Remember Elf-Man v. Lamberson (WAED 13-cv-00395) — a bittorent copyright infringement case that resulted in the troll (Guardaley) paying $100K attorney’s fees to an innocent defendant? It was an encouraging victory, a proof that a fighting victim can prevail over the secretive network of foreign “investors” and unethical attorneys who, as Judge Otis Wright aptly put it, have been “plundering the citizenry” for almost a decade.
In addition to giving hope to victims, this case lifted a cover of mystery from the trolls’ operations. Because of the defendant’s attorney Christopher Lynch’s diligent work, the public learned some of the trolls’ secrets (for example, the Griffin fraud, which is still waiting for a deserved attention from the alphabet agencies).
While almost three years passed since the judgment, it looks like this case still hides a ticking bomb or two – in the form of sealed exhibits – and has a potential of damaging the copyright trolling industry.
On 10/31/2017 the Center for Justice – a Spokane nonprofit organization “dedicated to access to justice, government accountability, and judicial transparency” – filed the motions to intervene and to unseal six exhibits:
In short, several of the documents filed under seal may expose how film companies, investigators and lawyers have coordinated an illegal settlement factory, sending threatening and deceptive letters to hundreds of targets, and seeking quick settlements priced just low enough that it is less expensive for the defendant to pay rather than to defend the claim.
The relevant documents:
- ECF 114: Center for justice’s motion to intervene for the limited purpose of challenging the sealing of court records (embedded above)
- ECF 115: Declaration of Richard K. Eichstaedt in support of center for justice’s motion to intervene (Mr. Eichstaedt is the Executive Director of the Center for Justice)
- ECF 116: Intervenor center for justice’s motion to unseal exhibits
- ECF 117: Declaration of Richard K. Eichstaedt in support of intervenor’s motion to unseal exhibits
- ECF 118: Defendant’s memorandum of support of the center for justice’s motion to intervene
- ECF 119: Defendant’s memorandum of support of the center for justice’s motion to unseal exhibits
- ECF 120: Declaration of J. Christopher Lynch regarding ECF Nos. 114 and 116: this declaration is embedded below; it outlines the history of the case and names the exhibits sought to be unsealed (and explains why):
It is too early to speculate when and if the exhibits in question will be made public. I hope they will, and if so, the new evidence of the trolls’ illegal conduct will help thousands of defendants, and maybe even facilitate a counter-attack against the trolls by means of a class action.
Just before the deadline to respond, the troll attorneys from this case (David Lowe and Maureen VanderMay) filed motions to extend time to respond to CFJ’s motions (ECF 121 and ECF 122).
Yesterday both Center for Justice and Christopher Lynch filed their oppositions to the trolls’ last minute requests for a delay:
[…] Given Elf-Man’s role in what appears to be fraud on the U.S. District Court system, Elf-Man should not receive any equity, such as its requested extension of time.
Elf-Man’s Motion, ECF No. 121, and its former counsel’s Motion, ECF No. 122, are filed late in violation of the Local Rules. Elf-Man has unclean hands and this Court should not grant its late motion filings. Mr. Lamberson respectfully requests that these Motions be denied.
- ECF 123: Reply in support of center for justice’s motions to intervene and unseal records
- ECF 124: Defendant’s memorandum in opposition to ECF Nos. 121 & 122
- ECF 125: Declaration of J. Christopher lynch regarding memorandum in opposition to ECF Nos. 121 & 122
On 2/5/18, Judge Rice granted the stipulated motion to unseal, except 40-1, which was instead redacted and filed as 132-1.
The unsealed documents are:
40-1132-1: Sales agency agreement
- ECF 40-2: Vision Films appointment letter
- ECF 44: The original plaintiff’s attorney Ms. VanderMay’s narrative of the relationship of Mr. Macek to Elf-Man
- ECF 52: Ms. VanderMay’s response to criticism of the Macek explanation
- ECF 66: Vision Films/APMC contract
- ECF 85: The long list of other works the defendant allegedly downloaded (in multiple languages)
I doubt that the unsealing is the intervenor’s end goal: I’m intrigued and waiting for the next steps.