Although the transcript from Judge Scriven’s courtroom gained a status of celebrity among court transcripts and was exhibited in numerous motions across the country, the case itself remained dormant for months — until yesterday.
On 4/11/2013 Syfert decided to withdraw his motion for sanction against Gibbs. In addition, all the issues with Matt Wasinger have been resolved. According to Syfert’s motion, this young attorney was “duped” by Prenda — he became Prenda’s local counsel for a short time, but unlike many other “local representatives,” either obtuse or ethically challenged, quickly understood that his career was at serious stake and called it quits.
The reason why Gibbs was also spared can be found in his damning declaration, which was filed as an exhibit to the motion embedded above. While the new statements contradict Gibbs’s previous ones, Gibbs seems to be more truthful now. He speaks about the lawyers who de-facto drove the lawsuit in question (it is not a big stretch to assume it to be true for all the other Florida cases). Is anyone surprised that these lawyers appear to be… John Steele and Paul Hansmeier?
Although those who have been following the Prenda quest find nothing new in Gibbs’s declaration, it is notable that his confession is now written is stone — in a public court document. No matter how obvious some things are, Prenda’s lawyers were good at concealing the smoking gun, and judges don’t like hearsay and conspiracy theories. Now we have juicy evidence.
In my opinion, one particular consequence for Steele is that Gibbs’s words imply that Steele and Hansmeier have been driving the Florida lawsuits, i.e. it possible that they have been practicing Law in Florida without license. Given that Steele signed an affidavit agreeing not to do it, I expect Florida Bar to be annoyed (to put it mildly). Remember that even though the law prohibiting practicing Law without license in Florida is rarely enforced; such practice is still a third-degree felony.
- Techdirt: Brett Gibbs Returns The Favor: Points Out That Steele And Hansmeier Were In Control Over Florida Prenda Farce by Mike Masnick.
On 3/23/2014 Judge Scriven issued a strongly worded order, letting Matt Wasinger go (I sincerely wish good luck to him) and instructing plaintiff to find a new counsel in 2 weeks and after that to file an opposition to Syfert’s motion for sanctions. Otherwise she promises to grant this motion and order Prenda to pay up: