Not surprisingly, this film was in part produced by Voltage Pictures.
A 2012 fishing expedition
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.
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:
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 18.104.22.168, (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.
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
…or requesting the exculpatory evidence after publicly stating that
…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:
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.
- In the wake of Prenda: Jordan Rushie “represents” a sham client
- Good Man Productions, Inc.: a zombie troll plaintiff
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.