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Back-of-the-napkin arithmetic: how much trolls are willing to pay when a defendant endangers their shakedown “business”?

by Doecumb

I’ve done some back-of-the-napkin arithmetic to make to estimate numbers in the Fantalis settlement. I won’t give too many details, to avoid encouraging any greedy would be trolls. It’s reasonable to assume that the overlord of the Lipscomb/Malibu/Patrick Collins/others gang is getting at least 50% of the collections. Different significant bad actors, including the apparent plaintiffs, are getting more like 10% shares. The number of Does allegations is much more than 10,000. Roughly half of Does have been settling, and the settlements are usually thousands of dollars.

Fantalis constructed thorough arguments. If he were very wealthy, he would be able to hire high powered lawyers or use influence to have allegations withdrawn. If he were very poor, there would be no financial assets for the trolls to chase. Fantalis has proven he’s determined. It would take a significant settlement to persuade him.

Lipscomb or the scheme overseer surely sees many ways revelation on the way to trial can stop the whole money machine. For instance, the troll lawyer contingency fee might be 90% of collections. Some plaintiff businesses may be revealed to be shell companies expressly set up by plaintiff and/or counsel immediately prior to allegations. The case load of the local attorneys may be unmanageable for anything except phone harassment of Does to collect quick settlements. Evidence of extreme false allegation cases may get into the record. Sensitive information about plaintiff finances or activities may be revealed. The quality of the supposed forensic tracking software may be evaluated. The reputation of the so-called forensic firms will also be questioned. The possibilities of I.P. hacking or mis-identification will be presented. And so on.

The overseers may be nasty but some have shown cunning. They must have done the calculation already about how much its worth for them to buy out Does who counter-sue, when abuses of the trolling scheme are close to surfacing. They may decide it’s a tiny percent of their earnings, or a small fraction.

Here’s the ballpark: A tiny percent of the overlord troll’s collections is in the $100,000 range. A few percent or more is in the $500,000 range, a fraction much more than a few percent gets above a million $. In a troll’s shoes, the greater the threat, the more it’s worth to keep a profitable business going.

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Discussion

7 responses to ‘Back-of-the-napkin arithmetic: how much trolls are willing to pay when a defendant endangers their shakedown “business”?

  1. Hoping that Jeff is enjoying the end of the lawsuit with a rum punch this Thanksgiving somewhere where trolls like to incorporate their clients’ shell alter egos.

    That being said, as Doecumb succinctly points out these lawsuits have generated millions of dollars based on questionable IP address collection methods/technology and nonexistent, fraudulent or flimsy copyright registrations. There is the potential for a huge legal cottage industry in suing the trolls to claw back these settlement monies. If Malibu Media is found to have had fraudulent copyright registrations during 2012, watch for the floodgates of recoupment lawsuits to explode.

  2. In Florida, an attorney representing a plaintiff under a contingent fee agreement cannot accept more than 33.33% of the recovery, plus out-of-pocket costs, prior to the expiration of time for the defendant to file an answer. Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, Rule 4-1.5(f)(4)(B)(i)(a). Most of these cases that do settle, settle prior to the Doe Defendant being served with a summons and complaint (Fantalis is an exception) such that the time to file an answer does not begin to run. Thus, 1/3 of the gross recovery is the maximum the plaintiff’s counsel should receive in Florida. Other jurisdiction may vary.

  3. Though I don’t have much to base it on, I doubt it was a 6 figure amount. I’d guess between 25-75k. I would imagine Fantalis genuinely wanted this over with and the allegations closed as it was causing him real world harm (as mentioned in his counter suite) and no doubt a lot of his free time to deal with on an ongoing basis.

    A payout in that range to an average middle class guy is enough to make a significant change in their life, and from the tonality and type of details presented in his counter claim (such as being denied a consolidation loan) I think he would fall into that category of person.

    • The nice thing is that Fantalis has done much of the leg work for countersuing does, since all the cases are so similar. The cookie-cutter nature of the suits may begin to backfire soon. 🙂

      • Most certainly, hiring an attorney to represent you is always the preferred course for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, if you can simply not afford counsel if would be very easy to modify a motion to dismiss or answer from another Malibu Media lawsuit to fit your particular circumstances.

  4. I suppose you dance much.May I know the quantity you require? Who told you that? Could you tell me what the maximum weight allowance is? Don’t give me that!We’ve got to do something about the neighbor’s dog!Be careful!Would you tell me your phone number?Be careful not to fall ill.Yet all these things, different as they seem, have one thing in common.

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