having these suits issued out of Illinois after his “parting of ways” with Prenda?

      • Thanks for replying. When I read that part of the article, it got me thinking that, why would Perea be using Prenda after stating he parted ways?? I still think he is associated with them and is trying to keep it on the low. And if that is the case, then he pretty much screwed the pooch by having them issue his subpoenas. If Perea is on his own, then he should be doing the issuing on his own.

        I know this guy is shady and sleazy, but damn, how much lower can he go??

        Down with all Trolls

        • Apparently disbarment and being on the ass end of multiple civil suits is his goal. Only an idiot attorney would harass a defendant who’s represented by counsel. He’s facing sanctions and FL Bar investigation but why stop there? Piss off some more judges, fuck up some more cases.

        • @Irritated Troll Hater I actually think that it should be obvious not to make mistakes like that. It’s the easiest way to get disbarred, and the FL Bar is already watching him (or at least they are supposed to be).

    • Well in the Ingenuity 13 case where he was denied discovery…twice, he had Duffy issue the subpoenas DCD. He’s listed “Of counsel Prenda Law” on the complaint. Of counsel basically means he’s employed by Prenda but he’s not an associate, partner, etc. He got busted after he substituted himself for…himself when he allegedly disassociated with Prenda but was sending settlement leaders signed by himself on Prenda letterhead to a represented Doe. He’s facing sanctions in that case (another Seitz case…she must love Joe).

        • Might wanna send that to the judge if your case is still open. In my case, he personally called me and sent me multiple settlement letters after my case was dismissed…and I’m not even in Florida so what the hell can he do to me anyway. The call was pathetic. “This is ummm…Joe…from…ummm…Prenda….blah blah pay us….have a nice day…once again, this is Joe…bye” if it hadn’t been Prenda I would’ve picked up and started laying into him.

  2. I’m seriously considering filing a complaint against Perea with the Florida Bar after discussing his, uh, bullshit for the last few days. That asshole sent me two settlement letters after I was dismissed from my case and it wasn’t even his case nor could it have been since he’s not licensed to practice in ILND.

    • Please do. I sent a copy of my letter to SJD to forward it to the Florida bar. I think it would be safe to assume, the more the merrier! Perea needs to be stopped. And, not just a monetary fine, but sanctioned and disbarred.

      Down with all Trolls

      • My case was dismissed back at the end of February. I’m sure I got a call from Perea at one point, but I haven’t checked in quite a while. I’m not in Florida either, which is a good thing. I do remember having a nasty message from someone with Prenda. I think I even had one or two from Mark Lutz.

        • Oh they bombarded my voicemail. For the first few months post-dismissal, I’d get a call from that knuckle-dragger Lutz twice a week. They were robocalling me up until mid-July, regularly scheduled almost. Then it just stopped. I’ve got at least 30 calls post-dismissal and more that I didn’t record on my digital voice recorder.

      • I did forward it to Jen (a hero Doe who started all this bar complaint business), did not check if she contacted the bar: it may be that they have enough evidence already. The fact that Perea is seemingly does not care anymore, he himself thinks that he is a done deal in a legal sense.

        Yet everyone can contact the bar directly: look at the document embedded in the post about this issue: it has names an addresses of people to contact.

        • He’s certainly behaving recklessly, but I could say the same about Duffy after this AT&T/Comcast thing and now Guava, which is sure to be discovered as the mother of all cons. It’s almost like they don’t think about anything with the exception of money of course.

          “Here, I got a great idea. Since you couldn’t get the IPs the first time, let’s incorporate a holding company, transfer all of the copyrights to it, then the holding company will file suit and get the IPs.”

    • Ditto @ITH. It is only by proactive activities by the DOE DEFENDANTS that the Florida Bar will stand up and do something about these tactics. Us attorneys can scream all we want; the most powerful voice is the one who is being INJURED (guilty or not is irrelevant).

  3. Its so nice to see the Judges catch up with the program, that these cases aren’t what they claim they are and they are using every cheap trick in the book to keep them alive.
    One can only hope that they launch a full investigation into this idiot and there is just a happy paper trail leading to Prenda and the fun expands.

    Come on Johnny boy, come tell us how this isn’t a bad thing for you. Tell us how we have this all wrong, the Judges are wrong and your not a sleaze.
    I’mmmmm waaaaaiiiittting…..

    • yes john please gloat about your single doe suits. tell us how you are filling 300 suits this months. how they are working so well for you… many have filed for discovery against you?? how many have been dismissed as total crap?? please have a couple o shots of that courage juice you love so much and get up the nerve to chat us up 🙂

      • John Steele is a fucking pussy. He goes on sites like this using a VPN and trashes us. Wow, what an example of courage, using a Swedish (I’m just making shit up but it’s in Europe) VPN to trash people he’s attempted to extort. He’s a fucking coward who will hide until he gets a favorable ruling, which are few and far between now. He hardly ever posts on here. I can’t remember the last time the asshat of Illinois graced us with his presence. This has gotta be the biggest fraud perpetrated on the U.S. court system so the FBI’s gonna want their pound of flesh. What happens when the house of cards collapses, John? Do you have a contingency plan like, say, Ecuador? You’d be in good company there with murderers and rapists escaping extradition to the U.S. so I’m sure you’ll be fine there…until your money runs out.

        • I would also love an update. The last time John tried one of his sad, sad, and getting sadder attempts at spreading FUD he said Prenda’s current capacity was 100 named cases a month… Well, that was a month ago and they haven’t even filed named suits against 100 people total, and I doubt they have served 5. John and his crew of losers are so off their game they are forgetting they even have ‘named’ cases on the dockets and getting them dismissed for lack of service.

          I’m really disappointed in John because the more people they name the bigger the shitstorm is going to be, so all his cowardly lack of action does is prolong Prenda’s miserable existence.

          I also wouldn’t mind hearing what happened to Lutz.

        • I believe the FUD spreading is at an end, or Steele’s drinking is impairing his ability to…walk. No one believes him. He’s not even credible in the first place and every time I read what he vomits out onto the keyboard it makes me laugh. 300 more cases by October? Tick tock, John.

          Maybe just naming people and seeing if they’ll file an answer, then letting it sit on the docket for a good four months is Steele’s idea of “litigation.” If they don’t file an answer, default judgment. That’s where he gets the whole FUD arrest warrant bullshit. Some judge issues arrest warrants for contempt for not answering a summons. Perea actually moved to have someone served via publication (newspaper I’m guessing) and the judge denied it. “Oh we’re so big and fucking bad but we won’t even come to your house to drop off some papers.” They should just be happy that I don’t live in Texas 🙂

          I’d love to hear what Marky Poo Lutz has to say for himself. Maybe he’s gone because he became the laughing stock of the community? Eh, I dunno, floating ideas while I drink. He may have attempted to torment me (and gave me a good laugh in the process) for over a year, but if he’s got something good then I’d love to hear it.

  4. I can only pressume that another reason for the Guava LLC is a shield against counter suits. Guava probably has nearly zero assets. Someone could eventually crush the shield surely, but it would take a long time. Hell its probably even owned by another shield LLC with no assets LOL. For most peopel it wouldn’t be worth it to persue counter complaints long enough to get through. Though the counter complaints help inform the Judges at least.

    • Going after Guava’s parent shouldn’t be an issue at all and it wouldn’t take much time, especially if whoever the plaintiff is can show that Guava is just a facade, that it does not operate at arm’s-length from its parent, commingles assets, and yada yada. Any half-decent corporate attorney with discovery could easily nail Guava’s ass to the wall and go after whoever’s running the show. They could also argue that Duffy as well as other Prenda members aided and abetted, civil conspiracy, etc. Basically, Guava may be judgment proof, but its parent(s) will not be and Duffy could find himself in a deep pile of shit.

  5. Perea’s 8/23/12 refiling submitted to Judge Altonaga reads like an almost tantrum, where Perea half kept it together while writing in legalese. It does not seem courteous.

    Some of his arguments tend toward the ridiculous. Here’s one: The porn purveyor plaintiff (Ingenuity13, but apparently the Prenda gang) “established its subpoena processing location in” DC because “a large proportion of Internet Service Providers have a presence in” DC “or northern Virginia”. Doesn’t any large urban area in the U.S. have numerous ISP’s ?! Readers know that one judge in DC was formerly an MPAA lobbyist.

    Near the end of his discussion, Perea baldly states: “ Federal courts should not dictate litigation tactics to the parties, so long as the tactics are consistent with the law.” The undertone could be read as if trolls can determine what is lawful and judges cannot. The case reference Perea uses, Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987), is very different. It allows employees with a (state law) grievance to apply their state laws in their state court rather than federal. This might be precisely one of the arguments for Does to use when Prenda violates state laws in harassing Does!,_Inc._v._Williams

    This troll submission, Perea style, is another example of a troll agent using evasive and confusing answers to the courts.

    I’m sure that Raul, as he mentions, could elaborate a lot on Perea’s screed here. I thank Raul for raising so many important points in his post.

    • So I’m using a new moniker…I was gonna go for “Anonymous Ass” but opted for “Dude” instead 😛

      When Perea cited Marbury v. Madison in one of his motions in the Ingenuity 13 case (1:12-cv-22756-CMA) I literally spat my beer at my computer monitor since the citation referred to the majority opinion, as written by Chief Justice Marshall, that states the law should be interpreted on an absolute basis. I doubt that in 1803, barely after our country was founded, Chief Justice John Marshall had ever anticipated scum like Perea, Duffy, Steele, and Gibbs popping out of the woodwork.

      “Rule 45 cannot support an interpretation that renders Plaintiff unable to identify those who violated its copyrights. See Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 163 (1803) (‘The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.’).”

  6. While at work today I was thinking…. Perea really does not care about his profession. He knows he has been reported to the Florida Bar for his actions. He harasses people who have an attorney representing them. He boldly lies to the court. And he goes behind the court’s back (where he is located), and when he gets caught and questioned about it, he basically says; “fuck you, I’m doing what I want and you can’t stop me or tell me what to do”.

    This guy keep digging a deeper hole for himself and just doesn’t care. I agree with TAC that a full investigation is needed. And I also hope there is a paper trail leading back to Prenda with all kinds of fun stuff. Including: how many/much settlements they have received, information that was supposedly destroyed upon order, an employee handbook on how to be a copyright troll, the list could go on.

    Perea and Prenda both are becoming more and more reckless. They are doing whatever they can to get “their” money, and they don’t care who they stomp on, whether it’s an innocent person or the courts. The courts know what is going on finally and if they have been filing info aside for a possible investigation on Prenda or other trolls, we probably won’t know until something were to happen.

    One day, the trolls limousine is gonna crash into a tree because of an excessive ‘beer-thirty’ party. And they will have no one to blame but themselves. When it eventually happens, I’ll be on the corner smiling and sipping my Dos Equis. Anybody care to join me in the festivities????

    Down with all Trolls

    • I’m sure the FBI is well aware of Prenda’s activities but can’t do anything since not enough people have come forward. It’s just a matter of time before their incompetence and hubris are fully intertwined and they make a HUGE mistake. I have to wonder if Duffy or Steele is/are pulling Perea’s strings by holding something over his head…i.e. blackmail.

      Paper trail, I guarantee there’s one but it’ll disappear the moment that Prenda gets the slightest clue that law enforcement is going to show up with a search warrant or when they’re sued and the judge approves discovery. That or they’re kept electronically off-shore. However, the federal government has shown that it has no problem raiding non-citizens located in their home countries, much less U.S. citizens within the U.S. who are hiding their shit overseas. Prenda’s dirty laundry isn’t safe anywhere.

      I also guarantee that they have contracts with non-competes as well as NDAs signed by all of the “affiliated” scumbag attorneys. Of course, an NDA is null and void when disclosing criminal activities and it looks like Perea will be the first to go down. Who wants to take bets on whether he spills his guts? Lutz is already gone, I can’t wait for him to come out of the woodwork, if he ever does. Given his history at Prenda, I believe he’s gonna have a hard time finding gainful employment with his rep seeing as how many honest people can’t find a job.

    • He only drops by to gloat about a pyrrhic victory (I haven’t seen any of those lately…or ever), not when one of his lackeys is getting referred to the Florida Bar by a federal judge (on top of the multiple pending complaints by Does), he’s in deep shit in ILSD, the proverbial pile of shit in Arizona, and a bunch of other not so good stuff.

  7. lol “back in june” the judge in miami has yet to rule on the initial motions filed on perea’s LSM case. those filings are from MARCH.

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