Abusing a loophole in an exotic Pennsylvania law
It came to my attention that on 12/24/2013 Prenda tested a new turf (not exactly new — it was tried by others before, somewhat unsuccessfully: read along). Prenda filed a motion for leave to take pre-complaint discovery in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia on behalf of a non-existent plaintiff Guava LLC, trying to get identities of 40 Internet subscribers with a sole goal to harass and blackmail them into settling or doing some dirty job.
In short, this exotic law (“Writ of summons”) allows subpoenaing ISPs before filing a complaint (without any commitment to file it later). In other words, this law is a cousin of Florida’s Pure Bill Of Discovery, heavily exploited by both John Steele’s and Keith Lipscomb’s Mafias.
Readers of this blog remember that Liberty Media tried to exploit the very same loophole in the Pennsylvania civil law half a year ago. At that time, Marc Randazza was an in-house counsel for Liberty Media Holdings, and I believe that the idea of this fishing blitzkrieg was his. For a couple of reasons, it was a failure. Particularly, Mark Randazza’s local counsel on that case, Jordan Rushie, realized that this way to “protect copyright” is inherently wrong, essentially resigned (dismissed the case) and since then has been defending many Does — victims of predatory shakedown lawsuits [12/22/2014 update: Jordan is back at it — started filing for Germans. While my intuition always told me not to trust this ethical dwarf, I was admittedly too generous giving him benefit of doubt. Depressing.].
It is hardly a surprise to those who follow Prenda and other trolls: cockroaches tend to explore cracks in the floor (in this case, in the floor of the US judicial system).
An incredible mix of irony, shame and loathe
Here is the Memo in support of the motion (the other documents are linked at the bottom of this post)
Not that the memo embedded above is bad, it is actually good, but it is definitely not written by Steele. Then by whom? Let us look at the memo in the original Liberty Media filing:
The entire text was shamelessly lifted from Rushie’s memorandum! Word to word.
I asked Jordan, and the answer was predictable: his firm has nothing to do with it. The fruit of his work (albeit adversary at that time, but still a decent work) was stolen either by Steele or his PA local counsel Isaac Slepner. (I apply trolls’ misleading terminology, which they hypocritically use when whining about pirates “stealing their clients’ precious pornography.”)
As for the local attorney Isaac F. Slepner… Many local counsels deceived by Prenda turned out to be ethical attorneys (George Banas, Jonathan Torres, Matthew Wasinger, Trina Morrison…) and would not even think about associating their names with Prenda scumbags if they knew how much their cores are rotten. Seeing that, I would not rush and blame an underemployed attorney: I hope he will smell the stink of decay that the criminal organization Prenda exudes and will resign from this case — the sooner the better. If he was the one who pilfered Rushie’s text, he deserves some booing, but it is a much lesser crime than to make any deal with Prenda.
Last, but not least: abusing the law is Pennsylvania is one of the stupidest things John Steele’s hubris can conceive: there are certain superior attorneys there who will have a field day with John’s ill attempt to defraud justice, and they will take the matter as close to personal as their genuine professionalism allows.
- TechDirt: Prenda Tries Yet Another Loophole; But Entirely Plagiarizes Someone Else’s Failed Attempt by Mike Masnick.
On 3/11/2013 Verizon picked up the battle and filed a very comprehensive Motion to quash. It has an impressive set of attachments, including Pietz’s crash course in history of Prenda’s shenanigans.