Guardaley | Lipscomb | Voltage

Copyright troll A. Jordan Rushie, or There and back again

The long story short, A. Jordan Rushie (a Philadelphia attorney who used to represent copyright troll victims) started filing Guardaley-driven, Lipscomb-coordinated shakedown lawsuits in New Jersey. At the time of this post’s writing, he filed 11 complaints for a single-copyright plaintiff “Good Man Productions, Inc.” — the rights holder of a single B-rated direct-to-DVD movie “A Good Man.

Not surprisingly, this film was in part produced by Voltage Pictures.

So far this plaintiff filed 99 cases nationwide (DC, CO, PA, NJ, FL, MI) using the usual suspects as local filers.

A 2012 fishing expedition

A. Jordan Rushie,
a grumpy troll

We first encountered Jordan Rushie in 2012, when he and his misguided “guru” Marc Randazza attempted to abuse a loophole in a local Pennsylvania law in order to obtain personal information of 441 alleged infringers of a Liberty Media Holdings’ gay porn flick. It was a clever (in a bad sense of this word) way to learn identities of suspected file-sharers and subsequently pressure them to settle out of court by means of threatening to make their purported porn habits public (and outing closeted gays in the process, but who cares). This scheme was not much different from what Keith Lipscomb and John Steele exploited in Florida, perverting an antiquated Pure Bill of Discovery.

Interestingly, while on this fishing expedition, the trolls didn’t bother to mention how they obtained the IP addresses — no signed affidavits, no named “experts” — nada. Just a bold statement that the plaintiff somehow knew. Based on other federal Liberty lawsuits, it is clear though that a German IP harvesting company was behind this endeavor¹, and not only as a forensic provider but as an actual, undisclosed, party of interest.

At that time Randazza took umbrage at me comparing him to John Steele, but failed to coherently explain why I wasn’t right.

Half a year later, after this case was removed to the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Rushie and Randazza hastily dismissed it — in part because this blitzkrieg was noticeably frivolous and very weak, comparable to the infamous Prenda’s Guava fraud², and in part because after long conversations certain attorneys convinced Rushie that what he was doing was unethical.

[12/29/2015 update] There real reason for the dismissal was Marc Randazza’s scandalous departure from Liberty Media. At the time of this post’s writing I didn’t have this information.

Bellwether [mis]trial

In the wake of what looked like mea culpa, Rushie started defending troll victims; particularly against the most prolific law abuser Keith Lipscomb. The culmination of Jordan’s defense work was his participation in the so called “Bellwether trial” — a good beginning turned rotten — a judge-mandated lawsuit (to test the merits of trolls’ evidence) turned into a farcical bench trial with defendants who are de facto settled and no cross examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses whatsoever.

Today I don’t want to dive into all the details of this giant clusterfuck, I just want to mention that after a quick second look there is a lot of fishy detail, and a bit of work is needed to put this puzzle together. For instance, the following Rushie’s tweet raised my brows and made me think about the fine line between settlement and collusion:

I agree. Lipscomb put on a good trial, evidence was reliable. I asked for non-jury - not him

 

Well, I know that Rushie will rush to explain that it was better for the Doe he represented, that a lawyer shouldn’t fight for the cause but for the client, and so on… Still, it’s a lot of suspicious events surrounding this “defense.” For example, in the aftermath of the Bellwether Rushie commented:

I approached Malibu about settling the case early in the litigation. We came to an agreement while the motion to dismiss was pending (November 2012), before discovery had started. We were able to work out something that was reasonable and fair, taking into account my client’s exposure and assets. Two days later the motion to dismiss was denied in its entirety. My client was never deposed (nor were his neighbors or family) because we were able to resolve all the issues without the need for discovery.

So, if everything was essentially amicably decided back in 2012, dragging the client all the way to the trial only to settle days before didn’t make sense. As a veteran IP attorney, who confronted Rushie in the blog’s comments, stated (emphasis is mine),

[…] the local bar in Phili was watching this closely and my colleagues and I were appalled at the lack of experience, knowledge, and decorum of ALL counsel in this case. The “scuttlebutt” around the local Federal Bar is that Judge Baylson was as angry at Mr. Smith for allowing his client to perjure himself as he was at the defendant, and was not at all pleased with the quality of lawyering in this case. Understandably. He ordered a bellwether and got a bunch of junior associates playing lawyer.

As importantly, the one and only issue that was decided by the court was completely absent from your post mortem analysis (you walked right over it in one of the paragraphs). I also read the nice “pat on the back” you gave yourself, on your website. The fact that your client admitted liability and settled-out on the eve of trial isn’t exactly the type of thing that pads one’s resume, young man.

I urge readers to look at the entire debate here.

OK, enough about this disaster: I hope more information and input will be available sooner or later to make less speculative conclusions. Fast forward to today.

For the 2014 Christmas Santa brings us a refurbished troll

Jordan Rushie dumped a steaming pile of Good Man Productions lawsuits on 12/19/2014, signing them as an “of Counsel Associate” of a lawfirm Flynn Wirkus Young. In this post I don’t want to go over the lawsuits’ specifics, will have plenty of opportunity later. I recapped some documents of the Good Man Productions, Inc. v. JOHN DOE subscriber assigned IP address 173.63.99.202, (NJD 14-cv-07877). The complaint, apparently cut from a typical Malibu Media one, is here. Note that Mr. Rushie only signed complaints, but didn’t not author them. Complaints filed by him and the other Lipscomb’s trolls are identical, word-to-word, only fonts, dates and signatures are different.

To Mr. Rushie’s honor, he was always upfront in his preferences: he openly admired Lipscomb and even Prenda:

The lawyers at Prenda are actually quite competent. They are a real law firm. You can say a lot of stuff about Steele and Hansmeier, but not that they are bad lawyers. Prenda, and Steele Hansmeier, litigated hundreds of cases in federal courts, many of which they won on. They blazed some new ground, and the law on joinder is split because of them. The ownership behind the corporations might be questionable, but at least they’re competent and have significant litigation experience.

So while I find it funny (I don’t know how one can seriously think that the buffoon Lipscomb is a capable attorney — lucky weasel, yes, but not much more), I wouldn’t say that Jordan betrayed either some ideals or certain people, no. I just admit that I let illusions reign, and my disappointment is of my own making.

As I see it, Rushie is just a small spineless man who waited for a while, and after he concluded that our busy-with-chasing-bigger-fraudsters legal system doesn’t really care about petty copyright extortionists and trolls’ “business as usual” won’t likely prompt prosecutions and bar investigations, he weighted his chances and couldn’t resist an offer of easy cash, even if that cash stank badly.

I already mentioned that Rushie repeats “I represent clients, not causes” as a mantra. Not a bad mantra, but the elephant in the room is that the “client” we are talking about here is a joke — a “company” hastily created for a sole purpose of using outdated, possibly unconstitutional laws to shake down US citizens. More troubling is the “expert” (“Excipio” in this case, but it can be any name: Guardaley changes them as gloves) — an undeclared party of interest that actually steers this travesty. The same people (APMC, Excipio, IPP, MaverickEye, you name it) who are “hoping the judge won’t question [expert’s] qualifications too much” are responsible for a Prenda-like massive fraud: submitting nearly 200 forged signatures in declarations by a non-existing “expert” Darren Griffin working for a non-existing “Crystal Bay Corporation.” No, everything I just said is not merely a fruit of my imagination; it is the result of thorough investigations conducted by attorneys Chris Lynch and Morgan Pietz, about whom Mr. Rushie once said:

Look, I like the EFF and what it does. I’m good friends with some of the guys on the PA subpoena defense list (Leonard French, Charlie Thomas, Aman Sharma and Steve O’Donnell). I would highly recommend all four of those guys. Morgan Pietz in California might be the best Doe defense lawyer in the country right now.

Won’t it be awkward, Jordan, to threaten hapless Does with insane statutory maximums and financial ruin after saying that

@ThePietzLawFirm @Raul15340965 @BoothSweet @LegallyErin I completely agree. $750 - $150K + fed court litigation is outrageously unfair.

 

…or requesting the exculpatory evidence after publicly stating that

@HoustonLawy3r @DieTrollDie The exculpatory evidence could work against them, if someone fills it out and then they proceed w/ litigation

 

…or explaining friends why you describe yourself as an “unapologetic libertarian” in your Twitter profile while being in cohorts with those who attempted to use the state power to invade people’s privacy — literally intrude a defendant’s home — in a civil lawsuit.


I don’t have to explain time and again why these lawsuits are the real legal Ebola: an intellectually curious independently thinking person will grasp this in a second. Nonetheless, I have a premonition of half-assed sophistry in defense of the parasites after this post is published. I wash my hands. I will be closely watching Mr. Rushie’s cases and report a slightest newsworthy development, but I’m out of a “debate” that was already reduced to attacking my anonymity.

Confronted by DieTrollDie who asked why the change, Rushie replied:

No. I genuinely enjoy torrent litigation. Defense side is boring lately. P side is way more interesting.

 

Well, there is a snark, and there is a snark. I like good, politically incorrect, lightly offending humor, but when an attempt to be funny is used as a substitute for arguments, I frown rather than smile. It just reminds me Steele’s “run, mice, run while I laugh all the way to the bank” comments. Not funny.

Followups

 


¹ Matthias Schröder-Padewet signed numerous declarations for the lawsuits filed by Randazza. This guy was involved in a brazen massive fraud upon the US court system.

² Ironically, these pleadings were “pilfered” by Rushie’s next door office neighbor and drinking buddy Isaac Slepner, who was hired by Steele/Hansmeier to file a copycat fishing trip for a bogus plaintiff Guava LLC.

wordpress counter

Discussion

19 responses to ‘Copyright troll A. Jordan Rushie, or There and back again

  1. Great post. When we first saw Rushie switched sides I alerted our local counsel. With your post forwarded to them, they have an in-depth historical grounding. The Prenda connection Vis. his drinking buddy was new even to me.

    Jeffrey Antonelli

    Antonelli Law Ltd.

    100 North La Salle Street Suite 2400 Chicago, IL 60602

    Tel 312-201-8310

    http://www.Antonelli-Law.com

    Practice concentrated in complex civil litigation and business advice

    View my profile on LinkedIn

    CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: The information contained in this message from the law firm and/or attorney listed above and any attachments are confidential and intended only for the named recipient(s). If you have received this message in error, you are prohibited from copying, distributing or using the information. Please contact the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete the original message.

    • —————– Snip —————————-
      CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: The information contained in this message from the law firm and/or attorney listed above and any attachments are confidential and intended only for the named recipient(s). If you have received this message in error, you are prohibited from copying, distributing or using the information. Please contact the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete the original message.

      ————– End Snip ————————–

      Hillarious, you do realize this has no legal force don’t you.

  2. At the risk of considerable ire from the lawyering community, and admitting extreme cynicism on my part, is it at all possible that our would-be hero defended a few of the cases merely in the name of developing a primer on how to be a better plaintiff in cases like this?

  3. It is worth revisiting J. Rushie’s comment on Rob Cashman’s blog on 11/23/2012, after Mr. Rushie appeared for Doe 13 in Bellwether (See his Motion to dismiss dated 11/20/2012, in which many of Lipscomb’s predatory tactics are correctly outlined):

    I have a few thoughts on this…

    Having done both sides of this (and currently only on the defense), and interacted with both plaintiffs and defendants attorneys alike – the quality of lawyreing is higher on the plaintiffs side. Even the young pups doing these cases are usually answering to an experienced IP litigator. I know Prenda isn’t popular, but they’ve learned from their mistakes (just like every lawyer) and become good at what they do. The calls I get from individually named Prenda defendants are usually well vetted. If a young lawyer came to me and said they were considering working with a Plaintiff’s firm, my advice would be that it will probably hurt your reputation online (which isn’t that important), but you will at least be under the supervision and guidance of more experienced lawyers.

    In contrast, many of the defense attorneys I have dealt with simply want to get paid to file a motion and settle the case. If the motion to quash / sever gets denied, they would have no idea how to handle the case from there. Most don’t even bother to advise their clients that yeah, if you did download the Work(s), you could potentially be on the hook for some nasty statutory damages thanks to Congress. No matter how unfair it is, no matter how much you think joinder sucks, and no matter how many blogs slam Prenda / Malibu / I don’t know anyone else right now, there are serious penalties for willful copyright infringement. I didn’t write them and neither did the plaintiff – your elected officials did. Though many lawyers view them as no more than a small claims matter, they have the potential to become a serious undertaking with a lot at stake. However, some purported “Doe Defenders” are practically in bed with the Plaintiff’s lawyers and would never seriously litigate a case because that would be “bad for business” and the P lawyers would refuse to settle with them.

    (There are some really good defense lawyers out there. The work of Booth Sweet and Morgan Pietz, for instance, always wows me.)

    Finally, you do have to acknowledge one thing – people are pirating stuff off the internet. A lot of stuff. Congress has written federal laws giving them a right to redress it when their stuff gets pirated. They have a right to use the court system for redress.

    As lawyers, we represent clients – not causes. Granted, we sometimes have the right to select our clients, but there is nothing wrong representing a client to the best of your ability. Someone has to represent the copyright holders until a court decides to shut the operation down, just like how even a serial rapist deserves an attorney and a day in court.

    It’s unfair to attack lawyers just because they represent clients. Those clients have a Constitutional right to access the court system, even if their cause is unpopular.

    Attack the company for being greedy. Attack the legal tactics being employed. Attack the torrent tracking companies and their software. But attacking a lawyer simply for representing a client with an unpopular but legally redressable grievance goes against the purpose of the legal profession.

    See also Randazza’s pathetic comment and Rob’s reply in the same thread.

    • After reading this comment from Rushie, is it any wonder he has chosen to become a Porn Troll attorney? I am not talking about the obvious love affair he has with them, but the utter lack of intelligence, judgement and basic writing skills it shows. It’s far easier to fill out a form complaint.
      Snarky comments on just the first two paragraphs below.

      “Having done both sides of this (and currently only on the defense)”
      Really, you’ve “done both sides”? It’s “worked for both sides”. Also what the heck are you “on the defense” from?
      “I know Prenda isn’t popular, but they’ve learned from their mistakes (just like every lawyer) and become good at what they do.”
      Ya good call there.
      “The calls I get from individually named Prenda defendants are usually well vetted.”
      Who cares if your calls are vetted and what does that have to do with anything.
      “If a young lawyer came to me and said they were considering working with a Plaintiff’s firm, my advice would be that it will probably hurt your reputation online (which isn’t that important), but you will at least be under the supervision and guidance of more experienced lawyers.”
      Brett Gibbs called and want to give you your advice back.
      “In contrast, many of the defense attorneys I have dealt with simply want to get paid to file a motion and settle the case.”
      Ok, this is just makes for annoying reading. There has been no foundation laid for this “contrast”, at least try to keep up with your own arguments.
      “If the motion to quash / sever gets denied, they would have no idea how to handle the case from there.”
      “If” and “would” seems to indicate you have never hit a case where a “motion to quash / sever” was denied. Interesting that you never succeeded in defeating one.

      “Most don’t even bother to advise their clients that yeah, if you did download the Work(s), you could potentially be on the hook for some nasty statutory damages thanks to Congress.”
      So you were in the office when most spoke to their clients? Or are you just making facts up as you go along?
      “No matter how unfair it is, no matter how much you think joinder sucks, and no matter how many blogs slam Prenda / Malibu / I don’t know anyone else right now, there are serious penalties for willful copyright infringement.”
      I think I can play this game. “No matter how much you like ice cream, Moscow is in Russia.”

      “I didn’t write them and neither did the plaintiff – your elected officials did.”
      Actually, no they didn’t. The Copyright Act was written well before I could vote or “my” elected offials were even in Congress.

      “Though many lawyers view them as no more than a small claims matter, they have the potential to become a serious undertaking with a lot at stake.”
      Still think you’re making up facts as you go along.

      “However, some purported “Doe Defenders” are practically in bed with the Plaintiff’s lawyers and would never seriously litigate a case because that would be “bad for business” and the P lawyers would refuse to settle with them.”
      I’m betting this thought came to you while looking in the mirror, didn’t it.

  4. I will “attack” the lawyers who voluntarily chose to represent the Copyright Troll firms and the Plaintiff who decide to jump in bed with this settlement-generating business model. Note: For all the Troll/Plaintiff’s who want to claim I’m inciting violence or I’m part of an Internet Hate Group, you are wrong. The “attack” (Using Rushie’ word) is to simply report and spread the word on what these Trolls/Plaintiffs are doing. If people decide to not do business with them because of their choice/action, good. Rushie states the Plaintiffs have a Constitutional right to do this. Fair enough. I also have a Constitutional right to speak my mind and expose the actions of the Trolls/Plaintiffs – even anonymously. Much of what we say is opinion (based on analysis), so try not to get too upset with being called an “asshat.” Want to claim our words are not worth anything because you don’t know who I am? Go ahead. We have built a reputation and that hasn’t been ignored.

    I understand that Plaintiff have the right to protect their products, but let’s be honest, these cases have NOTHING to do with protecting their content. I think I do more to protect their content when I tell people to stop BTing it, as it is wrong. This is a settlement-generating business model run by a US & foreign companies to exploit piss-poor US Copyright Laws. It was designed with greed in mind and rationalization in practice. Darren Griffin, Crystal Bay Corp., and the Anti-Piracy Management Co. (and any future incarnation they morph into) – They stain the Trolls/Plaintiffs reputations. If you are a Troll attorney or Plaintiff, you wear the cloak of your masters by accepting his coinage – too bad. If you don’t like being called a Troll or scum, doing something to change your behavior. Otherwise you reap what you sow. Don’t cry to the court that your business is being damaged while you reside in a Mansion and talk about Gucci hand-bags. Crocodile tears.

    Rushie is right that Prenda learned from their mistakes and adapted. Same goes for Lipscomb/ Malibu Media/X-Art, etc. The tactics of Prenda and Malibu Media changed because people, firms, and organizations decided to call them out; otherwise they would still be running 500+ Doe cases with most of the people not even residing in the proper jurisdiction. The quality of the litigation may be good, but it still doesn’t mean the actions are right. IMO it is still a “turd,” so saying it is a really well-made turd is funny.

    DTD 🙂

  5. > Prenda, and Steele Hansmeier, litigated hundreds of cases in federal courts, many of which they won on.

    In that they rattled some sabers, maybe scared a few people who had no idea what was going on, or the people never showed up? Is Rushie going to provide evidence? (Not holding my breath.)

    > They blazed some new ground, and the law on joinder is split because of them.

    “This guy stole from a shop, and now we have a shoplifting law! He’s a genius and inspiration to us all!”

    > The ownership behind the corporations might be questionable, but at least they’re competent and have significant litigation experience.

    Last I checked, being skilled at doing something illegal was not an indication of being allowed to continue doing it.

  6. Post-bellwether, I left a comment on Jordan’s blog telling him about what I went through when Lipscomb had me in his sights (constant phone threats, including calls to my relatives). Jordan’s reply was “I’m not aware of any of that”. At the time, I thought maybe he really didn’t understand what had been going on, even though he reads Fight Copyright Trolls and the other blogs/twitter accounts and I figured he had to be at least *somewhat* aware of the extortionate aspect of all this, but now it appears he’s being willfully obtuse in order to collect a paycheck. Why else would you stoop to threatening people with lawsuits over a Steven Seagal movie. A STEVEN SEAGAL MOVIE… LOL!… this is just embarrassing, and about three steps below ambulance chasing. Jordan has to know it, which is why he’s nearing full-Godwin by questioning FCT’s anonymity.

    A self-described “Unapologetic Libertarian” who is an abject apologist for (corporate) copyright laws… oh brother. Does he really need money *that* badly? The Hawk Technology patent trolling that Lipscomb is into lately has got to finally give him pause. Jordan, please rethink this path, man! Don’t be a douche!

    • Thanks for your insight, I really doubt any appeal to Jordan’s dignity makes any sense at this point. He was given TONS of benefit of doubt. Not only us, “pirates” talked to him: I know a couple of lawyers who spent hours explaining him basic things, right and wrong, that stuff…

      Alas, watching this guy is like watching an addict who was abstinent for a year returning to his habit. A lost cause.

      BTW, I’m not saying that “I don’t give a fuck.” I do. I had a hope and closed my eyes to many things (like his drinking buddy inexplicably “plagiarizing” his pleadings for Prenda). I’m very, very disturbed. Not disappointed, not hurt, but disturbed.

  7. Just saw the Tweet about Rushie and former partner. Coincidence that they split up within one week of this story? I’m sure it was in the works already (maybe as a result of him being a CT again). I guess Jordan’s goal is to become the next big Copyright Troll. The lure of easy money must have been too great. Another lawyer forgets why he got into law in the first place I guess. What a loser . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s