Guardaley | X-Art

Malibu Media (X-Art) sues its former counsel Keith Lipscomb and his firm for professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty

Keith LipscombM. Keith Lipscomb

Today Malibu Media (a litigation shell of a hardcore “barely legal” pornography producer X-Art), represented by its new counsel, Pillar Law Group, filed a lawsuit in Central District of California against its former counsel, Michael Keith Lipscomb and his firm, Lipscomb, Eisenberg and Baker (CACD 16-cv-04715). I reported about an apparent quarrel between X-Art and Lipscomb, but I did not know the details. Now we have an opportunity to peek into the reasons behind the breakdown and the specifics of the shakedown operation in general.

The complaint is embedded below. In short, the plaintiff alleges that Lipscomb stopped paying the ransom settlement cut to Malibu in the fall of 2015, and Malibu hired Pillar Law to investigate the accounting. It turned out that there was no accounting at all. Lipscomb had been pulling plaintiff’s leg for half a year, promising cash flow reports that he never delivered (Prenda at least had a spreadsheet). Finally, Lipscomb said that those lawsuits are not profitable any longer, that Malibu was facing sanctions and massive fees, so he bailed out.

A couple of observations

1

The accusations confirm an open secret: it was Lipscomb who scouted for porn “clients,” not the other way around as alleged in thousands of Malibu’s declarations:

Defendants initially contacted MM by telephone, email and text messages in order to solicit MM to engage Lipscomb and LEB as its copyright enforcement counsel.

Such conduct most certainly runs afoul of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The irony is that Lipscomb himself used to groundlessly accuse some defense attorneys of soliciting clients.

2

It is eye-popping that a multi-million shakedown operation lacked any documentation, literally no retainer of any kind, no contracts:

Upon information and belief, at the inception of their representation, LEB never provided MM with a written and signed retainer agreement setting forth the standards upon which LEB would provide legal services to MM and bill for those services, including whether LEB’s fee would be on a contingency, flat fee, or hourly basis, and which contained provisions for charges and apportionment of settlement amounts and costs.

Raul offers a plausible explanation to that:

The oral contingency arrangement has always been an issue because it is believed that originally it was a three-way split between Lipscomb, MM and Guardaley. If written and discovered in lawsuit discovery… well it becomes problematic as it taints the “expert.”

This conduct can actually cost Lipscomb his attorney license (emphasis added):

A contingent fee agreement shall be in writing and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial, or appeal, litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery, and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated. Upon conclusion of a contingent fee matter, the lawyer shall provide the client with a written statement stating the outcome of the matter and, if there is a recovery, showing the remittance to the client and the method of its determination.

(Rule 4-1.5(f)(1) of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct.)

Lipscomb was supposed to do a fee statement for each of the 5,000+ lawsuits. He did not. It is a big deal. Part (2) of the rule is even worse, as it implicates the other lawyers in his firm, current or former (including Emilie Kennedy, who is Lipscomb’s adversary now).

3

Paragraph 30 indicates that there was a lawsuit filed by Lipscomb against Malibu Media, Pillar Law Group, and a couple of entities I never heard of:

On June 10, 2016, LEB and Lipscomb filed a lawsuit against MM and Pillar Law Group, APLC in Florida state court. In the lawsuit, LEB and Lipscomb revealed attorney-client privileged and confidential matters to the court and the public.

This lawsuit was filed in Miami-Dade County, and the complaint is sealed (i.e. the claim that privileged information was revealed to the public seems to be meritless). No doubt that the public interest in the material this complaint contains outweighs any privacy concerns, and there is a hope: I’ve been told that Florida’s Sunshine Law is pretty strong (the courts do not like sealing records unless to protect personal interest like children, nudity, etc.), and if a third party (i.e., a journalist) questioned the sealing, it is plausible that the seal would be lifted.

4

Raul observes:

To my reading, the complaint alleges a purposeful campaign to stall an accounting and then to hold the litigation campaign ransom for a release from liability. These are all, as alleged, purposeful acts. To my mind the only reason the negligence claim was alleged was to get the defendants’ malpractice insurance to the bargaining table which is always a smart move.

Overall, it is a positive development. This lawsuit will bring to light a lot of dirty laundry that the crooks tried to hide for a long time. The courts around the country are still under the spell that Bittorent lawsuits are legitimate, and more sunshine will definitely help King Théoden of Rohan to shake off Gríma Wormtongue‘s spell for good. In addition, I hope that Guardaley’s involvement (including an outright fraud: 200 forged declarations is not a joke) will spark interest of the alphabet agencies, if it has not already. Just look what is happening to Malibu’s cousin Prenda!

In the meantime, let vermin eat each other.

Coverage

Related

Updates

7/20/2016

Today, two days short of the deadline to answer the complaint, the defendants filed their ex-parte motion for extension, asking the court to extend the deadline to August 22. Mr. Lipscomb is seemingly conscious of not having a fool for a client, so he hired local attorneys: John W. Sheller and Wendy Wen Yun Chang, both listed as partners of a biglaw firm Hinshaw and Culbertson. The defendant states that plaintiff’s attorney Art Kalantar did not agree to an extension and is expected to file an opposition within 24 hours.

7/21/2016

As promised, the plaintiff filed its opposition to the extension, arguing that because Lipscomb didn’t waive service, he is not entitled to the relief.

Here, Defendants’ demand to extend their response deadline by 31 days violates Local Rule 8-3 in that it extends the deadline more than a cumulative total of thirty days. Had Defendants requested a reasonable extension such as 7 or 10 days, Plaintiff would have stipulated. However, here, Plaintiff could not stipulate to such an extension even if it wanted.

This is not a very complicated case. The complaint contains 57 paragraphs and four causes of actions. The fact that there is another lawsuit filed by Lipscomb in Florida against Plaintiff’s counsel and Plaintiff and other unrelated defendants, should play absolutely no role in this Court’s decision to grant defendants an extension of 31 additional days within which to plead. Lipscomb and LEB knew that they were going to be sued for their actions against Plaintiff. The fact that Lipscomb filed a frivolous and pre-emptive lawsuit in Florida state court should be of no consequence to this Court’s decision to grant this extension request.

It is unusual for lawyers to be that stubborn over a simple (and the first) extension request. Seems to me that the Pillar attorneys are confident that the amount of dirt they have on Mr. Lipscomb gives them the upper hand.

7/22/2016

No order on motion to extend time today. And no Lipscomb’s answer. Instead, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss

[…] pursuant to the doctrine of abstention set forth in Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 815, 96 S.Ct. 1236, 1245 (1976), because the parties and issues raised in the present action are substantially similar and should be asserted as a compulsory counterclaim to those raised in previously filed separate litigation pending in Florida state court […].

The requested motion hearing date is 9/6/2016.

7/28/2016

In the Miami-Dade state action, Pillar filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The motion was filed by specially appearing local attorneys Therese A. Felth and Alistair McKenzie from McKenzie Law Firm, PA. While the documents were filed on 7/20, they became available only today.

8/24/2016

Miami-Dade action:

On 7/28 (available 8/10), two mysterious defendants, Digital Analytics Inc. (DAI) and Digital Content Inc. (DCI), via Miami attorneys from Schlesinger and Associates, answered Lipscomb’s complaint. I correct myself: only DCI answered, while DAI moved to dismiss the breach of contract claim against it — arguing that while it was a successor of DCI (which was dissolved in 2014), all the obligations to Lipscomb had been fulfilled prior to the predecessor’s dissolution.

On 8/1 (available 8/17), two proofs of service — of Pillar and Malibu — were filed. Both were served on 7/1.

California action:

On 8/16, Malibu/Pillar filed an opposition to Lipscomb’s motion to dismiss, and on 8/23 Lipscomb replied to that opposition. No breathtaking revelations, although a thorough reader will find some new tidbits. Two new names found in Lipscomb’s declaration attached to the latter filing (page 13): Steve Kovacks and Eric Woldoff, DCI’s financial manager and CEO. I don’t know if it is the same Eric Woldoff who, among others, was sued by FTC for deceptive collection practices ten years ago. Given that the copyright shakedown enterprise in question is a borderline scam, it very well may be the same person.

Also, we learn that not only Jessica Fernandez joined Pillar, but Emilie also managed to lure two former Lipscomb’s paralegalsAlejandra Albuerne and Crystal Sebastian — to work for Malibu from home in Florida.

8/30/2016

In the California case, Lipscomb substituted his California attorneys with Barry Z. Brodsky of Kaufman Dolowich Voluck LLP (which employs Andrew Waxler, who represented Prenda’s Brett Gibbs in the widely publicized Ingenuity case).

New documents in the Miami-Dade case:

A new name: Thomas Hein, who worked as an account manager for German American Services, which is, according to his LinkedIn page,

German American Services is a Sales Service Provider for several Anti Piracy Service Providers, located in Germany, United Kingdom and U.S.A, offering copyright protection for content holders in the music, movie and software industry.

9/13/2016

On 9/6/2016, Judge Manuel Real granted Lipscomb’s motion to dismiss. So, the CACD case is over. The Miami-Dade case continues.

Florida: Two days later, Lipscomb moved for entry of a default as to Malibu Media, the only defendant that didn’t respond to the Miami-Dade lawsuit in any form.

9/30/2016

New documents on the Miami-Dade case:

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Discussion

77 responses to ‘Malibu Media (X-Art) sues its former counsel Keith Lipscomb and his firm for professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty

  1. Reservoir Dogs? Why is that the name of the movie? a friend once asked me. Well, I told them, in areas with wild dogs they hang out near watering holes, ponds, or puddles or whatever but as the summer goes on in some places it starts to dry up and the dogs, who once shared the water begin to turn on each other.

    Humans do it for a lot less than water is the difference.

  2. LOL! Let the mud slinging begin. Here is a fun idea, maybe Keith Lipscomb can get Marc Randazza to represent him, seeing he did so well when his former client went after him.

    DTD 🙂

  3. “On June 10, 2016, LEB and Lipscomb filed a lawsuit against MM and Pillar Law
    Group, A PLC in Florida state court. In the lawsuit, LEB and Lipscomb revealed
    attorney-client privileged and confidential matters to the court and the public.”

    OK, FL Does and Attorneys. Who can get copies? 🙂

    DTD 🙂

  4. I have always said that once the trolls get addicted to that sweet sweet easy settlement cash , it is hard for them to walk away from because they dont have to do a lot to get it.

    Look at the Prenda gang, they took on legit porn clients who owned their works being sued over and Prenda kicked the porn outfits their cut and then took their cut and whittled it down further to the lawyers that worked on cases for them.

    One day Hans and Steele I imagine got tired of having to give a cut to those greedy porn companies, so I assume they came up with the brilliant idea of making their own movie, making up a shell, making up a head of that shell company, and make the copyright assigned to that shell and start suing down loaders but keeping all the profit ( this is were greed got the best of them, sweet sweet settlement cash and not having to give a dime up )

    And of course once things started to get put together on who, what, where and how Prenda’s new clients were, well we all know how that turned out thanks to some very clever anti troll folks and Doe Counsel’s and once the house of cards came tumbling down, it tumbled and the effects are still being felt.

    Now our two Fav Prenda trolls Steele and Hans just were loathe to give up such a lucrative source of income with little work involved, and as I said we all know how hard that sweet settlement cash is to walk away from…So hard apparently that Hans and Steele got into the Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuits.

    Once again ADA settlements have been easy money and the trolls love that easy cash. ( now we all know how proliferating the state of MN and angering many small business owners is what Hans did in his quest for easy money..it pissed small business owners that the state passed into law a grace period for a small business owners to comply with any ADA deficiencies that were being targeted over in terms of the ADA act ( way to go Paul…nothing like making people come together to achieve a goal)

    Now of course the Lipscomb / Malibu feud over monies owed for settlements received could be something or it could be nothing. I am sure Lipscomb will want it kept under wraps to keep the Does and their Counsel’s at bay, however it seems we may seem some of the dirty laundry flapping in the wind in the coming days and weeks.

    Remember as I said before the trolls get addicted to that sweet sweet settlement money and they are loathe to give it up, this may be a look into how making a deal with the devil doesnt always pay off. Personally I hope that X-Art /Lipscomb both lose hair and sleep over this lovers spat. IMHO both are greedy soul suckers who care about nothing but the almighty dollar and they are getting what they deserve with more to come I hope.

    This very could well explain why poor Collette had to step away from her boxes of wine and step back into being a real estate agent again, must be tough having to slum and work for money and to move out of the 16 Milllion dollar palace of porn they bought.

    Maybe we will see other law enforcement entities take an interest in how Malibu and Lipscomb ran their avenues of litigation and where the monies owed went and what was declared tax wise. Time will tell.

    I will admit, I do have a rather large smile on my face

  5. We knew MM was moving into financial straits, and this provides a slice of the whys and wherefores of that.

    Now it comes out that the agreement between Lipscum and MM the lawyerly equivalent of a handshake deal – nothing written down.

    Now I wonder. Were Lipscum et al., pulling a con job on MM? Or, was the gravy train slowing down and they were aware of it but not willing to tell their ‘client’, only to get called on it? Then they had to fudge the numbers some, and MM was pressuring them to come up with the (nonexistent) cash from those (also non-existent) settlements?

    Personally, based on what’s in the complaint, I think it was a con job or dern close to it, and Lipscum engineered things to leave MM holding the bag when things inevitably went south on them.

    • The oral contingency arrangement has always been an issue because it is believed that originally it was a 3 way split between Lipscomb, MM and Guardaley. If written and discovered in lawsuit discovery…..well it becomes problematic as it taints the “expert”.

    • From the complaint, MM was advised that they needed to finance the operation and that could be done via withholding their cut of proceeds. MM was not happy after getting used to getting a monthly check and ran to another attorney.

      I recall in one of Lipscomb emails, from years ago, that the contingency agreement was roughly 70% for legal, 20% for investigators, and 10% for client. In contingency agreements the lawyer provides legal services, however the client still pays for out of pocket expenses, expert testimony, and court fees. The plaintiff, MM is liable for awards in losing case. Lipscomb is only liable for malpractice or court sanctions.

      21 days for MM to hire a new attorney is plenty of time.

      We are only seeing one side of the story. The complaint doesn’t seem very strong.

  6. Paragraph 32 (b) & (c) reference instances in which Malibu Media had to pay out . (c) might be MI or FL but not sure.

  7. But they were always worried about the IHG taking them out… they never looked at their very own Iago to be the one holding the dagger. (One wonders perhaps cash was being stock piled to weather the Feds poking around a firm willing to hire indicted scum.)

    Considering the history of how well they follow court orders, rules, procedures…
    This is going to be a massive dump into the workings of the “scheme”.

    As I am want to do…

    Bye Felecia.gif

  8. Remember the good old days when Colette sang the praises of Lipscomb, that he could do no wrong and he was a legal genius?

  9. …here’s an idea for both Keith and for MM

    Maybe they can all make up some ‘evidence’ with only a whiff of any hint of a real legal question to it, and certainly with little to no monetary damage……..then they can make up some self-serving shit and lies so they can paste it into a complaint/motion and file it with the courts, threatening each other with outrageous and exorbitant ‘damages’ amounts far in excess of any real harm……..then they can proceed to try to EXTORT the other on these baseless charges…….then they can fight tooth-and-nail on any discovery or other motion despite having no rational reason to do so other than to hide, obfuscate, and extend the proceedings over and over again……then they can whine like hurt little bitches, and try to run and hide from fees/penalties/sanctions, when any rational judge points out their extortion lawsuit scheme as being unworthy, immoral, unethical, likely criminal, and ultimately damaging to the courts and the citizenry…….

    Oh! Wait! That process is already in use! And these pathetic assholes may have already ‘copyrighted’ or ‘patented’ that process too. Oops. That would mean the above suggestion might be encouraging one party or the other to make use of an illegally obtained copy of the COPYRIGHT EXTORTION SCHEME they’ve already been utilizing to criminally profit. Can’t have that now can we?

  10. Numbered Paragraph #30 jumped out at me. I think someone needs to find a copy of this complaint filed in “Florida state court” so we can get the other side of the story.

    “30. On June 10, 2016, LEB and Lipscomb filed a lawsuit against MM and Pillar Law Group, APLC in Florida state court. In the lawsuit, LEB and Lipscomb revealed attorney-client privileged and confidential matters to the court and the public.”

      • If it is now sealed, the assertion that LEB and/or Lipscomb released client-attorney information to the public is essentially nullified for the moment. Boy, someone has to have a copy of this complaint filing somewhere. If some anonymous source would leak it…

        This could be very informative and instructive to the my readership on ELI which generally don’t have to deal with some of the extreme legal shenanigans FCT covers.

        That is why I continue to follow FCT. One never knows what insights we can gain! And this story is very intriguing indeed!

  11. @Matthew S. Chan — According to the eighth paragraph of this article, the Florida case is under seal, on grounds that it involves lawyerly misbehavior.

    Maybe that’s why I hear Don Henley’s music playing in my head right now.

  12. To my reading the complaint alleges a purposeful campaign to stall an accounting and then to hold the litigation campaign ransom for a release from liability. These are all, as alleged, purposeful acts. To my mind the only reason the negligence claim was alleged was to get the defendants’ malpractice insurance to the bargaining table which is always a smart move.

  13. “Dances”
    Oh, my…can you really sue in court to enforce an agreement that is illegal on its face??? Do you think you can possibly win??? Especially with the IHG present???

    There’s a strong case that the FL complaint is newsworthy and should not be sealed…time to start asking!

  14. Me: What’s that beeping noise out in the driveway?
    Wife: It’s a FedEx truck. Big one.
    Me: The popcorn delivery is here!

  15. This story needs to be spread far & wide: exploiting the legal system to shake down a few hundred thousand people is fun and all … but when the party’s over, you WILL ALL devour one another.
    Ermagerd! The troll leryers and clients are all suing eachother?!? Can you blame a vulture for having bad breath?

  16. One thing we never found out about the Prenda scheme is how much money they made.

    We know that Steele was lying in his interview. We have to guess which way he thought would serve him best — overstating (to appear to be successful, to appeal to new local attorneys, to ‘franchise’ his scheme and to intimidate targets to settle) or understating (to avoid tax questions or legal scrutiny). He was mostly bluster and believed he was smart enough to avoid being stopped, so I’m guessing their revenue was at the low end of a $3M to $15M range.

    In this case we might actually find out the take. My guess is that it’s at the high end of a $6M-$18M range. The MM scheme had many more mouths to feed, and much more work to actually file cases, so their margins were lower.

  17. Reading the complaint:
    #11: Caveat Emptor. You did a handshake agreement on someone who just called you up and offered to represent you? Seriously? I’ve got a bridge here to sell.
    #29: Why wasn’t MM able to procure local counsel? I thought local counsel, licensed to practice in Michigan, was required in order to file a non-pro-se motion.
    #32b: This indicates that MM settled in one of their actions before sanctions could be imposed. I wonder what case that was…
    #41: Passing along filing fees to the client is financial malfeasance? I would think that the client ends up getting hosed for every expense of a lawsuit.
    #43: OK, so for three years, you didn’t have a problem with cashing checks from Lipscum. Only when the flow dried up did you start moaning about cash flow statements and accounting?
    #55c: Overcharging? How about the threats of massive damages threatened by MM against their targets? Pot, meet kettle.

    Just back that popcorn truck up to the storage shed. Thanks.

    • #29 —

      It’s possible that either 1) MM’s reputation preceded, causing local counsel to run, not walk to the nearest exit, not collecting $200.00 while en route; or 2) information was not communicated and/or understood, either purposefully or not.

      Annnnnnnd….we’re going to have to find a different place to store all this product. There’s no room to back a semi up to that shed, and it’s way too small to hold it all.

      • “It’s possible that either 1) MM’s reputation preceded, causing local counsel to run, not walk to the nearest exit, not collecting $200.00 while en route; or 2) information was not communicated and/or understood, either purposefully or not.”

        Its also possible that MM and Pillar conspired to not look very hard for outside council so that they could try to blame the loss of the unwinnable case on Lipscomb in this lawsuit rather than on the lack of an actual meritorious case on their part.

  18. Sounds like a real can of worms. 21 days to hire an attorney is plenty of time, and if they had difficulty, they could have hired an attorney to request more time. Plus it appears Emilie Kennedy had already left Lipscomb and was working for Pillar Law Group with plans to handle Malibu Media’s copy infringement cases. It appears that Pillar Law Group is now handling the BitTorrent cases. So it seems they are the one who dropped the ball in the Michigan case.

    After Emilie Kennedy started working for Pillar Law Group, it probably created an unworkable relationship that lead Lipscomb suing Malibu Media and Pillar Law Group. We don’t know what Lipscomb lawsuit is, possible predatory and ethic violations by Emilie and Pillar Law Group.

    Can’t help but hope that they all bleed each other into bankruptcy. Collette and Brigham sure were happy when the monthly payments were coming in.

  19. Hmmmmm
    Keith Lipscomb’s email
    “Malibu is winding its copyright campaign down because it is no longer profitable.”

    Collette Declaration
    “We do not seek to use the Court system to profit from the infringement like some have suggested. “

    • i was a victim of this scam (i chased my local troll away with very good, and true, RPR response (as several attempts to serve were underway!). so i’m pleased to see plenty of holes being punched into this ship but i wonder if this was not all expected and planned by both parties….it will take years for any real commupance and all scumbags involved will have plenty of time to squirrel/hide away profits, find new scams, drop out of sight, etc…

  20. I’d love to know more about the parties to Lipscomb’s Florida suit. Who is “Data Analytics, Inc.”? Is that a shell of Guardaley? Is Lipscomb suing MM, Pillar and Guardaley for cutting him out of the loop and leaving him with the bill for all of the lawsuits?

    And, if Emilie Kennedy really did leave Lipscomb’s firm for Pillar, I’d have to wonder at this point how it is even legal for her, since undoubtedly has inside knowledge of Lipscomb’s business, to leave and work for a firm that is taking his business and suing him? Normally you can’t just take your inside knowledge to a competitor and use it against them. It does not seem like Pillar has clean hands in this suit.

    We really, really need to see the Florida suit.

    • If you go to Pillar’s website, Emilie Kennedy is listed as one of their attorneys.

      Who are the 1 to 100 does being sued. The complaint doesn’t explain anything about them, or what they did, or who they may be?

  21. This document sheds some damning light on their purported financial “struggles” earlier this year. Odd, I’m pretty sure that both Keith AND Collete have said under oath that their revenue stream was largely from subscriptions to their site and only peanuts from their trolling operation. Now ironically when their ill-gotten gains stopped flowing in, suddenly their forced into financial hardship?
    Now that the lid has partially come off, tactically there is finally some documented leverage for defense councils around the nation. There is solid proof that Collete and Brigham did not retain council to help them protect their copyrights, quite the opposite they were lured in by Lipscomb into a mutually beneficial business partnership. Many of us have known this all along, but the proof was never there. One begins to wonder, who’s idea was it to create “Malibu Media LLC”? The Fields, or LEB lawfirm? Seeing how business savvy the couple are(sarcasm implied) it would strongly suggest that the entire MM machine was a product of Lipscomb’s mind.
    Finally, I did a little digging into what this Data Analytics INC might be. I couldn’t find much, but what I did find suggests that it may very well be a company that provides financial and other data on their John Doe targets when they are deciding whether the individual they plan to sue has a fat enough wallet to pay their ransom. Regardless, it’s clear that the rabbit hole goes deeper and we are only scratching the surface. I agree with SJD, it should be fun to sit back and enjoy the vermin eat each other!

  22. There is a Malibu case management conference going on in CAND now. Judge Alsup just said “my law clerk tells me Malibu Media fired their counsel Keith Lipscomb.” 🙂

  23. From one of the articles above it seems that Lipscum is alleging that Pillar basically poached Emilie Kennedy and she took all of the inside information with her.

    On the other hand if Pillar was hired by MM to look into Lipscum then perhaps she had an ethical obligation to turn the information over to them and her relationship with MM lead her to jump ship.

    I wonder if attorneys representing any of MM’s victims can intervene, if there was unethical stuff going on surely they have an interest in knowing.

    Finally, Why has Lipscomb and/or Pillar Group not appeared in many these cases? If they are in fact generating the documents and directing the litigation I think they should have. If I were fighting one one of these cases (IANAL) I would file an motion with the court for disclosure of Lipscums involvement. Clearly the documents files by the local attorneys are nearly identical across more than 4,000 cases and that can’t happen by accident.

  24. More attorneys left Lipscomb’s firm.

    Compared to April, 2016:

    M.Keith Lipscomb
    Deborah Baker-Egozi
    Steven E. Eisenberg
    Angela M. Lipscomb
    Gary Lehman
    Lisa Lehner
    Jose Talavera
    Jessica Fernandez
    Alberto Interian III
    Emilie Kennedy
    Daniel C. Shatz
    Rachel E. Walker
    David Tamaroff

    (The names of attorneys whose main responsibility was to handle Malibu Media cases are in bold font.)

    Kennedy, Fernandez, and Shatz left first, in April. The others, including a founding partner D. Baker, just recently: I believe I checked the site in June, and Baker, Walker & Lehner were there.

    Jason Cooper, who handled bittorent cases as well, left in January.

    As if something triggered a self-preservation instinct in attorneys with sensitive to heat asses.

    • After Baker’s departure, the firm was renamed to “Lipscomb & Eisenberg,” or “LE.” Don’t confuse for “Law Enforcement,” it is rather “Litigation Extortion.”

      Also, Lipscomb hired a new attorney, Scott D. Lehman

  25. I located Shatz at another firm.
    I could not locate Fernandez, there appear to be more than one attorneys in the Miami area with that name.

    • Fishy. The complaint says:

      LEB and/or Lipscomb also breached their fiduciary duty to MM in their representation of MM in a case entitled Malibu Media LLC v. John Doe, filed in a United States District Court. In that case, LEB and/or Lipscomb failed to properly disclose two of MM’s experts as providing expert testimony under Federal Rule 26(a)(2)(A). Based thereon, the court struck the expert testimony, granted a dispositive motion, and entered judgment in favor of the defendant. MM was liable for attorney’s fees, and settled defendant’s attorney’s fees and costs claim for a sum that is the subject of a confidential settlement agreement.

      ..while the 4/1/2016 stipulation explicitly states that

      Plaintiff, Malibu Media, LLC, and Defendant, John Doe, subscriber assigned IP address 24.14.81.195 (“Defendant”), by their undersigned counsel, hereby stipulate that this case may be close for administrative purposes. Each party shall pay its own attorneys’ fees and costs.

      Either Malibu is lying or there was a backroom deal (doesn’t it violate some rules and laws if so?).

  26. Perhaps as per Lipscomb porn tolling became “unprofitable” because the payment structure changed. …https://fightcopyrighttrolls.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/gfy.png

    • As all the other Malibu’s locals, Cerillo is an insignificant lawyer and a shitty human being, that’s all. Without the Troll Center, he is nothing. Right now the said center is on life support, and will eventually collapse. Although Emilie/Pillar said that the “were thinking” about resuming filing the lawsuits, I seriously doubt that it will happen. As a matter of fact, X-Art is currently looking for an alternative approach to feed its greed, and that approach doesn’t include filing lawsuits. The troll is winding down its operations (as to abusing the court system), and it is 100% bluff at this moment. Because of the split, both the Germans and Patrick Paige are seemingly out of X-Art’s reach now. As a result, they are not going to testify or provide affidavits unless Colette opens her purse wide, which I doubt will ever happen.

      I, frankly, don’t understand people who are settling with Malibu today. It’s either irrational fear, inability to do research, or scammy “defense” lawyers who scare the shit out of defendants and push them to pay ransom. Time is defendants’ friend now.

      So, you may rightfully despise Cerillo, but he is just a sad minor goon in this game.

      • ok then. hopefully he drops his case against me 😉
        i got “served” 2 days ago. a summons was left hanging out of my neighbors mailbox. don’t see how that legally qualifies as being served. also, it was dated 15 days before that, leaving me 6 of the 21 days to respond? I hope that’s not how it works. I’d like to write a very good response. these people are unfathomably immoral human beings.

        • While I do opine that Malibu is winding down and it looks like dragging the feet is a good strategy now, I’m sure you understand that this opinion by no means is a legal advice. The case was already filed against you, and the troll will do anything in its power to extort money from you (given its diminishing resources). It’s a professional playing field, and I recommend to at least call a couple of lawyers and listen to them. A good lawyer will not charge for that, and he/she will never push for a retainer or a specific action (e.g., to settle): a good lawyer must outline all the possible ways to proceed and associated risks.

          You should know that there are vultures our there who will only push to settle.

          Saying that, I didn’t mean that one cannot proceed pro se. There are many success stories when people represented themselves and won. The downside is that requires dedication and time to learn how to properly do it, and time translates to money: for some people hiring an attorney is effectively cheaper.

          In any case, good luck.

        • I am also not qualified to give legal advice, but don’t just ignore it. If you do they will have you declared in default and try to get a default judgement and your life will get more complicated trying to fight that.

        • This is a rather unexpected development. Interestingly, these cases rely on “IPP International” as an expert. IPP is tainted by an alleged contingency agreement — a situation Malibu was forced to tap dance around. Pillar, Kennedy et al are being reckless IMO. It is rumored that X-Art is considering a radically different way to monetize alleged infringements: their new lawfirm could put blame all the previous Guardaley-associated frauds on Lipscomb if (or rather when) the FBI becomes involved, however now they decided to close this avenue off. Greed is a powerful drug, and addicts are prone to recklessness.

          It will be interesting to see which signature appears on declarations when ex parte discovery motions are filed and if Mr. Vicodin is going to participate in the renewed shakedown.

          • Any thoughts on if they might start up in FL again, given that they’ve broken new ground in CT and started up again in CA and NY?

          • Hard to predict. The fact that they resumed filing at all was surprising enough. Both Kennedy and Fernandez are licensed in FL, so technically it would be easy. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that Lipscomb filed bar complaints against those two, so it wouldn’t be wise as I see it. And we have Cynthia Conlin there, who proved to be troll’s pain in the butt. So, my bet — they won’t, but I already was wrong doubting the shakedown resurrection.

      • 33 more suits filed by Henrik M. Mosesi on behalf of MM in CA on 7/24, and 2 filed by Jacqueline M. James in CT on 7/25.

  27. In my opinion, IN THESE TYPE OF CASES default judgement isn’t that bad. I did research on it. Initially, I thought default judgement was very bad (just like everyone else). However, default judgement just means the US court system has decided that the defendant owes Malibu Media money — whatever the amount in the complaint is. HOWEVER, every trial lawyer can tell you winning a lawsuit is the easy part, COLLECTING the money is the hard part.

    Just because a default judgement is levied against a defendant, this does not mean Malibu media can just “go after the defendant” for money. If the defendant refuses to pay even after “losing”, the Malibu media will need to go to ANOTHER court; go in front another Judge to beg the judge to allow it to start garnishing wages/force the defendant to pay. To do this Malibu needs to pay around $400 (in addition to the $400 that it cost Malibu to file the initial lawsuit).

    So lets say Malibu does that. Well, the defendant can just go to bankruptcy court and file chapter 7 – it’s one single form cost $400. Because this type of infringement is not malicious regardless what Malibu media says (every bankruptcy court has said simple copyright infringement including bit-torrent is not malicious). This non-secured debt from Malibu will be easily discharged. I.e., the defendant will not owe Malibu a single cent. There is not even a “means test” for the bankruptcy because most of the debt will be unsecured debt.

    This explains why Malibu media (as far as I know) never goes after a defendant once a default judgement as been rendered. Not worth the time and money since the defendant can easily declare bankruptcy (note: you can only declare bankruptcy every, I think 7 years).

    Also, even though technically after default judgement, the defendant owes malibu media money; there is a statue of limitations on the debt. The debt goes away after IIRC 3 years if you ignore it. In other words, wait around 3 years after the default judgement, and mailbu media if they still exists (or anyone else for that matter) who comes knocking looking for money, you can tell them to POUND SAND.

    In any case, this is my opinion. I’m not giving legal advice or anything. However, this would explain why copyright trolling is not as profitable as it use to be. There use to be questions regarding the dischargeability of debt due to bit torrent copyright violations, but that has been pretty much answered – it’s not malicious and will be discharged. The Malicious copyright offensive are the ones that are not dischargable.

    I think the people who are paying the copyright trolls are the ones who don’t know better, or are high profile and they don’t want their names sullied (local celebrities, local politicians, etc.)

      • Yeah, debt collectors can harass you a bit, but they have to be very careful (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection). There are limits to what a debt collector are allowed to do or they will be fined $$$$. You can EVEN tell them to stop. Obviously, these debt collectors can then sue you, but it’s unsecured debt so even if they win, it’s unlikely they will collect. It will only waste their time and money…. Debt collectors just hope that you are not smart enough to know what you are doing and pay the their settlement. What ultimately happens when someone doesn’t pay is that the debt collector just does nothing since it’s fruitless to sue. After the statute of limitation expires on the debt (IIRC 3 years), the original defendant owes nothing to nobody. It wouldn’t even be on his credit report…

  28. The motion for an extension states the various causes of action alleged in the confidential FL complaint previously filed by Lipscomb. All the causes of action are reasonably understandable given what little factual information we have. However what the fuck is going on with the Fl Computer Abuse and Data Recovery Act claim? This is a nasty, vague and Orwellian state statute and I, for one, cannot figure out how it fits into what little fact pattern we know. Nonetheless it seems to echo Prenda’s abuse of the CFAA during the Lightspeed, Guava, etc., debacle.

    • Let me give it a shot.
      Attorney A works for Client Z
      Attorney A gives Attorney B access to a DropBox account with various confidential documents, (billing hours, settlement amounts etc.)
      Attorney B leaves Attorney A’s practice and shares DropBox access with Attorney C
      Attorney C uses information from DropBox while convincing Client Z to switch Attorneys.

      Attorney A would be the ‘owner of information” stored in a protected computer’
      Attorney B would violate CADRA if they accessed the DropBox account after leaving the practice or Attorney C would violate CADRA if they accessed the DropBox at all.

      (I used DropBox as I seem to remember Prenda sharing spreadsheets via DropBox)

  29. No one mentioned yet that the lawsuit was assigned to a judge who is, in many lawyers’ opinion, is one of the worst jurists on the bench — Honorable Manuel Real.

    From a recent Reuters’ column:

    […] For much of his long career, the judge has been dogged by controversy and overruled by the 9th Circuit. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2009, Judge Real’s reversal rate has been as high as 10 times the average for federal judges. The Times found the appeals court removed Real from presiding over remanded cases at least 11 times.

    It’s like “Instant Karma” is not just a figure of speech, and our litigants draw the judge they both deserve.

  30. Aren’t they ( LEB) kind of over bounds in asking not only for the same information from each person or Pillar, but also things that are protected by client -lawyer confidentiality? Also many of the things asked for could not be produced by all of them, as not in their control or possession if existing.

    I also thought it funny that they asked that all possible sources not searched for nonexistent materials be listed. How does one even know what all possible sources exist for nonexistent materials or existing materials for that matter.

    One thing I saw the way it was written seemed to indicate that DCI/DAI/Gas sought out and hired LEB to enforce copyright for Malibu. Where as Malibu said LEB sought them out.

    Anyone notice the IPP is missing in all of this? It almost seems like DCI/DAI might have done the same thing IPP did as to monitoring, and GAS was the conduit to IPP for $$$ or something.

    I think we may find like, with Prenda, the shells and scam is larger then one thought.

    This seems like a Pandora’s box to be opened. The reams of paper could amount to truckloads if all that they are demanding even exists from each person or entity.

    My question for anyone – Why was DAI/DCI or GAS never disclosed in cases as party with a financial interest….if they are they ones who asked LEB to enforce the copyrights for Malibu, and they are the ones deciding who gets sued, then shouldn’t they have been disclosed?

  31. Hey SJD:
    There’s some wierd stuff with blank pages going on when I look at the Pillar Group’s motion to stay discovery. Check the second through fifth pages, then check the entire doc.
    Thanks!

    • Thanks for noticing: re-captured and re-uploaded. The Miami-Dade site does not allow direct pdf downloads, only to view them in an pop-up window, so I “print to pdf,” which is apparently buggy.

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