We still remember copyright troll M. Keith Lipscomb’s previous crusade to Virginia: it did not end very well. Lipscomb’s local, Wayne O’Bryan, was scolded by Judge Gibney, who smelled the air of extortion in mass bittorent lawsuits. After more than two and a half years, the transcript of O’Bryan dance around the truth in front of the judge is still a fascinating read¹. O’Bryan narrowly escaped sanctions, and Lipscomb left Virginia’s turf since then, letting his colleagues from Prenda rein there for a while. Today Lipscomb and his German supervisors are back to plunder the citizens of this state.
In June 2014, 19 new Malibu Media lawsuits suddenly popped up in the VAED: all of them have been filed by a previously unknown attorney William E. Tabot (a sample complaint is embedded below). Maybe as a result of my polite greeting (cc’d to My Doctor Cameroon, an organization Mr. Tabot represents as a counsel), maybe because Tabot’s involvement was planned as minimal at the very beginning, on 6/21/2014 Lipscomb’s local Jon Hoppe (Maryland/DC) applied for pro hac vice admission in all the 19 cases.
(5)Discretion and Limitation on Number of Matters. The grant or denial of a motion pursuant to this rule by the tribunal is discretionary. The tribunal shall deny the motion if the out-of-state lawyer has been previously admitted pro hac vice before any tribunal or tribunals in Virginia in twelve (12) cases within the last twelve (12) months preceding the date of the current application. In the enforcement of this limitation, the tribunal may consider whether the pending case is a related or consolidated matter for which the out-of-state lawyer has previously applied to appear pro hac vice. Before ruling on a pro hac vice motion, the court shall verify with the Supreme Court of Virginia the number of cases during the preceding twelve (12) months in which the out-of-state lawyer was admitted in Virginia pro hac vice.
…which puts a big fat question mark next to Hoppe’s “Esq” suffix. Apparently, an attorney in his 50s is too experienced to read the rules of admission before applying. Or to remember the basic math to notice that 19 > 12.
So far judges have been rubberstamping requests for ex-parte discovery, and at least six admission motions have been granted. It will be interesting to watch judges’ reaction when/if they notice the bigger picture.
Given that copyright trolling is as harmful to the society as tyranny (both make a mockery of justice), will Virginia live up to its motto?
In 17 out of 19 Malibu Media cases filed in Virginia on 6/11/2014, Jonathan Hoppe’s pro hac vice application was granted, which is a clear violation of the Virginia State Bar Rule 1A:4(5), allowing an out-of-state attorney to appear in no more than 12 cases simultaneously. I’m sure that the first Doe who files an answer/motion to dismiss will convey this evident violation to the judges.
¹That time Lipscomb “represented” not only Malibu Media, but also their colleagues — other hardcore pornographers, including K-Beech, which is owned by a former Mafioso Kevin Beechum (who organized bombings and “smashings” of adult bookstores back in 1990s).