Long overdue update on Guava v. Skyler Case (Prenda’s Cook County lawsuit)

Exactly two months ago, I wrote about one of the Prenda’s most brazenly frivolous case — Guava v. Skyler Case (2012-L-007363) and its “cousin” — Arte De Oaxaca v. Stacey Mullen (12-L-9036). That post ended with a report from the September 25 hearing, and the report was very promising: the subpoenas were stayed, Judge Tailor was angry: he seemingly clearly understood the real goals of the game that Prenda has been playing in his court, and he did not like it. He even suspected the collusion between Prenda and the defendant’s lawyer, Adam Urbanczyk, and did not hesitate to openly inquire about it. The next hearing date was set to October 26 (and was later moved to November 4), and the agenda was to discuss the motions to quash, the majority of which were filed by the alleged “co-conspirators,” represented by attorney Erin Russell.

Some developments took place between these two hearings. These developments help to understand what eventually happened at the November 4 hearing and after it.

Prenda’s enemy #1

Erin Russell became John Steele’s Enemy #1 around the September hearing. Why? Because, as John believed, she brought too much publicity to what was going on in the obscure (on the national level) Cook County court, and (again, according to his beliefs) she informed the judges (or at least one judge — Tailor) about the real nature of these cases. No surprise that this knowledge jeopardized Prenda’s to-be smooth shakedown campaign, in which, as the blackmailers believed, nothing could go wrong, and the names of the putative extortion targets would be obtained without any opposition. The entire operation was supposed to fly smoothly under the radar of the public eye.

Was Steele right about the Erin’s role? My opinion: yes and no.

  • Yes. Erin indeed filed damn good motions that explained the scam in detail, and the judge obviously listened to her.
  • No. If Erin was not involved at all, someone else would open the judge’s eyes, and there is no way the blogosphere would not notice such a brazen assault on the judicial system: for instance, I started receiving hints long before the September events.

Anyway, you can look yourself how pissed off Steele was. The following sheer hysteria in one Steele-written, Duffy-signed document makes it clear: this apparently experienced and talented lawyer appeared to botch a lucrative scam, and she had no intention to go away.

Defendants’ role in the conspiracy

I’m not talking about thousands of alleged “co-conspirators,” but about the two “official” defendants in these cases, both represented by allegedly anti-troll EFF-listed attorney Adam Urbanczyk. The sequence of events in both cases was eyebrow-raising to say the least: Prenda and the defense signed an agreed order allowing the crooks to subpoena ISPs for subsequent shakedown without any opposition whatsoever, and without any court-imposed safeguards. Remember, in underfunded state courts, if adversaries agree on something, judges are more than happy to sign it: in many cases, judges do not even read what they sign. The Arte of Oaxaca case’s development was even more bizarre: such astonishingly short was the time span (two business days) between the complaint and the agreed order, which was signed prior to the defendant’s Answer, prior even to a formal appearance of the defense counsel!

One more bad-aftertaste-inducing incident took place on October 1, followed by a motion where Erin described Adam’s allegedly less-than-noble behavior:

Not a surprise that Adam immediately offered his side of the story, effectively calling Erin a liar, he even wrote a long and (sorry, Adam) unconvincing blog post about this ordeal.

In the meantime, Mr. Adam Urbanczyk continues to play a role of a diligent defense counsel, even though all his filings are rather toothless, and it is hard to brush off an impression that he acts in a major fear of angering John Steele and his gang.

Urbanczyk even filed an official deposition notice that listed mind-bogging 10 (!) questions, every one of which can be answered by anyone leisurely following this case after massaging the information this blog’s community managed to gather. Just compare this discovery request (which looks more like an example from a legal textbook) with the set of 300+ harsh discovery questions Jeff Fantalis presented to the trolls. (Fantalis’s questions ultimately led to Malibu Media paying its way out of disaster.)

What is Guava?

Before I continue to the November hearing, it is worth to remind that Guava is nothing else but Lightspeed Media. Remember, Adam Urbanzcik told us:

Guava, LLC, as we know it, is a rights-holding company and the case pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County is somewhat of a spiritual successor to the infamous 11-L-0683 Lightspeed Media case filed late last year in St. Clair County, Illinois. It is our understanding that Prenda’s experience with Lightspeed Media’s representatives being personally identified and threatened as a result of the lawsuits (the 11-L-0683 case, and others) has led to its clients forming these even more ambiguously-titled entities to (relatively) save face.

So it is clear that Lightspeed = Guava. Note that “Guava LLC” is an entity that most likely was never registered and does not exist — we could find a slight trace of it. If this this guess turns to be correct, there may be grave consequences for both Lightspeed (which is on sale as a company) and Prenda. Regarding Adam’s comment cited above, I object to using the word “spiritual” — these people have no soul, hence nothing about them can be described as “spiritual.”

Another solid proof of Guava/Lightspeed equivalency is a release agreement I received from a guy who had settled. I cannot publish this document in its entirety (as a matter of fact, I have only a fragment that the guy sent to me using TOR), but the line that connects both fraudsters is worth displaying:


Also, rewinding fast forward, Steele said the following during the November 4 hearing. My mind is reeling: just imagine a judge hearing all this crap (the wording is not exact, restored from a witness’ memory, but the meaning is correct):

Guava owns protected computers, but the files stored in that computers contain copyrighted stuff, and the copyrights belong to a third company. Guava goes after people because of hacking, but that third company, which also happens to be our client, may say: look, this IP address infringed our copyright, so we may decide to go after the same IP for copyright infringement.

So what does it mean? If you are not at work (not safe due to a lot of bad taste signatures and avatars!), visit this GFY thread, where Steve Lightspeed tried to brag about his “forensic” software, Arcadia Security’s THIEF 2.0., but instead of receiving a bubble bath of cheers, he was ridiculed by his peers, specifically because of the purported accuracy of his homemade scripts. So, since Plaintiff’s principal, Steve Jones, retained a script kiddie Steve Jones to use Steve Jones’s “forensic” software in Guava/Arte de Oaxaca cases, even setting the obvious conflict of interest aside, it can be safely guaranteed that at least half of the folks who received ransom letters, has nothing to do with the alleged “hacking.” Why feds don’t look into this, puzzles me. Or do they?

November 4th hearing

On October 24, two days before the hearing, Paul Duffy called the court clerk and asked to postpone the hearing because he “needed surgery.” Those who are not burdened with such funny qualities as honesty and integrity, often have an upper hand since they can lie appealing to empathy and get what they want. I have no idea if Duffy actually needed/had a surgery — it is not so difficult to check, but I bet he did not. Even more, his purported health issues are absolutely irrelevant: 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. During both hearings, he did not open his mouth besides naming himself at the beginning.

I suspect that the real boss is not even John Steele, but rather Paul Hansmeier: Steele brought him to the hearing and communicated with him all the time, while Paul did not pronounce a word during the entire hearing.

The postponement was entirely strategic: by October 26 the dismissal of Erin’s clients was not finalized and she would clearly had a voice. On November 5, every one of Ms. Russel’s clients was dismissed (to the best of Prenda’s knowledge), and Steele could not resist a tirade in front of the judge (the wording is not exact, but the meaning is):

…it is not clear what this woman is doing here: her clients were not parties in the first place, and did not have standing to question subpoena, and now they are doubly non-parties after being dismissed.

He then even suggested that Erin had been seeking a cheap fame by means of being related to a case that has drawn national attention (his words). Well… I would say that it is a very questionable honor to have any, even most distant business with Mr. Steele: it is rather burdensome to take an emergency shower (the urge is overwhelming!) after being in the same room with this paragon of ethics.

The hearing was rather short: Erin’s motions were ruled moot, and the next hearing on the other two motions by the “co-conspirators” represented by Jeffrey Antonelli and another attorney was postponed until December 12. The subpoena stay was not lifted (which is good). Here is the order.

There is still hope that Judge Tailor knows what to do with this shame of a case, we will see. Note that phrase in the order “If all the pending motions to quash are withdrawn […] plaintiff may motion this court for his […] lifting of the stay” was added by the plaintiff, and, unlike I thought initially, does not mean much.

What happened to the dismissed “co-conspirators”?

All of them are being sued in federal courts all over the country. Prenda used its goons to file at least ten cases. I’ll talk about them below in more detail.

It is hardly a rational cause of events. Steele’s ego told him to vindicate Erin whatever it costs. First, let us see some of the statements widely believed to be tweeted by Steele. Of course, there is no strict proof (and he even mocked his correspondents: “What you know vs what you can prove little mice!“), but given his inside knowledge, his hallmark unique grammar mistakes, and the fulfillment of the promises, I’m 99% sure: it is John Steele.

So, his drunken rage resulted is some tweets that, if proven, in a normal country would cost a lawyer his license (the last one is especially egregious):

  • I bet Mitch Goldstein is happy to have hired atty Russell.This is what happened 6 hours after her representation letter
  • @ThatAnonDude @Raul15340965 Yep, the Bull has huge balls. And her first two people we sued just settled! Hmmm, suing individuals is nice!
  • @ThatAnonDude @ThePirateSlayer Ask Erin how that conversation with Mitch Goldstein went when he fired her, hired new atty and settled. SLAP!
  • I wonder if 32 individual cases are currently popping up around the country right now for people represented by one particular IL atty:)
  • Another former E.R. client in IL begging to settle, claiming their former atty never let them know the risks of fighting. Mmm, malpractice?
  • @ThatAnonDude @CopyrightCat I just hope that none of the pirates ever cut a deal to get off in exchange for providing info on certain attys.

(See the entire collection of [supposedly] John Steele’s tweets — unfortuately without the context, out of conversations — here, here, and here.)

In addition, John appeared in the comment section and left the following turd from IP address on October 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm:

I’ll take my medicine when things don’t go my way. I give credit to Erin Russell, although she was as surprised as I was the judge stayed the discovery. Don’t worry, all the info was already back except for one ISP. Oh, BTW, you pirates will note there is a new pleading in the Guava case withdrawing the IP’s of all of Erin’s clients from discovery. I wonder why? ? ? Hmmmm. Its a puzzle. Here is a clue. Check tomorrow at 5pm.

Again, congratulations Erin, I’m sure the rest of your clients will be as happy as Mitch Goldstein is in a couple of days.

As it is often said, no comments necessary. However, I cannot help quoting one comment from a reader:

Anonymous says on October 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Steele is trying to make it look like filing against Erin’s clients in federal court is a “revenge” tactic directed at them, to make things tougher on them, but it is really pragmatic and a sign of desperation.

If all of Erin’s clients are dismissed from the state case and put in a federal case instead, that means she isn’t there to monkey with his state case anymore, and he can show up with Adam and they can collude unopposed (although it may be a bit too late for that as this judge seems to know what’s up). THAT is the real game here, to be able to show up in court with his buddy and be the only two who get to have a say in how the case plays out.

The fact that this is a 5-Doe case and not 5 named cases is a giveaway, he’s trying to reduce the risk and cost associated with this move. Naming the Does raises the stakes and filing 5 suits costs 5 times as much. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t even bother to follow up on the 5-Doe case, lets it go 120 without service and it gets dismissed or he dismisses it. As long as their lawyer stays out of the courtroom in the Guava state case he doesn’t care.

So, in the end we see that John is just being a pussy as usual and can’t deal with a case when there is opposing counsel, especially if he’s getting his ass beat by a girl.

Erin should go thermonuclear on this bullshit. I would further suggest that this is getting way beyond sanctionable conduct.

Federal Guava cases

There are 10 federal Guava cases that list 1 to 3 “proper” IP addresses, the ones located in a particular state, yet majority, if not all of those complaints also demand the entire set, the same 34 IP addresses to be subpoenaed (actually 33 — one of the addresses is erroneously listed twice in all four complaints):

Essentially, the fraudsters have duplicated their discovery requests in up to ten different jurisdictions simultaneously (is that even legal?), and it looks like at least four of those districts gave them what they wanted, probably unaware of what they are doing elsewhere. If the info has not been purged yet on the ISP end, they’ll get the names of the subscribers for up to 33 IP addresses courtesy of judicial laziness in AZ, MA, CT, and GA.

Note that time stamps are missing from the pleadings.

There are some unique developments in every one of these cases, but this post is already obscenely long. It would be nice to have a follow-up analysis (or at least simple reporting) of these developments. Any volunteers? Also, I will be grateful if you report any inaccuracies in this post.

The only thing I can’t help noticing is one particular blooper that appears in more than one complaint: some of these cases have been openly declared as copyright lawsuits. For instance, in the Alabama case’s complaint, we read on p. 2:

This Court has personal jurisdiction over the Defendant because, upon information and belief, they either reside in or committed copyright infringement within the State of Alabama.

This sloppiness has undermined Prenda bosses’ hard work of bulshitting courts — making them believe that copyright has nothing to do with the CFAA lawsuits. Only recently Steele, with foam dripping from his mouth, opposed Jason Sweets’ statement that Lightsped’s cases are essentially copyright actions:

Even the most inattentive review of the Complaint clearly demonstrates that this is not a copyright action. Smith chooses to ignore that fact and premises his Motion on arguments that, even if they were correct (which they are not), would be properly argued in an action involving claims for copyright infringement. Smith could have avoided needlessly wasting the Court’s time if he had based his arguments on what is actually in the Complaint, rather than what he may have been charged with if he were in a copyright case action.


Smith needn’t have bothered making the vast majority of the arguments in his motion, because this is not a copyright case. This case is about computer hacking and theft…

Apparently, Steele has neglected to inform his minions that mentioning copyright is a big no-no. Consequently, poor underemployed wannabe lawyers roam on legal fields like goats whose owner failed to tie them.

We will continue following these cases and their eventual downfall. Visit this page again: I will post updates.

Today’s Guava case management conference was super-quick: Duffy and Urbanzcyk (only those two presented, Steele has a bigger headache to address) said to Judge Tailor that they deposited their “clients”. The judge “thumbed nose at additional subpoenas” (in witness’ words) and set the next hearing to 1/16/2013: at that date he wants to see the transcripts of the said depositions, as if he does not believe that they were genuine (or even performed at all). I asked some lawyers, and they confirmed: such an order is rather extraordinary.



Today’s hearing, according to a witness, was quick: Judge Tailor once again reiterated his usual concerns about the case and ordered both sides to present deposition transcripts by 1/30/2013. Subpoenas are still stayed. It’s a one-line order:

Transcripts of both plaintiff’s and defendant’s depositions shall be provided to the court by Jan 30,2013

Next hearing is set to 2/20/2013, 9:20 am.



Relevant pages

  • All the documents from the state “hacking,” allegedly collusive cases are located on this page. A discussion is going on there as well.
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75 responses to ‘Long overdue update on Guava v. Skyler Case (Prenda’s Cook County lawsuit)

  1. This post is perfect as far as timing is concerned. Guava, LLC just filed in the Minnesota state court, and I am sure the defense attorneys there will be looking to rip this case apart like smoke-stained paper.

    • I hope so!! I live in Wisconsin and recieved a letter in the mail this week. One question, Art is copywritted. Movies,book,music,paintings right. California voters said porn is so filthy and discussing and disease ridden that they must wear condoms. Copyright were not intended for filth.

  2. TAD recently reposted a new Prenda scare letter on his twitter, and once again I was struck by the spoliation of evidence line. If the does are not party to the suit and are not movants and, according to Prenda, lack any standing to begin with to file motions, how can they say in their extortion letters that we cannot delete anything from our computers or be charged with spoliation of evidence?

  3. Wow. The breadth and depth of this post in exposing the greed and sleaze manifesting itself in the Guava lawsuits is welcome and timely. Many Does are, once again, receiving extortion letters from Prenda demanding 4K to settle this toothless, meritless and idiotic lawsuit which is worthy of a criminal inquiry. The only question you left unanswered is what will one of my favorite Doe Defenders do with a pair of troll testicles once the dust settles? Earrings?

  4. Does this have any impact on the Arte de Oaxaca case though? How would this affect those that already have extortion letters?

  5. Dear XYZ at Pretenda Law,
    You admittedly connected to my BitTorrent client without my express authorization. I give you this opportunity to settle my claim for $4,000 US. This will be my last and final settlement offer before I file suit against you and pursue civil and criminal claims for hacking and wiretapping under federal and state statutes.
    – John Doe

  6. “Each of four of those complaints demands the same 34 IP addresses to be subpoenaed (actually 33 — one of the addresses is erroneously listed twice in all four complaints).”

    Those IP addresses were also listed as an exhibit in the motions for expedited discovery in the AZ, CT, and MA cases (verified in PACER) and and also assuming the GA case (couldn’t see it in PACER). UNFORTUNATELY, the judges in each of those those 4 cases GRANTED the ex parte motions for early discovery! So, even though Howell is giving them hell in DC for example, they’ve been given what they wanted via AZ, MA, CT and GA. Essentially, they’ve duplicated their discovery requests in what looks like 8 different jurisdictions SIMULTANEOUSLY (is that legal?), and it looks like at least four of those districts gave them what they wanted, probably unaware of what they are doing elsewhere. If the info has not been purged yet on the ISP end, they’ll get the names of the subscribers for up to 33 IP addresses courtesy of judicial laziness in AZ, MA, CT and GA.

      • Thanks. Also, there are some previous replies in the other Guava/Arte post that points out this duplication of discovery thing across jurisdictions. For example….

        Since Nov 12 (see last post linked above), the ex parte discovery has been granted in MA and CT (Raul also pointed this out in the CT thread) as well leaving quadruplicate granted discovery of the same info between AZ, GA, MA and CT. There may even be more right now for all I know as I haven’t checked the other cases in several days.

        Being a layman, my question is: Is this practice of seeking identical and duplicate/triplicate/etc discovery simultaneously across jurisdictions legal? I honestly don’t know from an “in stone” legal standpoint, but from a common sense standpoint it seems fishy and sleazy at best.

        • I want to clarify the question. (I’m not a lawyer.) I have not analyzed these case motions and lists in total. If I understand correctly, you are asking about the SAME Does implicated in the same troll “infringement” allegation for the same troll “work”?

          We’ve seen many cases involving the same plaintiff and same porn “work”, filed in different jurisdictions against Does in that jurisdiction. We’ve also seen involving the same plaintiff and a different porn “work” with the same case wording just replacing one porn title with another. While there are questionable things about them, there are theoretical divisions where one jurisdiction would be the reasonable forum.

          Filing “exact” duplicates of cases (same plaintiff, work and Doe defendants) is forum shopping. What you describe is forum shopping to a very bad degree.

          At the VERY LEAST, this would be a breach that every judge (and every Doe and Doe lawyer) in any state hearing these cases should know about. It would be good to notify the attorney general’s office and Bar Association of all states involved.

          The idea of “concurrent jurisdiction” is generally used when there is an argument to be made in both Federal court and state court, or in the courts of two different countries. That’s different from different districts in the same system.

          Double dipping, triple dipping and more is important to report. It is evidence that could be included in other cases involving the same troll law groups and the same troll porn purveyor plaintiffs. The multiple troll forum shopping moves could reasonably be raised in explaining the shakedown scheme to the court in any porn purveyor troll case.

          Disclaimer: This post is not to be construed as legal advice and is for discussion purposes only.

        • In reading over things, I did not see the comment about the same 33 IP addresses showing up in AZ, CT, and MA. Since IP addresses assigned to (dynamic) accounts change often (daily, etc.), it seems unlikely that the exact same IP address list would receive allegations for several different porn purveyor plaintiff “works” on the same day. It sounds like double/multiple dipping.

        • Notifying judges is a noble thing to do (hell, the bellwether trial may be never commenced if not for DTD’s “torpedo’!), but in this case everything is under control, this type of egregious behavior wouldn’t be tolerated, and I don’t expect Prenda think it will get away with it.

          I still think that it was irrational: those 33 addresses are not so valuable to justify the risk. No way.

          So, let’s not rush writing to judges’ chambers: I’m more than sure that there will be some professional, sound action soon.

        • SJD is right. The concurrent multiple Federal civil court filings for single cases are significant misdeeds. Clear corrective measures will come from the courts. I should have been more clear. I meant to convey that this kind of forum shopping is extreme, and even if there were no timely court response, it’s information that should be widely available.
          It’s quite right that the first and main avenue is a fair judicial system response.

        • I also agree with SJD that this is a Prenda blunder. Whether poor decision making or poor coordination, it was a major risk for a minor gain.

    • Since they’ve once again acted like angry impulsive dumbasses, once they let 3 of the cases languish and dismiss, wouldn’t that satisfy the 3-strikes rule for the ip addys that were Multi-filed? Kind of a self-solving problem?

      • nope. these extra ip’s are just addit’l material whitness ip add’ys, NOT joint tortfeasors. you can subpoena a whitness ad naeuseum. the main doe who is the only actual defendant in these cases is a different ip for every case. thus they avoid the 3 strike rule for the material whitness subs, also in theory they could be material whitnesses against each of the defendants so it is not technically double dipping. if you saw 4 people beating someone up then you could get subpoena’d for 4 different cases but no one would claim they are quadruple dipping for info. it sucks that there is such a legal loophole but this is not illegal and is explainable. bullshit, yes, but not illegal. (ianal)

        • Let’s pick on one state: MA. The three IP addresses listed belonging to the one “Doe” defendant in that case are Exhibit A to the Complaint below

          Click to access gov.uscourts.mad.147048.1.1.pdf

          Now, those same IP addresses are in the separate ex parte discovery “material witness” lists for MA (MA doe is also a material witness to the MA case), the CT case, the IL case, the AZ case, etc. The ex parte lists for many of those cases are not recapped but you go into PACER for each case you can see that they’re duplicated in all the material witness lists.

          So in this one example, MA Doe has 3 IP addresses in different locations within MA and his/her three IP addresses are also a “material witnesses” in all the other Guava federal cases in other states. Seems like BS to me!

  7. If certain ISP’s refused to give out information in the LSM request, do you think they would do the same now? Any difference in the request being made?

  8. I’m one of the IL Does, and I just got a second subpoena from the GA court this week – it arrived while I was out of town for T’Giving, so I had to go get it from FedUp. I’m not saying where I am, but safe to say I am not in the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Middle Georgia.

    While I’m glad that Erin did her job well and got the out-of-state Does dismissed, I’m looking at what now appears to be a giant game of whack-a-mole with these subpoenas going around. I haven’t seen anything from the other jurisdictions mentioned as having granted discovery so far.

    While my tendency is “Millions for defense, and not one cent for tribute” I have to look at the practical side of trying to quash every subpoena that comes in from all points of the compass vs just dealing with the eventual settlement letter.

    From reading things here, I may just be well advised to stand pat and let Prenda/Lightspeed/Guava self-destruct in court.

  9. My ISP divulged my personal info to Prenda despite my written admonishment not to, so I too am the recipient of one of those lovely $4k extortion letters. Am inclined to just wait and see what happens to the case as a whole. Any thoughts on just sitting here and waiting given the current state of affairs? Getting an attorney going on my end even for consultation is irritating and just feels wrong…

    • It’s entirely up to you and what you’re comfortable with. They apparently have at least some of your information. If they’ve attained your phone number then it’s time to carefully screen your calls. If you have a voice mail service I would save any and every voice mail you receive from them (particularly if they are threatening). The fact of the matter is that, even in the face of the 100 or less named cases, they still haven’t filed on 99% of the people that have gotten those letters, and chances are good they won’t. If by some off chance you do get a summons then is the time to hire an attorney. If you don’t mind getting harassed for a bit then don’t worry about it until then. Good luck!

  10. I’m in PA. and just received one of these letters too as my ISP divulged my personal info as well. Was freaking out until I did some searching and came across this site and article – so thanks for this. Seems like worrying is the last thing I should do at this point and waiting to see what happens shouldn’t hurt either. Does anybody know the odds of something serious actually coming from all of this? Thanks again.

  11. After reading some of Urbanczyk’s details of goings-on behind the scenes, I feel like I need to take a shower. This bastard is dirty to the core! I disagree with the article where it says that his affidavit is calling Erin Russell a liar. No. I’m sure things panned out exactly like he’s spelling it out – either making himself out to be a complete moron or a duplicitous bastard. Signed & notarized for Your Honor’s convenience.

    When I was facing an ISP deadline, and scared to death of being sued for something I didn’t do, I spoke to several lawyers myself. I took advantage of every free consultation that I could find. Copyright … bankruptcy … criminal … malpractice … I talked to all breeds. After explaining the predicament I found myself in, I asked each and every one a very simple question: “What should I do?” EVERY ONE refused to answer. Until I PAID a retainer, with receipt in hand, not a ONE would give me a lick of advice – for one simple reason: liability. They would lay out the options before me, talk costs and probabilities, and chat up their past courtroom victories and favorable settlements until they were blue in the face – but nobody would tell me what to do. If a lawyer gave me legal advice, and it turned out to be bad, I could turn around and lay blame for my poor decisions at their feet. And nobody … I mean NOBODY … wants that kind of open liability hanging on their heads for some John Doe who just walked through their door.

    What does Adam Urbanczyk’s sworn statement say?
    “that in response to a specific question by John Doe of apparently ‘what he should do,’ Mr. Urbanczyk suggested to John Doe that negotiating a settlement may ultimately be cheaper;”
    What the flying fuck, Urbanczyk?!?
    John Doe, having NOT paid a dime to lawyer Urbanczyk, asks him “what should I do”? Urbanczyk, being a lawyer SPECIALIZING in torrent litigation – hell, he owns the domain – tells him to settle??!!

    Gee, Mr. Lawyer-man, I sure am scared about my ISP giving my name to these sharks. What should I do?
    GIVE THE SHARKS YOUR MONEY!! Here, I can set the whole thing up for you … I have the sharks on speed dial! WOOT! WOOT! Watch this … I press this button here, and John Steele just pops up and says “What’s up, Adam? Whatcha got for me?” Isn’t that great?

    Doe hangs up, says “fuck this noise, man” and finds himself a real lawyer.
    And Urbanczyk has the brass balls to feign consternation about the Doe never paying him for negotiating this fantastic settlement?

    NO lawyer in his right mind is going to give legal advice until he has been paid, and a lawyer/client relationship contract has been signed. NO lawyer in his right mind ASSUMES that a random, UNNAMED person on the phone just agrees to representation, does a bunch of legwork and assumes that the assumed client will pay him. NO lawyer in his right mind ASSUMES that a voice on the phone without a name while being en-route between cities is anything belonging to anybody. It just makes no sense.

    Either Adam Urbanczyk is the the most brain-addled, incompetent, WORST lawyer in the world … or he’s actually an effective, yet duplicitous lawyer who is on the pond trolling for fish and thought he had one a live one on the hook to be reeled in for the boat captain.

    • or he has a pre-existing agreement with prenda that they will settle any of his clients for $XXX ammount so he can claim to have negotiated for his clients when in reality it is all pre-arranged. this is the way that makes the most sense to me. urb-o gets paid and john-boy gets paid “everybody” wins……

      • I think that option falls under the ‘duplicitous troll’ option. Whether that’s a step up from ‘lobotomized mouthbreather’ has yet to be determined. Innocent idiot or sly backstabber. Decisions, decisions.

  12. I find it funny as hell that half of those Tweets above were addressed to me. As I said, how the hell are they gonna handle this “material witness” garbage though?

    If these people are only witnesses, then why are they being asked to pay money or be sued? Maybe I’m completely off here but isn’t it, well, illegal as all hell to threaten your witness (hey, Prenda has defined them as “material witnesses” for the plaintiff) with a lawsuit if they do not pay the plaintiff money a sum of money? I mean, I’d call that, at the very least, some egregious witness tampering (who the hell tampers with their own witness?), attempted wire fraud and/or attempted mail fraud. This is clearly not thought out.

    That doesn’t take into account the procedural issues. This is just beyond unconscionable (if that’s even possible). Is Prenda gonna issue Rule 30 deposition subpoenas followed by Rule 34 subpoenas for examination of computers? This is just preposterous.

  13. I went ahead and looked up Guava v. CenturyLink up in Hennepin County Minnesota. I’m not ENTIRELY sure what it’s over but if I had to guess, and I’m pretty damn good at guessing the nature of the case when it comes to a Prenda client vs. an ISP, it’s over subpoena compliance. There’s a screenshot of this in the Godfread letter but I figured I may as well just post a link to the (very limited) docket….

    Last docket entry is this:
    “10/29/2012 Order Granting Motion (Judicial Officer: Steenson DuFresne, Mary E. ) ”

    So, based on what I’ve read around here, the motion in question is Guava’s motion to compel compliance and it was granted. Again, educated guess. Very disturbing that a State of Minnesota judge would compel a foreign corporation (CenturyLink is headquartered in Monroe, LA) to comply with a state third-party subpoena, especially when the action in question is in Illinois…if that’s what occurred.

    First of all, let’s assume the Minnesota subpoenas are enforceable and do not violate Illinois Supreme Court Rules. Production must still be made to the Court, NOT to the plaintiff.

    Now, let’s go with the whole “these subpoenas are bullshit” assumption. Violations of Illinois Supreme Court Rules. Let’s start with Rule 224, which prohibits discovery unless petition is filed naming person from which discovery is sought and since we’re dealing with a non-party subpoena, it’s invalid. Rule 224 also limits the scope of the subpoenas to ascertain identity (sole purpose). Well, how does an email address and phone number, and all other contact information ascertain liability? They don’t need someone’s home address, vacation home address, all of their phone numbers, and all of their emails just to ascertain identity. Boom, another Rule 224 violation. Local rules in Cook County require subpoenas be issued by the clerk at request. Well since these subpoenas were issued out of a State of Minnesota Court, they are invalid as far as Cook County is concerned.

    Then there are issues of personal and subject matter jurisdiction. Long Arm Statute or not, since the cause of action does not originate in Minnesota, how in the hell does a State of Minnesota Court has personal jurisdiction over out-of-state non-party CyberLink (or any of the other ISPs) with regard to issuing subpoenas? Apparently it’s a pain in the ass for Duffy to get subpoenas issued out of Cook County (especially 10,000 of them) so he pulls this. Subject matter jurisdiction…again, I’m no attorney but that’s thin since the complaint blatantly alleges venue is proper because defendant is a forum defendant. If no personal AND subject matter jurisdiction, no subpoenas. Can anyone, like say an actual attorney instead of an armchair one such as myself shed more light on this?

    • I’m assuming there is some kind of crazy cross-blog thing going on here? No offense to your comment but this is pretty clearly the wrong place for it (I’m subscribed to comments on this particular page and was very confused when this one came through…).

        • Yes, this amount of overnight spam (~50) not caught by the filter is surprising. And the filter (Akismet) is extremely good usually: it mercifully spares thread subscribers from seeing up to 1000 spam comments a day.

          Some WordPress bloggers reported such thing in the past, but this never happened to me. At this moment it seems that the system self-patched, adjusted its signatures, whatever: the spam is flowing where is supposed to flow: to the spam folder. A usual war of eversmarting spammers and their nemesis.


    On 9/18, I previously posted on Scribd the settlement demand letter I received from Prenda Law (the link is included at the top of the main Guava thread, and here it is again:

    Late last month, I received ANOTHER demand letter from ANOTHER law firm calling itself Anderson & Associates. I have posted this new demand letter also to Scrib, and it is available here:

    Has anyone received anything from this firm? (The main attorney looks very young, similarly over-his-head, and also educated from a low-tier law school). Has anyone received new demand letters from a law firm other than this one and Prenda? Does anyone have any idea of what is going on here?! I assume that this is the second phase of the fraud: no longer just hacking, but now also copyright infringement.

    Of course I will continue to ignore this frivolous claim, and the sloppiness of this demand letter gives me no reason not to. Among my observations:

    -The letter is naming me as a party, i.e., Guava LLC v. __(me)__. Really? I don’t remember ever being served…

    -So it’s no longer a hacking case, but it’s now copyright infringement…

    -The movie purported to have been stolen is titled, “Violations of Computer Fraud Abuse Act and Other Claims in Complaint.” Don’t know how I missed that one — sounds Oscar-worthy.

    -The letter claims, in the last sentence, to be “an offer to settle a disputed claim,” but there is no settlement offer in the letter! At least Prenda put a dollar amount ($4000) on the table, but these guys are basically telling me to call them so that only then can they make me a settlement offer.

    -Who even wrote this letter? There’s no name at the bottom, and the signature appears to be intentionally illegible (if you even want to call it a “signature.”) Not sure which one of the three attorneys listed on the letterhead is the proper contact.

    Moreover, why does this law firm even have my contact information? Prenda filed a discovery request in Cook County Circuit Court, and my ISP handed over my information to them after I decided to not file a motion to quash for the subpoena sent to my ISP. I get all of that. But this is another alleged cause of action being filed by another law firm in another state — only the client is the same here. I have to wonder, if I had decided to settle with Prenda, would they still have given my information to Anderson & Associates? Would I still have been sent a demand letter for this separate (and false) allegation, had I actually forked over the $4000 to Guava that Prenda was demanding? Because if so, and Prenda has not warned potential settlers that they could STILL be liable to its client for copyright infringement through action brought this other law firm, then we’re now talking about multiple shakedowns. All very shady.

    • If I had considered settling, that’s exactly what would hang over my head after payment of money…what’s to stop another tool from attempted extortion over the same matter?

    • Yes, Timothy V. Anderson is “Of Counsel” for Prenda Law in MO, VA, CO, and TX (I believe). The elephant in the room is why the hell he’s sending demand letters on his firm’s letterhead to defendants who are party to a case in the State of Illinois when he’s not even licensed to practice in Illinois. Would this be considered practicing law without a license because he’s attempting to engage in settlement negotiations with defendants (well, he’d argue you aren’t one) who do not reside within a jurisdiction in which he is admitted to practice? That is, unless your IP is on the duplicate list being shopped around federal district courts and you are in one of the district’s he’s admitted to practice. If I got that in the mail I’d bury every state bar he’s admitted to with complaints and the ISBA as well.

      That scumbag managed to convince Judge Davis in EDVA to grant leave to conduct early discovery in 12 cases, three different plaintiffs (1 Sunlust, 2 Openmind, and 9 First Time Videos cases) but the REALLY disturbing thing is that Judge Davis simultaneously granted Anderson’s motion for leave to conduct Rule 30 depos to “discover the identity of John Doe.” He is a devious fucker, read some of the posts about his douchebaggery. He is by far the worst of all of Prenda’s attorneys, excluding Steele of course (but Steele doesn’t work for Prenda…according to Steele…when he wasn’t even under oath).

  15. @SJD or anyone else in the know: from what I’ve read so far Steele has pretty much done everything in the Guava case, correct? Like Duffy hasn’t showed up/hasn’t said a word type of thing?

    If that’s the case, it’ll be interesting to see what happens on Wednesday after all the butt hurt Steele has gotten lately.

    • That’s because Duffy can’t lie to judges while Steele, well, draw your own conclusions. The timing of Duffy’s eye surgery (unverified too) is extremely suspicious, especially given the fact that the last Guava hearing (that Steele “attended” in Duffy’s place) when Tailor killed the subpoenas sua sponte was a month ago. He probably just had LASIK and could go back to work the next day…if he wanted to. Ancient PRK, a couple days. Hell, I had part of my right ulna surgically removed and a plate inserted into my arm and went back to work in a week (while chugging narcotics, but that’s not the point). Then I had the plate removed, back to work in 3 days. Two other surgeries on my arm as well, none of which kept me away from work for longer than 5 days.

      • Oh, I know about all that and if it wasn’t that people have seen him, given Seyfert’s motion for sanctions, I’d just assume Duffy didn’t exist. Or was a puppet with Steele’s hand up his back end.

        I was just imagining how funny it would be to see Steele show up and not be able to sit because his behind had been smacked so hard lately on so many different fronts.

        However, if Steele is what I think he is, he probably already forgot those things happened and is able to move on without a second thought.

        It should hopefully be an interesting show on Wednesday though.

        • Duffy and his wife are very reckless about their digital footprints…well, his wife doesn’t give a shit because she runs a business that relies on publicity but Paul, oh boy. I know…a lot. All of it can be found quite easily using Google and some real estate search engines.

          I know he went to Elmhurst College, BS in chemistry. He started his career at Waste Management (glamorous, I know, especially for a chemist), then in 1987, he may (but probably didn’t) get his MBA from Loyola University but I cannot find a single shred to substantiate that since he leaves it off every resume I’ve ever found except some attorney profile, I forgot where. He then decides “fuck this garbage shit,” goes to to DePaul University for law school (no comment on the quality of that degree), then went to work for Winston-Strawn where he became partner. Left there, went to Freeborn Peters where he was a partner who specialized in “toxic tort litigation” (like contaminated shit, probably because of his chemistry degree). He then decides “well, fuck this shit I don’t wanna be a partner at a respectable law firm anymore, I wanna fuck people over” so he somehow assumes control of Prenda, while simultaneously starting his own law practice “The Paul Duffy Group” (group implies more than one, which there is not to my knowledge) or “Law Offices of Paul Duffy” (they’re interchangeable, more or less) where he currently nests…errr, resides. He was so stupid that he didn’t even bother to proxy the domain name registration for “pduffygroup,com” so you’ll get some info on him by running a whois on that domain name.

          In short, he’s real. He’s as real as John Steele (didn’t mean for that to rhyme, I don’t want it to either).

  16. does that mean Erin’s MTQ for those 33 IP Movants were useless since the trolls circumvented the judicial process by filing multiple petitions across the US in different states? how is that even legal? that means they can do this to any one of those IPs in the future who wishes to contest by filing a MTQ?

    • It’s a very painful question. The entire trolling “business model” is built on the very well calculated basis that fighting is more expensive than settling, guilty or not. On the top of that, Steele added another level of malicious tampering with incentives.

      I hope I’m sure Erin clearly and honestly explains the options and consequences if one decides to call her: she is just too professional not to do it.

      Saying that, I want to add that there is a flaw in this evil design. IMO, Steele can punish fighters by filing federal lawsuits only until the first such lawsuit inevitably fails. I don’t want to explain one more time why: anyone who spent some time researching knows that these lawsuits are hogwash. Although I predict that it will happen in the first half of 2013, unfortunately, defending oneself even in a 100% frivolous lawsuit requires an investment. It is possible (but not certain) that the fees will be paid by the losing party (the troll). Fantalis-like settlement is also not unrealistic. So… kudos to those who decide to go all the way to the end. But to those who cannot afford it, I would recommend just sitting tight or hire a “shield”: it is extremely unlikely that the scam artists will go beyond harassment.

  17. It finally happened. Got the call. Wished I didn’t but I did. I knew immediately who it was when he said the name, “Hello! this is Jeff Shultz (I almost said,’Hi Mark’)” I let him go on with his script about how the offer expired a couple of months ago…blah, blah, blah” I replied with, “Oh, I am sorry, I don’t have anything to do with that” and then I hung up. 😦 He called from 800-380-0840

  18. One of the threads here appears to be left hanging. So Erin was able to quash and even get the IP’s of some number of Does dismissed from the state subpoena, which by all accounts pissed off the trolls, who then re-filed against those same Does in Federal court. Is it known if Erin stayed with these Does for the Federal case on her original flat fee (or at all)? Or did they have to retain her anew? Do we know what happened with these Does in the Federal case? did they end up settling? I assume she won the state case based on jurisdiction, which is irrelevant in a Federal case. I also noticed that the trolls seem increasingly willing to go to court, which makes it seem like settling might be the way to go.

    Do we know of anyone who has settled on a state case, and then also got hit on a Federal case? It’s the double dipping aspect that worries me most.

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