Sunlust v. Nguyen: from comedy to absurdist play

Prenda’s Sunlust Pictures LLC, v. Nguyen, (12-cv-01685) has started as a comedy, continued as a farce, and now enters the Theatre of the Absurd domain.

Last time I wrote about this eventful lawsuit less than a month ago and covered two significant events:

  • On 4/11/2013 defense attorney Graham Syfert stipulated withdrawal of his motion for sanctions against Matt Wasinger¹ and Brett Gibbs. As a part of the agreement, Gibbs filed a declaration, which unambiguously stated that the real puppeteers in this and hundreds of other lawsuits had always been John Steele and Paul Hansmeier. These two crooks continue to vigorously deny their involvement amid the overwhelming evidence and the deafening sounds of the spectators’ reflexive facepalms.
  • On 4/23/2013 Judge Mary Scriven issued a strongly worded order, granting Wasinger’s motion to withdraw and directing the plaintiff to urgently find a new counsel, who must promptly reply to Syfert’s pending motion for fees and costs. The judge was clear: if the substitution does not happen, this motion will be granted.

The actors in this comedy/farce/absurd case continue to live up to our expectations: four pleadings of various entertainment values were filed over the course of one week — since 4/29/2013.

Theatre of the absurd and alternate history

The fist and the funniest document is John Steele’s pro se motion for sanctions (he excused himself for publicly doing pro se despite being represented because “Brett Gibbs’ [sic] contradictory testimony in this matter has created an apparent conflict of interest…” — see the Footnote 1).

In a pot-calls-the-kettle-back fashion, Steele accuses Syfert of a fraud on the court. Why? Because, according to Steele’s words (and John is a paragon of candor, as you all know), the abovementioned Gibbs’s declaration is “demonstrably false.”

Wow. Let me remind you that Judge Scriven dismissed this very case (emphasis is mine)

[…] for failure to appear at this hearing, for failure to present a lawful agent, for attempted fraud on the Court by offering up a person who has no authority to act on behalf of the corporation as its corporate representative […]

Let’s get back to Gibbs’s declaration… An obvious main goal of Steele’s motions is to neutralize the devastating effect of the said declaration, to “prove” that Gibbs is essentially lying, and hence to get spared from Syfert’s motions for sanctions (and a nationwide avalanche of similar motions).

To facilitate this “proof,” Steele presents a couple of exhibits (not separate PDFs, but appended to the motion):

  • An email from Syfert to Steele’s/Gibbs’s attorney Katherine Yanes, which does not stand out as anything illegal and/or unethical — a usual lawyerly correspondence, which Syfert definitely expected to be publicized: it happens all the time.
  • Mark Lutz’s declaration that presents an alternate history (a popular science fiction genre), but does it by also using the legacy of the XX century absurdists.
    • According to this declaration, Mark knew Daniel Weber and his generous wife Sunny Leone very well and spoke to them “multiple times in the past.” In real world, he denied this knowledge under oath on 11/27/2012. By the way, in his statement Lutz misspelled Weber’s last name (“Webber”).
    • There is an interesting exhibit to Mark Lutz’s declaration — a “Letter of Engagement” — signed by Paul Duffy purportedly on 11/15/2011. This document is not only absurd, but also, according to Syfert, a fake one (read the next chapter).

      Mark has been a big businessmen (albeit without a tie), a manager of his own adult companies. He even hired Prenda to represent his companies in courts! Big client my ass! It does not matter that in real, not alternate history, during the last two years a paralegal Mark Lutz (or, sometimes his alter-DID-ego Jeff Schultz) made thousands of calls with the signature line “This is Prenda Law calling,” and who listed himself as a “Client Services Manager for Prenda Law” on his (now removed) LinkedIn page. His notarized (on 1/10/2012) affidavit (page 15) unambiguously states:

      1. I am Mark Lutz, a paralegal formally at Steele Hansmeier, PLLC, and now employed by Prenda Law, Inc.

      So, Mark Lutz employed Prenda at the same time Prenda employed Mark Lutz. Marvelous. “In order to understand recursion, you must understand recursion.”

And this is just a couple of examples of small lies, half-truths and bluffs. If you read the November 27 transcript and Steele’s motion/Lutz’s declaration side by side, you will be overwhelmed with the number of contradictory statements.

The games Steele plays are ballsy and dangerous. Gibbs, most likely, has tons of evidence to support his claims, while Steele has to resort to stories that make Ionescu plays look concise.

Naturally, by neglecting a time-consuming task to reconcile statements made at different times, these guys want to buy as much time as possible to collect an extra buck (the extortion machine is still runs full revs: people report Lutz’s harassment calls and Duffy’s illegal letters daily). The only difference is that the time these guys are buying is now packaged in very small bags.


Graham Syfert’s third motion for sanctions: accusations of faking a document

I will not comment on Syfert’s third motion for sanctions that was filed on 5/1/203, soon after Steeles’ pro se short story in the alternate history genre. Unlike that story, the document embedded below can be read without rolling your eyes and shaking your head. In short,

  • Syfert adds a new “non-party” to the list of those who should be sanctioned, namely Paul Hansmeier, which is expected and natural.
  • In addition, Syfert shows the results of his homework: he went through hundreds of filings in order to solidly debunk new Steele/Lutz’s horseshit. Specifically, based on the genesis of Prenda’s letterheads, Syfert shows that the “Letter of engagement” could not possibly be signed at the alleged time: in 2011 all the letters contained Prenda’s Miami address, while the exhibit to Steele’s delirious motion shows the Chicago address only — a change that did not happen until around 2/29/2012.


White collar crime defenders look to withdraw from this mess. Judge Scriven strikes Steele’s motion

Steele’s motion discussed above was stricken on 5/2/2013 by the judge: according to the M.D. Fla. Local Rule 2.03(d),

Any party for whom a general appearance of counsel has been made shall not thereafter take any step or be heard in the case in proper person, absent prior leave of Court…

In other words, while a party (or a non-party) is represented, it cannot file pleadings pro se. Although Steele’s “white collar crime defending” attorneys indicated their intention to withdraw from the case (yet asking for an extension citing Brett Gibb’s out-of-the country honeymoon), they still formally represent Steele.

If you re-read Steele’s motion, you will find another yummy irony: by arguing that Syfert broke one of the M.D. Fla. Local Rules and filed his second motion for sanction without leave of court, Steele demonstrated once again his ability to read the rules selectively: as I just mentioned, the basis for striking his motion can be found in the same set of rules.

There is one unanswered question: what are the implications of Steele’s motion being stricken from the docket? I’m mostly concerned about the exhibits, one of which is claimed to be fake (“Letter of Engagement”) and the other may lead to perjury charges (Lutz’s affidavit). If the entire document is stricken, can the exhibits be admitted as evidence for any purpose? So far I couldn’t find the answer.

Mark Twain to Prenda

Once upon a time, in an alternate history, Mark Twain was addressing Steele, Hansmeier, Duffy, Gibbs and Lutz. One of his wise phrases from that speech is particularly worth reminding:

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.


¹ Reminder: Wasinger is one of the tree short-term attorneys for Sunlust on this case: all of them, after learning the extent of Prenda’s infamous douchebaggery, ran from this case as from plague.

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9 responses to ‘Sunlust v. Nguyen: from comedy to absurdist play

  1. Pro Se? Really John? As someone on twitter mentioned earlier – A man who represents himself has a fool for a client and an idiot for an attorney 🙂 Great Post SJD.

    • Well there is that handy little document he signed in FL promising to not attempt to play lawyer there anymore.

  2. Looks like Judges in general seem to have reached their tolerence limit with these guys. I suggest they need to change their names now not just the name of the law firm.

    On the off chance they survive all this law licence intact if they ever face an another attorney in court this stuff will keep gettign dragged up time and again. Any Internet search for those names isnt good for them.

  3. Mr Lutz …………

    reading the Lutz declaration dated 4/25/13
    it amazes me even with all the posts and documents submitted to the court, you still spell weber wrong. You got to be on glue or something

    matter a fact. That whole declaration is a pile of horse shit. Why Lutz, when you first started calling you identified yourself as from Prenda Law, then over time you changed to the Guava sham? Why don’t you tell us why you were calling as “prenda” when you now say you where one of their clients?

    you and the some chick who called me could never could get the story straight. It was either Guava or Prenda Law or it was a hacking case. But the next call, one of you would refer to a copyright case. Which is it Lutz. What are you accusing me of “hack” or did I commit copyright infringement?

    You are telling to many lies to keep up with .

    Your are piece of work Lutz

    • I’m sorry, but Al McCray Show needs to hire someone who is better acquainted with the English Language. I stopped reading about one third of the way through, because I could feel the brain cells dying in pain and anguish. Did he say anything other than Heath bilked the woman of money?

      Look, I don’t expect super-high quality English in these pages. But the more errors you have, the less likely people will stay around to be persuaded. SJD is exemplary in her writing. Al could learn something from her.

  4. Sunlust must have hired this chump because he’s cheap, too bad they aren’t familiar w google, he scammed a woman 11k for some divorce case and withdrew himself, what a douche. These ppl need to stop posting on Craigslists for lawyers

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