Hilarious New Team Prenda Argument: Judge Wright's Order Is Irrelevant Because of Gay Marriage

All of Popehat's Prenda coverage is collected here.

When last we left the Prenda Law team, it was reeling from a devastating sanctions order and referral for criminal investigation. Now, as predicted, defense attorneys across the country are filing that order in cases brought on behalf of Prenda Law clients.

This has already led to one comical result.

You may remember that Attorney Jacques Nazaire, representing Prenda Law entity AF Holdings in Georgia, filed an angry and rather bizarre opposition to a defendant's motion for sanctions there. Now, in response to that defendant filing Judge Wright's order — which is what Judge Wright clearly contemplated, and which involves informing the Georgia federal court of an order that is patently relevant to the proceedings — Jacques Nazaire has doubled down and flipped out.

In his objections to defendant Patel's filing of Judge Wright's order about Prenda and AF Holdings, Nazaire argues that the filing is late and not authorized by the local rules, because it is effectively a "sur-reply" – that is, a reply to a reply. That's what just about any lawyer would say; it's within the realm of reason.

But then:

9. While this Court may or may not agree with some of the issues presented in
the California case, unbeknownst to the defendant, the California case will not necessarily become a mandate on this Court. It is solely within the discretion of this Court to follow or not follow the decisions made in the California case.

10. The defendant should realize that California has different laws than
Georgia, a different Governor than Georgia; a different legislative body than Georgia, different business needs than Georgia and different views than Georgia and as such all of its decisions cannot serve as a mandate for Georgia.

11. For example the California Courts have legalized gay marriage. Perry v.
Schwarzenegger 704 F.Supp.2d 921 (N.D. Cal., 2010);Certified question, 628 F.3d 1191 (9th. Cir.); Answered 52 Cal.4th 1116 (2011) Affirmed, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir.) Such a decision cannot serve as a mandate on Georgia Courts to legalize gay marriage as well.

Sure, Nazaire is trying to make a point that the decisions of a United States District Judge in one state do not dictate the decisions of a United States District Judge in another state. But he's doing it in a hilariously silly and inflammatory way. Moreover, the core argument is misleading: both cases are copyright cases premised in federal law, and Judge Wright's decision was premised in federal law. This isn't a case about California or Georgia state law.

Nazaire then proceeds to start throwing Prenda principals under the now battered and flat-tired bus, suggesting he shouldn't be sanctioned:

19. Defendant also argues that plaintiff’s counsel should have made reasonable inquiry of the signature. Prior to filing the document, the undersigned contacted Prenda Law to find out whether or not Mr. Cooper would be available to testify at trial but was advised that they could not locate Mr. Cooper. The undersigned was advised that Mark Lutz and Peter Hansmeier would be available to testify as witnesses. Had the undersigned realized that the Electronic Frontier Foundation was hanging with Mr. Cooper, he would have been able to track down Mr. Cooper and questioned him about the documents. It turns out that Mr. Cooper was a caretaker of one of the properties of a Prenda Law member and had left said property in August, 2012.

20. Therefore, even if the undersigned had placed a knife to the throats of each of Prenda’s members, none would have been able to give him Mr. Cooper’s contact information at the time on November 5, 2012 when Plaintiff commenced its law suit. It is certainly not the first time a company has lost contact with an agent (or alleged agent as stated).

I'm going to give Mr. Nazaire Internet Points for responding to Star Trek references with a "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" reference that is far more subtle.

Nazaire is also infuriated that his opposing counsel submitted one of his emails:

32. Additionally, an email containing information that was sent by the undersigned, in strict confidence, to Mr. Chintella was presented as evidence in that California case by Mr. Chintella. Chintella went behind plaintiff’s counsel’s back without any notification and submitted the email contents as evidence in order to influence the California case; the same case that now he presents to this Court as a mandate; the same Georgia case from which he intends to profit.

Yeah, here's the thing: if you write something to opposing counsel, especially in a case like this, you should expect it can get filed in court if it's relevant.

Nazaire's filing is furious and more than a little manic.

Is this real life?

Hat tip to Fight Copyright Trolls, via Twitter.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. MEP says

    Does anybody else think of that scene in Idiocracy where they stage a trial? The lawyers are idiots and not a single one of their arguments makes any legal sense. One of the lawyers even argues that the defendant is guilty because his reasonable arguments about his own innocence sound, "faggy". That scene springs to mind a lot when I read about Prenda.

  2. Regular Guy says

    I really don't understand his strategy. (Aside from the lack of authority.) The last two filings were not at all the works of a person who recognizes and employs good strategy. Nazaire could have gone away quietly, and would likely have been respected for doing so. He was a tool, and I would have understood if he did not know all of the issues involving his superiors.

    What's odd is that – now that he KNOWS – he is hitching is wagon even more firmly to the Prendanistas. His strategy is essentially to tie the knot tighter to a large sinking ship. Does he really have a client? If not, why would he insist on being sucked into this mess? A good general knows when to retreat. This guy is far from a good general.

  3. Blaise Pascal says

    As I understand it, Judge Wright ordered that his Order be distributed to all courts where Prenda et al are plaintiffs. So one way or another the Georgia court was going to receive a copy anyway, right?

  4. says


    re "Because gay marriage": a wise man once said:

    Context doesn't sell; silly bits ripped from context sell. Insipid sensationalism is an old story.

    Do you really think that it's just a coincidence that Nazaire, in attempting to discredit Judge Wright and California and California law, led with a comment about gay marriage to a Georgia court?

    I don't. I think the choice was deliberate — just like the following examples about immigration or gun rights.

  5. doeknob says

    To all the lawyerly types:

    Is it normal for attorneys to brag about their history with cases in court filings?

    I remember in the last response Nazaire was bragging about his settlement "wins" and experience in military type law. In this filing he was bragging about his stellar record with consumer litigation.

    It seems so……classless

  6. jimmythefly says

    @ Ken,

    C'mon. Your headline is:

    "Hilarious New Team Prenda Argument: Judge Wright's Order Is Irrelevant Because of Gay Marriage"

    That's not their argument, it's a very clear-cut example of how the laws of California and Georgia differ. Your headline is misleading and slightly sensationalist.

    And he didn't lead with it, it's point #11, and again, used as an example, not the central reason.

  7. z! says

    Is there some automaton out there that grabs pieces of news headlines and stuffs them into legal briefs? Perhaps Nazaire subscribes to that service. I also wonder if he even read Wright's order, with the part about distribution to other courts.

  8. z! says

    jimmythefly- what does it matter, anyway? They're federal courts with federal laws. How does the difference in state law come in to play?

  9. Canonical says

    This could be handy, actually. My husband comes home: "Honey, why didn't you grab the mail?"
    Me: Because gay marriage.

    Me: Hey, did you cover the laptop cord? The rabbit's on the couch.
    Husband: No.
    Me: Why not?
    Husband: Because gay marriage.

    It may take the place of our current non sequitur, "The cat's on fire." (we don't own a cat and the rabbit is fully versed in home fire safety.) Ah, Prenda! You truly are the gift that keeps on giving.

  10. Jim Tyre says

    Paragraph 17 is fun, Nazaire doesn't really understand the concept of proof. Cooper testified that it wasn't his signature, that testimony is proof, particularly in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.

    I enjoyed meeting Cooper when he came out for the March 11 hearing. But sadly, EFF does not really hang with him.

  11. anne mouse says

    Personally I'm most stunned by Nazaire's paragraph 15 (over a page long). You know your argument sucks when you have to construe a judge's two mentions of "boilerplate" (as one reason Prenda's complaints looked suspicious) as an attempt to impose a mandate on "Allstate, Progressive, Geico and other insurance companies" among others.

    Z! and others, the state law argument does have some relevance: the question in Nazaire's case is whether filing the case was frivolous and sanctionable, and state law may have some things to say about that. (It's a complicated topic. Federal rules are important too.)

    I have to say, this brief was so over the top, if I were the judge I'd impose a small sanction just for its general tone of incivility.

  12. Lucy says

    "20. Therefore, even if the undersigned had placed a knife to the throats of each of Prenda’s members,…"

    That was creepily specific.

    This guy is flailing all over the place.

  13. Stephen says

    Me after reading the above:


  14. anne mouse says


    No, very little about this brief is normal.

    It's not uncommon for a lawyer facing sanctions for filing a frivolous suit to find an opportunity to mention what a good, conscientious, respectable, long-serving, successful, valued lawyer he is. But usually not in the course of what should have been a very brief and technical objection.

    Well, the part where he accuses Chintella of improperly acting as his own witness is not technical nor should it be brief. But it's also totally unconvincing. No lawyer can take Nazaire seriously after reading paragraph 36. Ditto paragraph 35, 37,… well, half the brief really.

  15. Rich Fiscus says

    @jimmythefly: While it's true that their central point isn't precisely gay marriage, your intepretation isn't even intellectually honest while Ken's was merely a little sensational. Regardless of what order the arguments appear or how he attempts to couch them in states rights language his central point is clear:

    "You can't let those damn California liberals dictate to us in Georgia!"

  16. David M. Nieporent says

    My coworkers are wondering why I suddenly burst out laughing for no apparent reason; it was prompted by my reading of the filing and seeing the Hanging with Mr. Cooper reference.

    They sure do things funny down in Georgia.

  17. Dan Weber says

    Whatever happened to formality when addressing a court?

    Clearly this is going to cost him at appeal.

  18. Colin says

    Wow. If Nazaire has that little rage control when drafting a document in his office, he must be an absolutely hilarious opponent against whom to litigate a jury trial.

  19. Mike says

    "37. Georgia attorneys are now put on notice that any email forwarded to Blair Chintella, in strict confidence, may be used against them or their clients in Court."

    Um, yeah? I'm hoping this is only news to Nazaire? Although admittedly I practice in California which, for those who have not read Nazaire's brief, is a little bit not Georgia. But emails between opposing counsel get submitted to the court in connection with motion practice on a routine basis. It's annoying because you're conditioned to read/write in a very dickish way, but I find it hard to believe that this is as foreign a concept as Nazaire makes it out to be.

    My other favorite line not mentioned so far is:
    "The undersigned challenges the defendant or its counsel to produce one letter, at least one, which the undersigned has, in his 16 years of practice, forwarded to an individual. Neither defendant, nor its counsel can present such a document."


  20. sorrykb says

    I hope Jacques Nazaire's argument doesn't work. But I'm originally from Georgia (from Kennesaw, in fact, where Nazaire's office is), and, well… [Tries furiously not to stereotype cynically.]

  21. says

    Well, I guess I'm going to have to revise my earlier response to Nicholas Weaver (from the "Don't File Angry" thread). I had suggested that the apparently-nonsensical nature of Nazaire's strategy was a result of Nazaire becoming angry and letting strategic considerations fall by the wayside. I'm no longer sure that's correct. At this point, I think fundamental incompetence is the more likely explanation.

  22. ZarroTsu says


    I wonder if this is the setup to more defamation charges by Prenda? People are inevitably going to scratch their heads and point this out along with something relative to "These guys are fucking crazy", and it will also inevitably be on the internet.

    I'm still banking on them trying to sue a judge for defamation, though.

  23. Mike says

    @Rich I think Clark and jimmythefly have a semi-fair point in that Ken took a slight liberty with their argument in his headline a day after a post in which he criticized news media for running headlines that the argument for leniency for Jackson was that he had karaoke parties, or that the Dan White defense was he did it because of twinkies.

    Now Ken does much more justice to the actual argument in the body of the post than media may do to the karaoke/twinkie arguments, the headline was still a bit sensational.

  24. Orville says

    Is Mr. Nazaire aware that gay marriage being legal in California is not a settled issue? I would expect a lawyer to have a passing interest in the issues before the Supreme Court.

  25. says

    I agree with… everyone, I guess.

    The headline was a sensationalized misrepresentation.

    Of all the laws that differ between Georgia and California, gay marriage was chosen for a reason. I also believe Nazaire knew comparing state laws was irrelevant but really wanted to get that mention of gay marriage into his filing one way or another. It's a relatively safe gamble. A sympathetic judge may be swayed by the appeal to bigotry while another probably wouldn't ding him too badly for the non sequitur.

  26. Trebuchet says

    Nazaire may know, or think he knows, something about the political/religious/moral beliefs of the judge in his case and be trying to use that to his advantage.

  27. says

    I think the headline is more satirical than sensational. But I accept your point.

    I think, however, that (1) the post clearly explains the headline and puts the reference in context, (2) Nazaire deliberately chose to lead with gay marriage (despite Prop 8) as his example of how California law is different, and didn't bury it in a list of things, and (3) the whole brief is replete with crazy.

  28. Nobody says

    @Clark: While superficially similar, I believe that Ken is making a more nuanced argument. He's saying that they're arguing that being bound by this decision would be like being bound by California's gay marriage laws.

    It's not quite like saying that your knowledge of someone's character comes in part from karaoke nights and that, from what you know of them, they should be given leniency.

  29. Anonymous says

    Where does Prenda find these guys?

    Nazaire is not a secret party to the scam the way Gibbs was. He genuinely appears to be some guy they found on Craigslist and hired to file paperwork. No skin in the game, so why would he run interference for them and continue to risk his reputation after the two Wright hearings and now Monday's ruling? He must have a serious competitive/stubborn streak to the point of a severe personality defect.

    I can't believe his attempt to evade responsibility for the Cooper mess. I don't believe he deserves to be held culpable in any meaningful way, but apparently he didn't proofread the part where he says he asked his client about the whereabouts of the guy who is supposed to be the plaintiff's CEO and nobody could locate him. Because if he had, he would have realized what a HUGE RED FLAG that should have been, and bragging about his lack of deductive reasoning skills and effective bullshit detector is not a good way to impress people.

    How can anyone read par. 19 and come to a conclusion other than he should have run for the hills at that point? I don't know what his obligations are but that sure sounds negligent and at least a failure of professional responsibility and due-diligence.

  30. David M. Nieporent says

    @Mike: the headline was sensational, but accurate. I mean, formalistically, one could argue that Nazaire was simply saying that laws are different in different states. But seriously, that point is about like asking the court to take notice of the fact that water can often be wet. His real point was "Those queer California people let gay people get married, so you should ignore them."

  31. says

    If you sanction me in Georgia based partly on a ruling in California, the gays are going to overrun Georgia and it's going to be your fault.

  32. mcinsand says

    Is it safe to say that this is a new twist on the wookie defense? Could this be the gay wookie defense, where an attorney is attempting to manipulate bigotistic tendencies that he is stereotyping into his image of a Georgian judge?

  33. Joseph Ratliff says

    IANAL, and I can tell this won't get Nazaire any points at all.

    I believe my teenage son would read these arguments and say "epic fail."

    Wouldn't it just be better for anyone at Prenda to just stop digging themselves deeper and deeper in their proverbial hole?

  34. Matthew Cline says

    Nazaire argues that the filing is late and not authorized by the local rules, because it is effectively a "sur-reply" – that is, a reply to a reply.

    So why did the opposing counsel choose to insert mention of Wright's order into a reply-to-a-reply? Isn't there some standard way to notify one judge of orders/findings by another judge?

  35. Rich Fiscus says

    @Mike: I understand that and in fact my point was that sensationalizing doesn't always equal dishonesty. The karaoke bit was not representative of the letter being described in Ken's previous piece. The shot at California and gay marriage was a center piece of this filing and completely representative of the primary point Nazaire was attempting to make.

  36. earthclanbootstrap says

    If this whole saga didn't directly and negatively affect innocent people's lives, I would say that it is the gift that keeps on giving. But it does, and it isn't. Therefore, my greatest hope is that the sunshine directed at this filth truly disinfects and leads to a better system.

    Okay, crap, I have to be honest: All that being said, it's still a blast to watch and unfrickingbelievably hilarious.

    Nick Cannon Hailaaaarious.

  37. says

    @ Patrick: He'll find his formality again… right about the time that he forgets which sci-fi show we're riffing on this month and ends his memorandum of law with "SO SAY WE ALL."

  38. Anonymous says

    @Matthew Cline

    In any case it'll be extra funny when Wright's ruling gets dropped on the court anyway as a result of his order that it be filed in every case before every judge in every district where Prenda is litigating. This is just going to make Nazaire look like an idiot when the inevitable happens.

    I can buy the idea that he thinks he is playing to some local values/proud defiance of California crazy, but Wright's order doesn't exactly leave a lot of room for sympathy. Outside of Prenda's social network I don't think many people have a value system supports fraud, forgery, identity theft and extortion.

  39. Anonymous says

    Additionally, John Steele didn't seem to have any problem calling and texting Cooper, nor serving him with a number of lawsuits.

    I don't think that implies Nazaire perjured himself when he made his statements regarding Cooper's whereabouts but by making that statement on his client's behalf, it does appear that Prenda or AF is lying to the court by way of their attorney, so he just unintentionally threw Prenda under the bus.

  40. Anonymous says

    And not just Steele but Prenda Law has a suit against Cooper, Godfread and Internets, so they did appear to know where to find him and his attorney.

    I think par. 19 is going to turn into a massive embarrassment for both Prenda and Nazaire.

  41. Regular Guy says

    Just because he was appointed by Nixon, Nazaire should not be quick to make assumptions. Judge O'Kelley recently ordered a county to remove the Ten Commandments hanging on the wall of a courthouse. He ordered the county to pay $150,000 in attorneys' fees to the ACLU.

    But the EFF is WAAAAY worse than the ACLU to a conservative judge, right? Nazaire seems to be banking on that belief.

  42. Votre says

    Sounds like Atty. Nazaire is setting up a plausible basis for entertaining a personal competency question to aid in his defense.

    Expect him to come in with some medical testimony on how he is being treated for depression or something similar, and was/is on some medication that could cause serious but temporary judgment lapses and behavioral problems.

    These guys aren't going to ever give up trying to wriggle out from under this quagmire they created for themselves.

  43. MarkH says

    It sounds a bit like "… because here in Georgia we ignore fraud on the court!".

  44. anne mouse says


    Paragraph 19 is actually one of the most ordinary parts of the brief, which Ken rightly described as "flipped out", "more than a little manic", and "replete with crazy."

    If you've ever tried a case, you've had to deal with documents signed years ago by some minor corporate functionary who can no longer be located. If your client says 'we can't find this guy', you don't immediately run for the hills. If he's an important witness, you make your own efforts to find the guy. But if he's not, you just make sure you have a preponderance of evidence (like the document itself, and some other witness who can authenticate it) and move on.

    However, Nazaire clearly missed an opportunity to ask a few questions. When did you last see Cooper? Oh, he was your housekeeper and you're now barraging him with threatening messages? THOSE answers would make you run for the hills (unless the Prendites flat-out lied instead). So Patel's argument that Nazaire was less than diligent is not without merit.

    The interesting part of paragraph 19 is that Nazaire is raising the "I was duped by a bunch of sophisticated liars at Prenda" defense, but not coming right out and saying so. Makes me think their lying wasn't all that sophisticated. Some politician once tried to distance himself from his past position, saying he'd been "brainwashed"; somebody else noted that in his case "a light rinse would have sufficed."

  45. Regular Guy says

    In this case, Nazaire filed a document saying that AF Holdings has no corporate owner with a 10% or greater share of stock. (see http://ia601600.us.archive.org/7/items/gov.uscourts.gand.188990/gov.uscourts.gand.188990.4.0.pdf )

    In California, it was stated under oath that AF Holdings is owned by a trust. So has Nazaire violated Local Rule 3.3(A)(2) which requires a the filing of a certificate containing: "A complete list of other persons, associations, firms, partnerships, or corporations having either a financial interest in or other interest which could be substantially affected by the outcome of this particular case."?

    The rule provides for an ongoing disclosure requirement. But surely Nazaire, who is able to make multi-million dollar deals and dodge bullets in Afghanistan (and should be played by Bruce Willis in the Prenda movie) knows how to conform to a simple rule like this – even if he did not use the form as provided in the rule.

  46. He really said that...?!? says

    "Paragraph 37: Georgia attorneys are now put on notice that any email forwarded to Blair Chintella, in strict confidence, may be used against them or their clients in Court."

    Now that paragraph just shows lack of vision. He should have started that paragraph with "All attorneys in the world are now…" If you're going to go crazy, go all-in. Don't half-ass anything like that. That paragraph would aslo help out with the strategy Votre mentioned above.

  47. SPQR says

    In a case with a lot of crazy and bizarre, Nazaire decides to swing for the bleachers.

    That is not a filing that is going to be well-received by the judge IMO.

  48. orvis barfley says

    i'm sorry but this sounds like a steele argument.  are we SURE steele didn't pen this and use his sign-o-matic to tie it to nazaire?

  49. Hughhh says

    Holy shitballs, Mom! Four utterances of "different than" in one sentence. How does this not jar anyone else's brain?

    Oh wait, it's Georgia. NVM. FML.

  50. Anonymous says

    @anne mouse

    I get what you're saying but Alan Cooper hadn't been held out as just some guy who sort of worked at the company doing some stuff ten years ago. He was identified in AF filings as the CEO of AF Holdings. I don't believe the Cooper as CEO assignment was filed in this case, but even so, the claimed CEO of the client purportedly going AWOL seems like something that deserves a more thorough investigation and ought to arouse the curiosity of their attorney. Even if the explanation given to Nazaire turned out to be as simple as "he quite a year ago to spend more time with his family," there should have been one.

    Then there is the actual fact that Prenda and their extended family were perfectly able to contact Cooper both personally and through his attorney.

  51. Anonymous says

    @"He really said that…?!?"

    I think it was more of a foul ball….

    P.S. @SPQR, that sounds like Terry Smith's call of an Angels home run.

  52. nlp says

    I'm sure that Judge O'Kelley appreciated being told that Georgia is not California. He must have been very confused until Mr. Nazaire explained the difference.

  53. Canonical says

    Interestingly, the exact same review shows up at eCampus. The book excerpt is falling down funny, but I don't think it was meant as a comedy. Example prose:
    "Not that again. I don't have time for that stuff now." and
    "Did you just call me a ho?"
    Please bear in mind that the book is set around the 800 AD time frame. I'm picturing a bunch of Angles, Saxons and Vikings doing a music video of Flo Rida's "Low" ("Hlothhere got low, low, low, low" and "Wench in the tights and the boots with the fur; the whole gegyld's looking at her".) Excerpt may be seen here.

  54. says

    Heterosexual marriages and legal precedents are stitched together and inked with the dried tears of homosexuals. The advent of gay marriage equity reduces loneliness in the gay community and makes those tears weaker and less frequent. As such gay marriage will be responsible for the eventual collapse of straight marriage and federal copyright law as the ink dries and the stitching of the bindings frays away.

  55. James says

    I think the reason the headline might have been slightly confusing is that Ken's brain exploded after trying to parse the legal arguments in that fine piece of prose. I am going to need a large quantity of Mr. Jack Daniel's fine product to erase the experience.

    Seriously though, would any decent law school give this guy a passing grade for first year legal writing?

  56. Canonical says

    Forgot to mention: he may be a published author, but he appears to be a self-published one. The book is available through Amazon from iUniverse (a self-publisher) and through eCampus via TextStream, a print-on-demand outfit. For as little as $899 you, too, can be a "published" author. Assuming, of course that this is all the same Jacques Nazaire that we're talking about.

  57. Laugher says

    I'm fairly certain it is the same person. The Sony Bookstore link above has a bio that matches.

  58. Anon_Lurker says

    What does state marriage law have to do with federal copyright law? A ruling similar to Judge Wright's was bound to happen eventually from some US District Court. The actual location is of the issuing court is meaningless; it has to do with where suits were filed and judge assigned the case.

    A quick search for Jacques Nazaire turns a lawyer who has or had several practices located in the north metro Atlanta area; specifically Alpharetta and Kennesaw.

  59. says

    Good God. That's almost as bad as just saying, "Here's a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head. Your argument is irrelevant."

    Did Nazaire get his law degree out of a cereal box or something?

  60. JLA Girl says

    Amazingly, I'm most amused about paragraph 15 and on the 'whaddya mean boilerplate is bad' whining. My god! Lawyers should actually know AND UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY'RE SIGNING?! Phshaw. Don't be silly. God forbid you make sure even the boilerplate is coherent and actually modified to fit each situation.

    Mountain meet molehill. Any questions?

  61. Black Betty says

    Ken…this is the best shit ever. Don't stop covering this. Every time I click on this site and see the word "Prenda", I feel positively giddy.

  62. JLA Girl says

    Crap. That should be ". . . about paragraph 15 and ALL the . . . "
    Guess I didn't read my boilerplate carefully enough!

  63. ChrisTS says

    @ Canonical • May 9, 2013 @11:09 am:

    Something like this is a running joke in our family (one of our kids is lesbian). Our version is just, "because of the gay."

  64. Trebuchet says

    @ Anonymous, 11:27:

    Additionally, John Steele didn't seem to have any problem calling and texting Cooper, nor serving him with a number of lawsuits.

    He knew where to find Cooper the housekeeper. Giving that information to Nazaire would be tantamount to admission of guilt in the identity theft suit. So he had to say he didn't know where to find Cooper the (non-existent) president of AF Holdings.

  65. ChrisTS says

    @Hughhh • May 9, 2013 @2:32 pm

    Thanks for noting the 'different thans.' After 60+ undergrad papers which reveal that about half my students don't think it matters if they write 'then' or 'than' or 'they're' or 'their,' I was afraid I was being too fussy.

  66. Trent says

    One of the traits of Sociopath's is extensive narcissism. They believe they can tap dance their way out of anything, after all they are the most important person in the world. IMO Steele has demonstrated a very severe case of Sociopathic behavior and Narcassicism of unparalleled strength. Jodi Arias displayed much of the same behavior from what I saw of her trial and the frankly outrageous reasons she gave for that heinous crime. When the hammer finally comes down on Steele he'll be just as oblivious of it until it lands as she was.

    The real questions is why we aren't seeing him having to find new counsel, he's either paying a pretty penny, has no attorney or his attorney isn't aware that he hasn't shut up because I can't see one sticking around given that he keeps saying things that will be used against him.

    I suggested in another thread that Popehat should take a poll on which Penderast will roll over to the federales on the others first. I actually think Vegas could take odds on it, but I for those considering the question I ask you to think of the person that's probably the easiest of all to flip, the paralegal. She likely has intimate knowledge of how this whole alleged scam worked, where the money went, who was giving the orders and she has very little skin in the game. She appears to me to be the prime target the feds will approach with immunity to testify.

  67. Laugher says

    No doubt Geico, Progressive and Allstate are preparing amicus filings. What a brilliant strategy to get the big guns sucked in.

    I also like how in paragraph 17 Nazaire confuses the standard of proof for a criminal case with the standard for a civil case. He also seems to forget that it will ultimately be HIS burden to prove the validity of a document he offered in support of his claim. Why, then, would he state in his filing that it may not have been signed by Cooper? Isn't he saying that he "may" have joined in a fraud – even if he found out later in the game?

  68. Scott says

    Jacques Nazaire, welcome to the big leagues! Govern yourself accordingly!


  69. Anonymous says


    Fair enough, that fits the general insanity and dodging of the Cooper issue, but Rosing and Steele's attorneys made a weak attempt to imply that Cooper was actually mentally unstable, Steele had tricked him into willingly becoming the front man, but then he went crazy and double-crossed them. Steele tried to feed that argument with the affidavit of his real estate agent plus those text messages that had absolutely nothing to do with any of Prenda's lawsuits or clients.

    That said, the sad attempt to portray Cooper as a willing accomplice appeared to be retroactive story building once they were forced to provide an explanation they hadn't bothered to invent beforehand. It is not clear who the missing Alan Cooper, CEO of AF Holdings, was ever supposed to be because they have never offered a story for him; implying he was maybe the housekeeper is the best they've done so far.

  70. Laugher says

    We will soon see how smart Nazaire is. He could have gotten out for $3,000. Anyone want to take bets on whether he will regret rejecting that offer?

  71. anne mouse says


    Good point, in all these entities and filings I forgot that Alan Cooper was CEO of AF Holdings, the supposed client in Nazaire's case. That's a bit more than a "minor corporate functionary." Accordingly, please read my "missed opportunity to ask questions" as "reckless dereliction of duty."

    (As above, I assume Nazaire failed to ask follow-up questions. It's possible that Nazaire did ask and was told brazen lies in response, but I doubt it. He would have mentioned those specific responses in his court filings by now.)

  72. Matthew Cline says

    In any case it'll be extra funny when Wright's ruling gets dropped on the court anyway as a result of his order that it be filed in every case before every judge in every district where Prenda is litigating. This is just going to make Nazaire look like an idiot when the inevitable happens.

    Maybe Nazaire thinks that there's some rule that will block the local judge from considering Wright's order when it's delivered that way?

    I get what you're saying but Alan Cooper hadn't been held out as just some guy who sort of worked at the company doing some stuff ten years ago. He was identified in AF filings as the CEO of AF Holdings.

    Wait, I thought Lutz was the CEO of AF Holdings, and Cooper was held out as a corporate representative.

    @Regular Guy:

    In California, it was stated under oath that AF Holdings is owned by a trust. So has Nazaire violated Local Rule 3.3(A)(2) which requires a the filing of a certificate containing: "A complete list of other persons, associations, firms, partnerships, or corporations having either a financial interest in or other interest which could be substantially affected by the outcome of this particular case."?

    Is there any chance that Nazaire could get away with saying "Local Rule 3.3(A)(2) doesn't list non-beneficiary trusts"?

  73. Black Betty says

    @Trent…I was waiting to see who would notice that. This is why I find the Prenda case so entertaining. Watching a sociopath tied to his own runaway train is the most delicious form of justice imaginable. I am utterly filled with glee.

    The thing is…there are so many cases this guy has out there, and they are all falling apart. I just can't keep up. It's like being in a pastry shop. I know I can't eat every single dessert. But I can try…

  74. Anonymous says


    Steele has a major problem with conflating civil and criminal law and has never been afraid to demonstrate it in filings, interviews and when he used to troll the blogs. He seems to have found a kindred spirit in Nazaire.

    I suppose it is ironic that both Rosing and Steele's own attorneys tried to conflate a civil proceeding with a criminal one, apparently thinking this would benefit their cause, only to find they have much more criminal law coming their way than they may have preferred.

  75. longtimereader says

    That review is amazing, 'comprehesible' 'intesity' 'comeradery' 'trechery'.

    Also, consider this: 'Simple but best explained by reading it first hand.'

  76. Basil Forthrightly says

    My god the writing in that book is hideous (I skimmed 4 pages available from Google books).

    It appears to be dialogue in transcript format interspersed with descriptive blocks. One such descriptive block begins:
    With that the general lunges at the major. The general misses. The general swings back. The general is too strong for Krute and the general's armor is almost impenetrable. There are only a few places Krute can penetrate.
    In the small sample I read, I see no evidence that Nazaire's novel rises to the level of mediocrity. It does however seem like it might be comprehensible, with a modest amount of effort.

  77. He really said that...?!? says

    @Matthew Cline

    The "other persons" part of the rule should cover the trust. Much to the chagrin of the unborn children who would have received the proceeds. :)

    I wouldn't be surprised if he did try that, though.

  78. Basil Forthrightly says

    I accidentally left out a sentence in the excerpt, between the general missing and swinging back, wherein the major swings and misses. Including it would probably make the excerpt 5% less insipid.

  79. says

    @Regular Guy:

    do we think a review that says the following is legitimate?

    My new hobby: digging into the history pages of various minor authors on Wikipedia and identifying the authors who sock-puppet their own pages into existence, e.g.

    User Martinhalpern who dumped two different 3,000 character edits onto author Richard Bowes and has not otherwise done anything at Wikipedia.

    User RRTechWriter who dumped a 9,000 character article ab initio onto author Rachel Swirsky and has not otherwise done anything at Wikipedia.

    It's a fun game at first, but after 10 or 12 it just makes you feel sad.

  80. Laugher says

    I've been able to read through several pages on Google Booms. The amount of topics is staggering. I'm not quick to throw a stone in that glass house, but I find it worth mentioning since his bio states: "Jacques who is an accomplished attorney with excellent editing skills…"

  81. Laugher says

    Figures auto correct would get me on that last post! I meant typos, not topics. I just knew that would happen!

  82. says

    @Any Lawyer – what the hell does Name (Of Counsel) mean? I have been known to bring the 'stupid as f*ck" at times and I'm probably doing it now, but what the hell does that mean? I looked at all the Rock Stars of Law Firms I can think of Brown White & Newhouse, Randazza Law Group, Skadden Arps, Alston & Byrd, Holland & Knight and all those dudes have titles like Partner, Dick Swinger, Owner of Heavy Pimp Hand – so what's up with 'Of Counsel'? Whatever it is, I feel that legalizing it in California necessarily threatens my marriage or something. And since I'm asking stupid legal questions, what good is phonying up all your job placement and rankings data for US News Rankings if you're going to have your alumni running around posting really stupid stuff. And since the theme is going all in on stupid, here's me doing it. Why does Nazaire have a picture of the Ice Truck Killer on the front page of his book? I'm still only on Season 1 but I would think Doakes would make the cover cooler, no disrespect to ITK.


    W.G. Ryan (Of Scratching My Balls While Making Insipid Comments)

  83. Basil Forthrightly says


    "Of counsel" is a title used for attorneys who are neither partners in the firm, nor associates (hoping to rise to partnership). It generally describes a senior attorney. The American Bar Association describes it as: “close, personal, continuous, and regular relationship” between the attorney and the firm.

    Joe R Greenhill served on the Texas Supreme Court for 25 years and upon his retirement he became of counsel with Baker Botts.

  84. Laugher says

    Your daily reading from The Crown thanks to Google Books:
    Page 87: "The Black Knights are a formidable force. I can't just crust them at will…" (emphasis mine)

  85. Myk says

    @Laugher – …."but if I were to do so, I would be the toast of the town. I was bread that way."

  86. says

    @Basil – Thanks man – I did end up Googling it and coupled with your explanation it makes sense. It sounds like the legal profession equivalent of a Booty Call but I'm just showing my ignorance.

    On a serious note, as you seem like you might know, NYU is a really prominent law school right? And this argument homeboy is making is pretty bad no? Is it just a case that no matter how smart you are or where you go to law school, if you did something really stupid/wrong/baseless etc and you're just dead set on not taking responsibility , this is the sort of lameness you resort to?

    Also, legally speaking, did the CA Court actually 'legalize gay marriage' or did they simply rule that a law banning it isn't constitutional? I realize the end result may be the same, just curious if Overruling a law = legalizing the thing the law was trying to prohibit? I did search around but can't seem to determine if they're the same or if there's a substantive difference.

  87. says

    @JackB – loved your CL/Butthurt post. With a little clever Social Engineering, I bet you could get him and Richard Marx to throw down.

  88. Laugher says

    It gets even better. I looked at a blowup of the cover. There are two quotes: "Never before has a book been so poignant and provoking."; and "This is a different but exciting story, intriguing but easy to follow."

    What's so funny about those quotes? There is absolutely no attribution! Hmm… I wonder who authored those quotes… Hmm…

  89. Wick Deer says

    It occurred to me as I read Mr. Nazaire's Unjugged-Rabbitfish of a brief that it might be the worst bit of legal writing I had ever seen. I was moved, so help me, to create a Hall of Fame for bad legal writing. This work is certainly worthy of inclusion.

  90. Matthew Cline says

    Page 87: "The Black Knights are a formidable force.

    Even if you remove all their limbs, they'll still bite your knees off!

  91. says


    Thanks. Since that was posted months ago, I've received a couple more threats of ass-whoopins from different people, but they weren't as entertaining as that one. One of them was in response to something ridiculously innocuous… something I said about the lack of steel guitar players in South Texas.

    Also, be careful: Now that you've mentioned R_____ M___, it's entirely possible that he'll show up in the comments and offer beatdowns to the entire Popehat staff. There's a man who seems impervious to The Streisand Effect.

  92. Resolute says

    I loved Clark's first post, because it was the very first thing I thought of too, but like Ken, I don't think for a second that Nazaire chose those examples randomly. Mentioning teh gays and furriners trying to pry their guns from fine, law abiding, Georgian's cold, dead hands were calculated to try and create an us vs. them scenario in a region of the US not exactly hailed as a shining beacon of equality. Based on Regular Guy's links though, I suspect Nazaire didn't do his homework on this judge's menality.

  93. Charlotte says

    @Resolute: besides THE GAYS, THE BROWNS, and THE GUN-GRABBERS out there in Crazy California, he got in "it's bad for bidniss" and "did I mention that I was FIGHTIN' FOR FREEDOM in Afghanistan?". That was quite an impressive collection of dog-whistles he was blowing there.

  94. Jon says

    I just realized Mr. Nazaire has unleashed the Dreaded Animal House "Otter defense"
    Mr. Nazaire: "I'm not saying Prenda didn't take advantage of a few Does, We did." He winks
    But you can't hold a whole LAWFIRM responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole LEGAL system? And if the whole LEGAL system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our COURTS in general? I put it to you, Judge Wright – isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

  95. Charlotte says

    Oh yeah, there was the "ARR MATEYS, THE EFF (are pirates)" as well. I'm surprised that he didn't throw in a reference about medical marrywanna (which is easier to get in the state of California these days than a gay marriage) to ring the "OMG DRUGGIES" chime. I trust that His Honor will see this for what it is.

  96. That Anonymous Coward says

    I know you all told me it was just a very good troll who went this style of bat_hit on the other forums.
    I remain unconvinced it was a troll and not actually this lawyer.

  97. Another anonymous NAL says

    Good Grief. Only a Prendateer could turn a legal filing into Short Attention Span Theater: "Disregard the sanctions order because OMG Hax and OMG Gay and we don't have an Allan Cooper either and ooh look at the shiny."

  98. Clownius says

    Seriously….. How did one law firm find so many incompetent, bat_hit insane lawyers and manage to get them all involved in one style of case?

    All their local council seems to be as crazy as Steele.

    Watch out Georgia you may catch the gay from California if you pay any attention to that slightly (yeah only slightly lol) adverse ruling. Next you will be giving them our guns and we will all be rooned.

  99. earthclanbootstrap says

    @ He really said that…?!?

    Son, they said I was daft to build a castle on some porn.
    So I built it anyway.
    And it sank into the porn.
    So I built another.
    And it sank into the porn.
    So I built a third.
    That one burned down, fell over and sank into the porn.
    But the fourth one, that stayed up!
    And that's what you've got lad!
    The strongest Undefined Beneficiary Trust in these isles!

  100. Doctor Railgun says

    One of the traits of Sociopath's is extensive narcissism.
    (Like Batman!)
    They believe they can tap dance their way out of anything, after all they are the most important person in the world.
    (Like Batman!)
    IMO Steele has demonstrated a very severe case of Sociopathic behavior and Narcassicism of unparalleled strength.

    (OMG! John Steele is Batman!)

  101. James Pollock says

    "Also, legally speaking, did the CA Court actually 'legalize gay marriage' or did they simply rule that a law banning it isn't constitutional? I realize the end result may be the same, just curious if Overruling a law = legalizing the thing the law was trying to prohibit?"

    I think you're confusing two things. Here's the sequence of events:
    First, the CA Supreme Court found that the CA Constitution doesn't require persons wanting to marry to be of opposite sexual plumbing. Thus, they ordered the county clerks faced with gay people who appeared, asked for a marriage license, and paid the fee, to give them a marriage license. Several thousand people were married to people with the same sexual plumbing as themselves. The Republic collapsed into chaos.
    OK, maybe that didn't happen. Instead, several out-of-state groups poured resources into a ballot measure to amend the CA state constitution to insert that "people who want to be married to each other have to have different naughty bits" requirement.
    That ballot measure passed, but was challenged in federal court (under the federal constitution, can a popular vote strip a right from some people "just because"? Or do they have to point to a legitimate reason to do it?) The federal court ruled, no, you can't strip rights from people without a good reason… and, by the way, nobody offered a good reason to limit marriage to persons of complementary genitals, and invalidated the marriage restriction attempted in Prop 8. The appeals court agreed. The matter is now before the Supreme Court, which, I'm betting, will uphold the lower courts, although I'm sure that the anti-activist conservative wing will present a wildly activist dissenting opinion, if not several of them. The ruling, however, will not apply to anywhere but California, because California is the only state (thus far) which has allowed gay marriage and then tried to outlaw them, as opposed to never allowing them in the first place.

    So… the CA Supreme Court, interpreting the CA state constitution, found a right to same-sex marriage. AFAIK, this is pretty much authoritative; no other court is more qualified to examine the meaning of the CA state constitution… but the CA state constitution doesn't apply anywhere that isn't CA. I'm not at all sure how good a lawyer you have to be to point out that the CA state constitution doesn't apply in any part of GA… were I a judge in GA, I might even take offense at having a lawyer appearing in front me thinking I needed this pointed out for me. (I don't suppose I need to point out that I am NOT a judge in GA.)

    This whole marriage thing will inevitably lead to people marrying their pets and personal belongings. The only salvation is to get completely off the slippery slope and ban heterosexual marriage.

  102. nathan says

    It'd be amusing if the Georgia court bitch-slapped him with something like:
    'Nazaire mentioned several features of California law that he claims Georgia does not want. This court particularly dislikes frivolous pop-culture references in court filings. …'

  103. says

    @James Pollack – Doubtful you're thinking I confused anything – I'm confused. What it came down to from what I read (yah, lay people reading law analysis by journalists – can barely type it with a straight face) was that the state granted the right, the Prop 8 crowd tried to stop that and it was overturned. I just noticed Naz said the Court legalized marriage of teh gay. What I was really getting at is – is that technically a true statement. I know it's pedantic, like in that *one* tom cruise movie where he's being a cocky something or other and he says "I'm not going to kill you, the bullet and fall is going to kill you, but I'm not going to do the killing" or something like that – I was thinking this might be one of those distinctions – but overturned BS law sounds so less Sinister than saying "Legislated from the Bench" so I'm not surprised a desperate man would grab onto anything, the more histrionic and silly the better. B/c as even us non-lawyers know, every law that's passed in one state doesn't automatically become the law of every other state (although considering the crown, I better be careful, I know what I'm trying to say but I'm also tyring to call out the Ice Truck Killer's asshattery so prolly need to get my ducks in a row first. In any case, you explained it well and that's what I was looking for. Much obliged

  104. says

    @Resolute – I think Naz might be misreading his community some. While there's a lot of mega churching and Who loves Jesus the Most Contests, Atlanta is a pretty happening place with a whole lot of 'others'. Not sure if you're every heard of Tommy Sotomayor (think of a Black Phil Hendrie doing a very similar routine but at the same time, being very serious about the points he makes and being fearless about getting called things like racist (since Tommy is rather Dark Skinned). I can see how the Mezkins thing passed down there, but it was more out of a "See we can keep it real too" thing than angry villagers with pitchforks (hell just last weekend I was with a few buddies over in Windermere who are all Car Enthusiasts – one of them was getting his lotus redone and he is a builder – none of his people speak a word of English as far as I could tell and while his customers are a pretty eclectic group (Asian, American/Black, Jamaican/Haitian/African Black/African White/Hispanic, Jewish, Arab) other than being well to do, they seemed to have a very high (and I was pleasantly surprised) Everyone needs to worry fix their own problems before scapegoating and blaming others. The only remotely anti-gay thing I heard is how it's so prevalent around the strip clubs that (it's a joking warning to out of towners or those of us who've moved away ) many men don't want to pay the retail for Pure Platinum happy endings so settle for the Groupon version walking down the street – without disparaging Groupon (it was part of the good though), they said "You can get good deals on Groupon, the quality of the work is purportedly pretty good as far as happy endings go, as long as the wig doesn't fall off , you don't try to finger 'her' or stick to Oral and Anal – you don't hear too many horror stories. Here in Greenville, such a 'travesty' would immediately prove the revelation nutjobss are right and the Antichrist is here in his Range Rover (b/c that's what he drives around it for some reason – I think he'd drive a minivan or a Smart, but I'm not up on such things) and that we need to kill all the gays. There, it was more along the lines of Caveat Emptor. It was a common refrain to hear about ATL being the city too busy to hate and while ATl != GA, it's a damn big part of it. That's my very late night Adderall induced way of saying Naz may be in the wrong venue for this – Dothan Alabammy, Maybe, but not sure he's going to get much traction in ATL -and I don't think Emory grads suffer an inferiority complexes with respect to NYU, Columbia or most of the IVY's.

  105. Matthew Cline says


    I'm curious: have any of the pro-Prenda trolls from Techdirt tried to follow you back here, but had their comments blocked?

  106. Louis says

    It turns out that Mr. Cooper was a caretaker of one of the properties of a Prenda Law member and had left said property in August, 2012.'

    Hmmm…., is thought Steele said he wasn't with Prenda Law…is he busting his own cover?

  107. Aaron says

    Oh man, the list of characters in Navaire's book is priceless. Check out the "Look Inside!" on Amazon.

    King Isaac: King of Britannia

    Queen Eileen: King Isaac's wife

    Prince Ira: King Isaac's son

    Princess Irene: King Isaac's daughter

    Earl Pinkerton: King Isaac's distant relative

    With descriptions like that, why even include a Dramatis Personae? I especially love the "King Isaac's distant relative," and that the family is named Isaac, Eileen, Ira, and Irene.

  108. Paul says

    Someone on Techdirt pointed this out and I thought it should be mentioned here …
    "It turns out that Mr. Cooper was a caretaker of one of the properties of a Prenda Law member and had left said property in August, 2012."

    I'm confused, is thought Steele said he wasn't with Prenda Law?

  109. Laugher says

    And here is your daily quote from The Crown: "My tushy can take a beating you know."

    I found that to be appropriate given Nazaire's present circumstances.

  110. James says

    @Basil Forthrightly

    In the small sample I read, I see no evidence that Nazaire's novel legal argument rises to the level of mediocrity. It does however seem like it might be comprehensible, with a modest amount of effort.

    Fixed it for ya.

  111. Kurt says

    I feel obliged to observe that "because gay marriage" has an extra helping of stupid insofar as California does not have gay marriage.

    This is like watching a trainwreck in bullet-time.

  112. BitterBunny says

    I can't get enough of the Prenda train wreck, so figured I'd have a look at his books. Someone on Google Books has added a highly amusing review recently, and I'm going to have to dig out the monitor cleaner as a result.


    The review:

    The Crown is one of Nazaire's lesser works, certainly inferior in scope and imagination to his 2013 novel, PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF OBJECTION. That latter work is a metatextual masterpiece about a lawyer so incompetent and emotionally unstable that he fractures into a numbered list. This list, taking clear influence from Shakespeare, compares Georgia to a Californian summer's day, and finds Georgia more temperate for its inclination against homosexual marriages, more unfading for its lack of New York gun laws, fairer for its ability, nay, need to rebel against a filthy California judge's opinion. And the coda was so magnificent, with the lawyer running to the nearest tower to inform the world of the treachery of Chintellas — and here, he cracked a cracking joke about Chilean Chintellas' chins — and then fainting into the arms of his beloved with a final, voiced objection. This book, The Crown, is a vulgar and unsatisfying harlot compared to the lady of the evening that is Nazaire's later work.

  113. Nicholas Weaver says


    We will soon see how smart Nazaire is. He could have gotten out for $3,000. Anyone want to take bets on whether he will regret rejecting that offer?

    No bet. Nazaire has gone full Carreon, taking a situation he could easily get out of with a wrist-slap or less (just make sure it is AF holdings alone who had to pay sanctions) and turned it into a quagmire.

    And @Popehat said on twitter earlier this month with a previous Prenda filing:

    I'm getting so jaded with #Prenda. They're such a car wreck already that I think they'd have to strange a live puppy to make me post.

    I guess we now know what it takes to get Ken to post another Prenda filing…

  114. Regular Guy says

    I wish to make one clarification regarding "of counsel." It is not always glamorous. It can be far from it. In this economy, a lot of firms are using "of counsel" to allow a person to "work" for the firm with no financial risk. Associates are employees. They must be paid – whether the revenues have come in or not. On the other hand, you can engage an attorney as "of counsel" under an arrangement whereupon they only get paid what they generate. Generally, a percentage of their revenues go to the firm to cover overhead and other expenses. An attorney who is "of counsel" may or may not be starving. You really can't tell. An "of counsel" attorney could be a star, or could be advertising discounted rates on Craigslist.

    I should also point out that some attorneys prefer to be "of counsel." This is often the case if the attorney doesn't want to comply with the billing requirements that are expected of partners or associates. A retired judge for example, may not desire to put in all of the hours that are required since they don't need as much of a salary on top of their pension. A younger attorney may wish to be able to spend time writing a novel – or better yet learning how to write a novel. They may want to spend time writing fictitious reviews for their own book – or posting not-so-anonymous comments on Techdirt forums.

    I was SHOCKED to see how many "of counsel" there are in Nazaire's law firm. Truly shocked. The percentage is way out of whack compared to most law firms. I've got some ideas about that, but somebody with more knowledge than me would be best to speculate as to why the firm uses this arrangement.

  115. Regular Guy says

    On the Sony Bookstore webpage, Nazaire mentions that he wrote four novels while in college. If "The Crown" is his masterpiece, oh what I would give to get my hands on those novels…

  116. AlphaCentauri says

    Maybe the strategy is this:
    1. Submit hilariously inane objections in copyright infringement suit meltdown.
    2. Wait for the inevitable discovery of hilariously inane self-published novel.
    3. Assume at least one will purchase the novel for the lulz
    4. Assume that person will share the novel with others who haven't purchased it, as it becomes a cult classic.
    5. Start filing copyright infringement suits.
    6. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  117. MyExpensiveFriend says

    >> Is this real life?

    >Is this just fantasy?

    [Prenda et al are]

    Caught in a landslide

    [And have]

    No escape from reality

  118. AlphaCentauri says

    I also find it amusing that Mr I'm-so-moral-I-need-to-protect-Georgia-from-gay-marriage got into this mess in the first place because he's protecting his client's right to profit from pornography… and that he wrote a novel that includes " violence, nudity, foul language and touchy subjects."

    Is "touchy subjects" like "heavy petting?"

  119. He really said that...?!? says

    @Jon-The Otter Defense. Love it.

    Otter: Take it easy, I'm in Pre-Law man.
    Boone: Thought you're Pre-Med.
    Otter: What's the difference?

    @earthclanbootstrap-Love the poem!

  120. earthclanbootstrap says

    @ He really said that…?!?

    When you mentioned the children being heirs to a trust based off of the Prenda profits, that scene from The Holy Grail sprang right to mind. All apologies to Monty Python.

  121. Regular Guy says

    Too funny. I looked up the sales ranking for Nazaire's novel on novelrank.com (which scours Amazon). Here is what it said:

    No SalesRank found for ASIN: 1426936435 (Amazon requires at least 1 sale)

  122. Nicholas Weaver says

    Kyzer: WOW.

    Who wants to bet that, right now, Duffy and/or Hansmeier and/or Duffy's attorneys and/or Hansmeier's attorneys and/or Steele's attorneys are screaming over the phone at Steele shouting "SHUT THE FUCK UP!".

  123. Dan says

    Interesting read of Steele's Ars review. As an attorney, he should be perfectly aware that sworn testimony is, in fact, evidence. He says there's no evidence that Cooper's signature was forged, that Steele supervised Gibbs, etc. In fact, there's sworn testimony from Cooper and Gibbs, respectively, stating this. Is it conclusive proof? No; it's certainly possible that either or both of them could be mistaken or lying (and Gibbs, at least, would have some self-interest in making it appear that others were the masterminds). Is it as persuasive as documentary evidence (the e-mails Steele suggests in the interview, for example)? No; it's much easier to simply make up a story on the stand than to fabricate documents supporting a falsehood. But it's indisputably evidence.

    This means that either Steele has no business holding a license to practice law due to his incompetence, or he's lying. Or both. And, of course, anything he says, in any forum, can be used against him. I hope his counsel has a good handle on her blood pressure meds, or he make give her a stroke.

  124. Nicholas Weaver says

    Dan: its not just his council that has to worry about stroking out, Hansmeier and Duffy have different council….

  125. earthclanbootstrap says

    Hey, I had a thought:
    Maybe Steele's new Ars interview is a sublime honeypot operation to scare up targets for new defamation cases and a whole new raft of IP discoveries! ;-)

  126. says

    @Kyzer- thanks for the link…hilarious.

    One question in and Steele is already spouting stuff like "If the needs of the few didn't matter, black people wouldn't vote in most Southern states."

    I bet he also wears suspenders with a belt and does The Dirty Sanchez.

  127. mcinsand says

    My head hurts from reading Steele's interview. Let me see if I have this straight. The antipiracy lawsuits are not what his work is about. It is all about buyouts and new movies. That's where his focus is, and that is what his business is about. Six ways to Sunday, he is a businessman, about aquisitions and new offerings. However, despite the fact that offerings sell better with any publicity, he can't name any movies that his work involves. Even Kato Kaelin's movie 'Beach Fever,' one of the worst movies ever made, probably sold after USA showed it late at night in the 1990's (I'll never get those two hours back, *sigh*). Anyway, movies sell better with name recognition, the movies and people that make those are his business' main focus, but he can't name them because it might involve the antipiracy activities… which are so insignificant that he is completely uninvolved. Yeah, right. When he tried to make this argument, I think the needle in my BS-o-meter hit the peg with an audible thwack.

    At this point, with the level and type of scrutiny he is chasing, the anti-piracy (blackmail) activities might well be overshadowed by issues with the whole shell company, shady tactics, and fraud concerns. Some of the lack of evidence that he cites is in itself evidence of a big problem. For ownership and financial trails to be so clouded, for the answers to not be forthcoming, it's a safe bet that there are criminally-intense efforts to obscure the information.

    At this point, I'd bet a six-pack of Smuttynose that he ends up either in an orange jumpsuit or fleeing the country.

  128. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Nicholas Weaver – or if they did not have representation before, I'm willing to bet there is a flurry of posts being made to Craigslist looking for new representation for themselves individually. :D

  129. James says

    Giving Mr. Steele the benefit of the doubt here assume, arguendo, that everything he said to ARS Technica was absolutely the gospel truth. Working from that premise, he did not make $15 million from SH handling of pr0n torrent cases (litigation costs a lot he notes, hinting that he made maybe $500K). Similarly, he is just a part-time W-2 employee at Livewire for his former employee Lutz so he can't be making much since he doesn't seem to be very involved in what is going on there. Finally, he gave up law and wound down his activity when he sold his practice to Duffy / Prenda.

    In summary, no interest in ongoing cases, no accumulated wealth from prior cases, just a minor part-time job, and no law practice. How does the poor man eat; food stamps?

  130. Quote of the Day says

    First we have the Plantiff's attorneys Fifth Amendment Offense, here we apparently have the Insanity Offense.

    I am eagerly awaiting the next avant garde legal technique. (Obviously, truth as an absolute defense/offense is right out.)

  131. whheydt says

    Re: Nazair's novel… Perhaps he's trying (unsuccessfully) to compete with "The Eye of Argon"?

  132. Resolute says

    Good call. You're facing both criminal and IRS investigations, and your response is to not only give a 90 minute interview, but to continue to throw one of your co-conspirators under the bus. That's going to work out real well if Duffy finally says "screw it" and sells Steele out to save his own hide. Which, honestly, is something Duffy should be seriously considering at this point.

  133. Just a thought says

    Is it possible that all this ranting from Georgia and Steele might have something to do with Judge Wright's colour? I've seen pictures of him on Ars, and he's definitely green.

  134. apauld says

    @AlphaCentauri— may I to edit your list add:
    6. Donates unsold copies to libraries.
    7. Start filing copyright infringement suits against libraries.
    8. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  135. Frank Rizzo says

    Principal about to be taken to school by the Streisand Effect?

    Teen suspended for posting principal's mugshot
    A high school principal tries to have a student arrested after he shares her mugshot on Instagram.

    "The principal had police and Varner in her office. "The Principal wanted him arrested for doing that.""

    Not saying it is correct to post information that is not correct. Student gets the message.

    "It's time to not really post anything about other people unless I have their permission."

  136. apauld says

    Can someone help me out with my memory, isn't Mark Lutz just a paralegal hired by Prenda?

  137. Roland Maguire says

    The profile for (not so) lucky Jacques on the Wites & Kapetan P.A. website states "His practice focuses primarily on defense of consumer credit transactions."

  138. Palimpsest says

    @Regular Guy.
    IANAL but I've written e-discovery software. I know one company that picked Atlanta to do e-review because there were a lot of lawyers needing work in that town and hence available cheaply.
    That may explain the of counsel prevalence in his law firm.

  139. Canonical says

    @whheydt It reads more like "Atlanta Nights", but, in JN's case, I don't think it was done on purpose.

  140. Charlotte says

    @Nicholas Weaver

    "He went full Carreon. You never go full Carreon."

    Re Steele's interview, Duffy just became my (slight) favorite to flip first (package deal with Van den Hamel because they have the same lawyer).

  141. Anonymous says


    Bringing their lawyers into it actually invites some interesting opportunities to speculate.

    Heather Rosing, now Prenda, Duffy and Van den Hemel's attorney, appears to be the most competent and determined. The other attorneys got steamrolled by Wright, and while she didn't fare a whole lot better she did put up a fight. When it came to additional filings and objections after the hearings it appears she did all the work and then Steele and Hansmeier's attorneys just copy and pasted the bits that worked for them.

    If she is competent and pragmatic and sees the handwriting on the wall she will be working to get them to make a deal. Unless of course their relationship deteriorates or they get new counsel for the criminal cases or whatever. The still ongoing reports of Lutz making his dunning calls, plus Steele claiming more lawsuits are on the way, is not likely to improve Prenda's relationship with its attorneys.

    S&H on the other hand, seem like they are so far out of touch with reality that they will go down fighting, Steele doesn't even seem to understand he is in trouble, and appears to believe he will talk his way out of this. In addition, his "No evidence! No emails!" schtick in his Ars interview suggests an extreme obliviousness to the possibility that other people possess incriminating documentation and may not be too loyal to use it.

    Gibbs will be the one trying to beat Duffy and VdH to the deal. He made himself the odd man out by actually showing up at the first hearing (not that he had a lot of choice) and then testifying instead of taking the fifth. So far he looks the least culpable, if only because he cooperated. He has to assume the other guys won't be in a merciful mood and will try to pin what they can on him. On the other hand, Duffy and VdH may have been closer to the real action and have a better inside scoop, although Gibbs was around long before Duffy and everyone seems to agree Duffy doesn't know or do anything, which has so far made Duffy look like the least useful guy to flip.

  142. NickN says

    I'm beginning to get a bit uncomfortable about how inept these various shell lawyers are. IANAL and I understand I'm not as offended about professional misconduct but this is beginning to look like bear baiting.
    It's not hard to see why Nazaire and Duffy and Gibbs have what Wright called shattered practices. At some point it starts to feel like laughing at the deluded.
    This makes Steele even more reprehensible. It's hard to tell how much these guys are in on the scam and how much they think Steele is going to take care of them.

  143. Nobody says

    Oh drat, I see now that someone else already posted that. Oh well.

    I just loved this quote: "Look, you may hate me and the litigation that's gone on in the past, but most people have to be a little nervous when a judge puts out a number and says that."

    Dammit, he's the only one who is supposed to do that.

  144. nlp says

    I just noticed that at the bottom of Nazaire's certification, he spelled gmail wrong. That's one of the reasons people use boilerplate. They don't have to type all the addresses out each time. After all his impassioned defense of boilerplate, you'd think he would use it.

  145. GrimGhost says

    If Nazaire the hack novelist had done even a little research, he'd know that there was never a king of Brittania named Isaac. Nor could such a king ever have such a name.

    But then, if Nazaire were one for doing basic research, he'd know that waving the Stars And Bars in front of this particular Georgia judge — "States Rights good, Federal bad!" — wouldn't be a smart idea at all.

  146. David says

    If she is competent and pragmatic and sees the handwriting on the wall she will be working to get them to make a deal."

    Uh, with who? So far, they are the plaintiffs, mostly. At the current point of time, first priority of Rosing should be to drag her clients out from their own current cases as unspectacularly as possible and get them out of the line of fire while Wright's orders take effect.

  147. miguel cervantes says

    So 'Dr. Nick Riviera' is now of counsel, it's almost worthy of the slap down of 'Billy Madison'

  148. Charlotte says

    @Anonymous – Gibbs was my odds-on favorite before. But if Rosing is as good as I think she is, she's urging her clients to flip. I don't think it would matter to her that Duffy appears to be a do-nothing – he is her client and he is looking at disbarment and Federal jail time unless he cuts a deal. As noted, he's still "in the middle" of cases, which is a complication.

    Gibbs may still have the advantage due to the fact that he's out of all the cases (including the one still pending before Judge Chen in San Francisco) and appears to have changed his #, etc. etc. etc. He's got his own lawyer, so if that lawyer is any good, s/he's working the same angles.

  149. AnotherBystander says

    Also, the motion by Erin Russell in the Illinois libel/slander case brought by Prenda against Cooper and Godfread (and the internetz)makes pretty amazing reading:


    Basically, their attorney lied to an officer of the court in order to file an amended complaint in state court, whose sole purpose was to add a sham plaintiff to the complaint and prevent the removal of the case from state to federal court on grounds of diversity.

  150. Matthew Cline says

    Quoting from the link provided by AnotherBystander:

    Under Illinois law, unlike under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court must authorize all amendments to pleadings, except those made to conform pleadings to the proof. Plaintiff never filed a motion for leave to amend the St. Clair County complaint, and no order granting such relief was ever issued. Instead, their counsel, Kevin Hoerner, personally delivered the amended complaint to the clerk’s office and falsely represented to a supervisor in the clerk’s office that no motion to amend was required because none of the defendants had yet been served. Based on that representation, the supervisor accepted the amended complaint and stamped it. However, at the time the amended complaint was filed with the clerk’s office, both Defendant Godfread and Defendant Cooper had been served with summons and copies of the original complaint, a fact that was known to Prenda.


  151. Nobody says

    @Ken: Are you planning an article on the Ars interview? Or are we hoping he will continue his incredibly smart strategy of talking to the press at every opportunity?

  152. AlphaCentauri says

    Why do I just feel like he's giving these interviews to make people think he's too stupid to worry while he's actually furiously moving his assets out of reach?

  153. Qikdraw says

    South Park reference that popped into my head after reading this.

    …ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!
    Gerald Broflovski
    Damn it! … He's using the Chewbacca defense!
    Why would a Wookiee, an 8-foot-tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.[1]

  154. says

    So the only thing I have to do to get my novel read is file bizarre law suits… Damn, and here I was putting links to it in conspicuous places…

  155. Palimpsest says

    Heather Rosing does seem like an exception to the Prenda legal cluster. Do you think she knows her client Duffy is still sending out settlement letters? Should someone tell in her in case Duffy has been less than candid with her?

  156. AlphaCentauri says

    So the only thing I have to do to get my novel read is file bizarre law suits… Damn, and here I was putting links to it in conspicuous places…

    Actually, saying "free download" works pretty well. You should post something in the next "Pimp my Blog" edition. :)

    Heather Rosing does seem like an exception to the Prenda legal cluster. Do you think she knows her client Duffy is still sending out settlement letters? Should someone tell in her in case Duffy has been less than candid with her?

    She'd have to be living under a rock not to know there's a load of stuff being posted on the internet, and that some of it could be potentially pertinent to defending his case, and that she could totally be billing for reviewing it. When I talk to lawyers, they all seem to have heard about Popehat. But it's possible. He may have called up a lot of other lawyers and been turned down before he got to one who didn't know what a mess he'd be for a client.

  157. Anonymous says


    It is remarkable that letters continue to go out on Duffy's letterhead bearing his signature, and that Lutz is still making calls.

    We must assume the Prendatards and their attorneys read every article and comment, especially since we have been better at predicting Prenda's future than they have. So she must be reading those reports as well.

    I assume there have been some heated discussions between Rosing and Duffy regarding ongoing dunning correspondence, and it seems like she would be getting concerned about reputational and legal liability if they keep it up, especially as the criminal investigations get underway.

    One of the most striking things about the continuing harassment is that much of it pertains to the LW Systems v. Hubbard case which is one of the cases that looks like there is collusion between the Plaintiff's and Defendant's counsel. That looks like the last case they want blown open and I wonder why that didn't get dismissed along with the other panic dismissals after the first Wright hearing.

    Since they were using Gibbs' signature without permission after he claims he quit, and Steele stole Cooper's identity, it is possible that Lutz and/or Steele are misusing Duffy's identity as well, but with Wright raising the stakes to Criminal Armageddon I assume Prenda/Duffy would have filed lawsuits against Steele/Lutz to get them to stop and to put on a show of distancing themselves from the bad stuff.

  158. En Passant says

    Palimpsest wrote May 12, 2013 @1:44 pm:

    Heather Rosing does seem like an exception to the Prenda legal cluster.

    That is because she is not a member of the "Prenda legal cluster". She is a California certified specialist in attorney misconduct, hired by one attorney to defend him against charges of misconduct.

  159. Kurt says

    "…with Wright raising the stakes to Criminal Armageddon…"

    The quips and quotes this case generates are delightfully delicious!

  160. Nobody says

    Hey Ken, that FCT article someone posted says the IRS has been reading their blog. Have they been over here too?

    Good luck to any IRS agents out there! (Bet you don't hear *that* often…)

  161. Matthew Cline says

    From Jason Sweet's most recent filing:

    In November 2010 John Steele registered and paid for several domains using the alias “Alan Cooper.” The address given as Alan Cooper’s residence—[REDACTED]—and the phone number, were that of Jayme Steele, sister of John Steele. Records kept by Go Daddy further show John Steele alone controlled the account.

  162. mcinsand says

    @alphacentauri, I keep scratching my head to ask why Steele would continue to do what, by all reasoned perspectives, is blowing up catastrophically in his and his cohorts' faces. Maybe you're onto something; maybe he is going for the short bus defense. 'Your honor, this was all in good faith. I honestly was this mentally incompetent, and I honestly am stupid enough to have believed that I was operating above board.'

  163. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Anonymous – This is one of those moments the wheels of Justice need to speed the hell up.

    Pretenda et al under all of their various names have a huge list of names and with the exception of 1 court, none of them have attempted to limit their use of those. ( And the court that told them no, seems to have been answered by them using that list of names to file cases in other Districts hoping no one would notice. )

    They are now sending out letters threatening people's reputations directly under the guise of "investigating" trying to get more people to settle the claims. If there was any doubt about this being a scheme to make money, this should shatter it. A majority of these names were obtained while they defrauded the courts in their enterprise to not litigate but obtain "settlements" (read correctly as extortion).

    How many people will find themselves having to make payments for "crimes" they might not have any knowledge of, just to avoid the public embarrassment of these "lawyers" calling the neighbors and connecting their name with porn?

  164. Nicholas Weaver says

    mcinsand: Why do they keep doing it?

    Because a clock is ticking: The IRS might end up having nothing in the end (since if the offshore trusts never actually got any money, there is no tax evasion if the Prenda legal fees are properly accounted for, which, unlike the trusts, probably use something more than a spreadsheet for accounting), and its sleazy but it might very well not be RICO. And its not like continuing to run the racket is going to make things happen faster or worse if it does go bad here.

    Yes, Duffy's legal license is foom (that whole moral turpitude business is a pretty much guaranteed suspension or revocation), but it only goes foom when the Illinois or California bar gets around to making it go foom.

    Thus the best thing Duffy can do for himself is keep the money flowing, and flowing fast.

    Adding the "We'll talk to your neighbors about your porn habits" is a good one: One of the big complains by Wright was the prefunctury investigations before filing. So Duffy can say, with a straight face, he's just doing what Judge Wright wants him to do before filing in the future!

    If he's able to get a few million in settlements in the months (or years) it takes for the Bar disciplinary committees to act, (combined with having a hotshot lawyer like Heather Rosing to make sure the process goes slow) he comes out ahead. Way ahead.

    And, even then, he could hire another front lawyer off of Craigslist and keep the scam going then…

  165. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Nicholas Weaver – I now feel more sick to my stomach.

    File a Doe case, get tons of names, and then "investigate" by threatening to destroy people's good names. And somehow its still all legal and proper… given the baseless threats they have made before in these letters this reaches a new low even for them.

    Destroying lives 1 letter at a time.
    They've nearly had blood on their hands in the past, what happens the next time?
    What happens to those people who don't find the community, feel trapped, and make an irreversible decision?

    They are screwing with peoples lives to make a buck off of porn, may some power have mercy on their souls because I sure as hell won't.

  166. Nicholas Weaver says

    Get used to it. Its such a brilliant racket I could easily see some copycats doing a couple of minor changes to keep on the Wright side of the law: get a better not-quite-so-straw client (who, nonetheless, has a model of "buy rights to heavily torrented pornos" primarily (BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY) to sue), get a "no subpoena required" IP->household mapping [1], and go to town.

    [1] Actually would be a useful business for legit uses, and I can see how to do it…

  167. says

    So the guy wanted to prejudice a Georgia judge by noting that California is filled with homos? Is that what this Prenda Law clown is attempting to do? Does he seriously believe that a Georgia Judge is going to look at copyrigth case law in both States and, from utterly out-of-the-blue decide to dismiss *all* of California's case law just because of the gay? How insane is that?

  168. Nick says

    Meanwhile in San Francisco, isn't Prenda due to file the blue-ink corporate disclosure statement today now that Gibbs is back from his honeymoon (a decision he should have re-thought — staying overseas might have been better for him)

  169. James says

    @Nick Yes, that is the calendar as last it was reported. It is early yet on the West Coast, but I predict that later today we will find out that the filing was consumed by Mr. Gibbs' dog while he was away (or something equally creative). I don't predict that either Prenda nor Gibbs will offer up a legible signed writing, but I could be wrong.

    Meanwhile in Arizona, Judge Bolton has demanded (for the third time) for full corporate disclosure involving Prenda including the names of every member of the associated LLCs involved there. If the third request is ignored, she has indicated that it will result in sanctions. Mr. Duffy is between the gavel and a hard place on this one.

  170. Jim Tyre says

    @Nick Yes, that is the calendar as last it was reported. It is early yet on the West Coast, but I predict that later today we will find out that the filing was consumed by Mr. Gibbs' dog while he was away (or something equally creative).

    Just a small note. E-filing in Northern District of California is considered timely if completed by 11:59:59 pm Pacific on the due date. Obviously, I've no idea when the filing will be made, but if it isn't done by COB that does not necessarily mean it won't be done on time. (I've had a number of cases against the government, represented by attorneys at Main Justice in DC. I get a small amount of perverse pleasure when they file at something like 2:50 am Eastern. At least I'm keeping 'em up late.)

  171. Anonymous says

    @Nicholas Weaver

    It also occurred to me that with Rosing as their new consigliere, the rewrite of the dunning letter and tactics may be an attempt to put the train back on the rails, although how they plan to escape the mess they are already in will be fun to watch.

    The trouble is, Wright called them out for not doing a more thorough investigation before they were ruled a fraud and a racket. Now continuing to pursue these cases with their sham plaintiffs built on forgery will just rack up additional counts of mail fraud. They may also be stepping back into the quagmire of bad investigations if they contact friends and neighbors of people with secured Wi-Fi. Wright made it clear that they are responsible for investigating their cases, so if they go and start harassing neighbors without first checking to see if the subscriber has open Wi-Fi. Arguably, with an address in hand, they should have gone to that address to see if there are any open Wi-Fi networks first, and then established if an open network was the subscriber's before they sent such a letter (that is clearly a form letter). With Prenda's established record of incompetence, this may get them right back into more sanctions hearings for faulty investigations.

    Copycatting this is a risky venture for any attorney who thinks it will be easy money. If the gloves come off, expect retaliation. This whole doing an "investigation" to embarrass someone into settling a case can work both ways. What happens when a target gets mad and, for example, calls all of an attorneys clients, friends and neighbors, states they are doing an investigation into whether or not the attorney is a child molester, and starts asking questions like "To your knowledge, has So-and-So, Esq. ever inappropriately touched a child?" They don't have to state the attorney is a child molester (no, no, that would be defamation), they just have to "investigate" the possibility, and "investigate" it by contacting everyone the guy knows.

    I am honestly amazed that none of the Prendatards have come to bodily harm given their combination of high volume, indiscriminate targeting and bungling behavior. I would have expected that as a simple matter of statistics they would have harassed a real crime boss, someone very politically connected, or someone simply insane, and had a few encounters that made them "rethink" their plan.

    In the end, this is only going to "work" temporarily for the tiny number of attorneys with the right combination of absolutely no concern for their reputation and a tragic lack of foresight. Look at how Prenda lacks even one vaguely-competent member and manages to attract more of its own kind. These are the dregs that will be working copycat schemes.

  172. mcinsand says

    As I posted on Groklaw, I think I see Steele's next career move, now that Monsanto has won their suit on GMO seeds. No doubt he'll buy a bag of Monsanto soybeans and a convertible, and he can then fling handfuls of soybeans into fields as he tours farmlands. Then, if he can persuade Monsanto, he can start suing all of those farmers that find GMO DNA in their seed stocks.

  173. Palimpsest says

    Any chance that Judge Bolton could jail them for Contempt of Court if they don't file the corporate ownership?

    Sanctions seem to have a limited deterrent capability if they ignore the disbarment and continue mailing letters.

  174. Jim Tyre says

    Duffy now has filed in the San Francisco case.

    TL;DR Duffy doesn't have it, Duffy's lawyer spoke with Gibbs' lawyer, Gibbs lawyer says that Gibbs doesn't have it. Separately, Lutz says that he doesn't have it, it would have been his practice to sign and return to Gibbs.

  175. Matthew Cline says

    @Nicholas Weaver:

    Adding the "We'll talk to your neighbors about your porn habits" is a good one: One of the big complains by Wright was the prefunctury investigations before filing. So Duffy can say, with a straight face, he's just doing what Judge Wright wants him to do before filing in the future!

    But would the court really consider asking a Doe's neighbors about Doe's porn habits to be something that would elevate their investigations above "prefunctury"? While it is further investigation, it's not investigation that's going to reveal any relevant information, since people don't tend to know the porn viewing habits of their neighbors.

  176. Nicholas Weaver says

    Steele has already been called out once with Lutz's affidavit's notarization being bad (no county etc).

    Still trying the same trick, I see: 117.05(4)(a) gives the requirements. Lack of county and a bunch of other niggling defects. To avoid a perjury charge perhaps?

  177. Nicholas Weaver says

    Matthew: Yes, "Because its the open WiFi defense, I have to ask the neighbors."…

  178. Matthew Cline says

    @Nicholas Weaver:

    Matthew: Yes, "Because its the open WiFi defense, I have to ask the neighbors."…

    If they send letters to the neighbors asking "did you download porn via Doe's WiFi", they're pretty much guaranteed to receive "no" as a response, regardless of what the neighbors actually did, rendering it useless as an investigative technique, so I don't think ti would at all satisfy Judge Wright.

  179. LW says

    If I were a totally amoral porn troll, I'd know which IPs downloaded my porn from bit torrent, because I'd not only seed it, I'd drive around with a bunch of laptops in my car and download my own porn every time I found an open wifi. I wonder how many totally amoral porn trolls have thought of that.

  180. Charlotte says

    @Palimpset – they aren't disbarred. Yet. State bars don't act fast so they're playing the float. The IRS CID would likely get to them faster.

  181. Charlotte says

    Also, I think Gibbs has gone back to my odds-on favorite for First Flipper.

  182. Matthew Cline says

    And we have Lutz throwing Gibbs under the bus. Gibbs sent him things, he signed them and returned them.

    I dunno, maybe Lutz hurled himself under the bus instead? From the linked document, Lutz admits that he signed ADR policy certificates on behalf of the Salt Marsh Trust. Does being unable to cough up the ADR certificate matter now that Lutz has admitted to that?

  183. James says

    Gibbs got thrown under the bus again (Duffy says they don't have the paperwork in the Prenda files) and then Prenda backed the bus up over his mangled body (noting that the party that files electronically is responsible for maintaining the records per a local rule). Now that Duffy has pointed the finger complete with a citation to the applicable rule, why would Gibbs do anything to help him out unless Duffy (or S&H) is going to cover 100% of the sanctions Judge Wright meted out as a quid pro quo.

    Meanwhile Orville Redenbacher stock closed up 2 3/4 on the NASDAQ.

  184. Nobody says

    The funny thing is that one of the Prenda addresses they list in some of those filings is close enough that I could knock on the door and ask if they've been leeching wireless to download tranny midget squirrel porn. I mean, I sure didn't download anything like that. And they're the pornographers here, so obviously they have more of an interest in that sort of thing than I do.

    I'm just going with the probabilities here, you know?

  185. Anonymous says

    Well it looks like this is just part of John Steele's brilliant legal strategy, as articulated in his Ars Technica interview.

    Without the documents there is no evidence and since they don't have to answer questions if they don't want to, they can't get in any trouble!

    Let's see how this big league legal strategy plays out.

  186. Anonymous says

    Am I alone in supposing that producing this document was a test?

    If they can't produce some ADR form, why would they be able to produce anything? Say something important? Say documentation that proves AF Holdings actually exists as a corporation incorporated somewhere, and that the trust that supposedly owns it also exists?

    Chen has obviously been following Wright's proceedings and the failure here, regardless of their excuses and who loses the blame game, is just going to make another judge even curiouser about a law firm that doesn't exactly need more scrutiny at the moment. Maybe Nick and Morgan are about to open the floodgates for discovery of a whole lot more stuff they won't be able to find.

    Also breathlessly waiting for the $81K to show up in Wright's case…

  187. Bystander says

    Duffy's language in his affidavit is interesting:

    "…the ECF user, rather than the user's law firm, retains full responsibility for any document filed through the ECF filer's user ID and password."

    Sounds to me like Gibbs might not be the one who actually filed the document…

  188. Katherine says

    Maybe Nick and Morgan are about to open the floodgates for discovery of a whole lot more stuff they won't be able to find.

    Have they proven that they actually do own the copyright on these movies?

  189. Rich Fiscus says

    Gibbs had already admitted to Judge Wright that at least 2 people from Prenda (Paul Hansmeier and an assistant named Carl) may have filed documents using his login.

  190. James says


    I sure hope that the federal ECF system caches the IP addresses.

    Imagine Gibbbs getting slapped for some huge sanction that he can't possibly pay on his own. His only way out would be to prove forgery by issuing a subpoena to some ISP for a list of subscribers that used a particular IP, pointing the finger at his former friends, and watching Prenda bring in technical experts to prove that identification from an IP alone is not sufficient, and that they have no obligation so secure their access point from hackers.

  191. Another anonymous NAL says

    I'm with @Charlotte on this one: Brett Gibbs has got to be getting mighty tired of the view from under that bus…soon he'll decide to sell out somebody for a front seat.

    I'm also really starting to wonder about Duffy and what on earth Rosing's going to do with him. Seems to me it's just as likely that Steele, Hansmeier and/or Lutz could be sending out this last batch of demand letters under his signature. If that's the case, she could be giving those folks the rope to hang themselves, while setting up Duffy's "Sargent Schultz" defense. OTOH, if Duffy is signing and sending the letters on his own, Rosing's got to do something, because she's also on the Board of Trustees of the California Bar Association. Awkward.

  192. Rich Fiscus says


    That sounds just ridiculous enough for Hansmeier and Steele to try. Whenever you think their arguments can't get more ridiculous they invariably find a way to prove you wrong.

  193. OngChotwI says

    @Matthew: And how exactly will they ask about Doe's wifi? Unless they named their Wifi "John Doe#34" or "123 Main Street" (since wifi usually get left with original Linksys/Dlink/etc names) it's kind of hard to identify a nieghborhood Wifi over the phone. Although, with gps & signal strength apps, we've mapped wifi coverage for a client. (To identify dead spots in their building.) With some wifi – we weren't able to go through 3 walls – yet going through two windows line of sight, I had a usable signal 1/2 mile away.

  194. That Anonymous Coward says

    Posted originally by DTD…
    I'm just going to leave this here with a couple thoughts…

    1 – I hope she has permission to use those copyrighted pictures she posted.
    2 – Denial is strong with this one, or she really isn't very smart.
    3 – I'm voting not smart as she thought she could delete it and leave no trace.
    Note he rarely loses cases… its hard to lose when you rig the game and run before the first at bat for the other team.

    I honestly hope she signed documents somewhere along the way tying her to this enterprise. I'd like to see her suffer some fraction of the suffering her 'great' husband inflicted upon others.

  195. James Pollock says

    TAC, I thought the funniest part was where Mrs. Duffy's friend Julie doesn't seem to understand exactly what Mr. Duffy's role actually is…

  196. Real says

    @TAC That's a little harsh. For all we know he could be completely in the dark about what exactly her husband is doing. Paul Duffy could've very well told her this lie and then complained that the evil internet is making it hard for him to get porn out of the hands of minors, which fueled her anger-filled post. After all, this lie is more noble than "I extort people for money using shell corporations and other shifty lawyers".

    Its obvious that Duffy is involved in this scheme, but let's at least give his wife the benefit of the doubt.

  197. Nobody says

    Yeah, funny how she didn't mention that they are also pornographers or at least the owners and distributors of the pornography. Though it's a bit weird when nobody can find a copy of the damned stuff except on bittorrent.

    Anyone happen to know what aliases they're using now? I doubt anybody even bothers to seed that crap but them.

    I'm surprised that, knowing the honeypot is out there, no one has decided to deliberately test it by connecting to the swarm without downloading anything at all and waiting for threat letters. Make a nice, informative video documenting the whole thing and play it in court….

  198. mcinsand says

    @Nobody, this is where Steele has thoroughly discredited himself, as well as the rest of Prenda. Okay, so they were pretty completely discredited already, but these are guys that keep digging when they hit rock bottom. You can't claim that video distribution and acquisition is the main business focus, rather than litigation, while refusing to name any videos for fear of affecting the litigation efforts. Videos don't sell without some sort of name recognition. If selling movies matters, then you will not miss any chance to get a name out when faced with any sort of an audience (except for children in this case, of course). To hesitate, especially while expressing concerns of affecting the litigation traps, says it all; the video companies are a sham, and they are only concerned about preying on those that won't fight back.

    As for Ms. Duffy, I don't feel sorry for her one bit if she gets caught in the backsplatter. This is much like what Judge Wright said to Duffy (or was it Gibbs) about having a responsibility to do some investigation before joining in on potentially-intense activities. In this case, she knows that he has been threatened and that there is a lot of tension around the lawsuits. This started before they got married. If she did not do at least a minimal amount of digging to make sure that she had tried to get a picture of both plaintiffs and defendants, then she has constructively asked to share in any penalties that Mr. Duffy receives, as well as the benefits.

  199. says

    I’m surprised that, knowing the honeypot is out there, no one has decided to deliberately test it by connecting to the swarm without downloading anything at all and waiting for threat letters. Make a nice, informative video documenting the whole thing and play it in court….

    To what end?

  200. Anonymous says

    @KatAttack – To prove that the threat letters are being sent to people who did not download anything.

  201. Anonymous says

    And now Gibbs goes pro se.

    The new lawyerless strategy makes perfect sense. I'm sure John Steele just doesn't need anyone standing between him and the eggs he'll be hurling at his detractors' faces. He and Paul are Big League lawyers, after all.

  202. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Real – she can work Facebook so she can work Google.
    How many stories about your husband from various sources does it take before you decide he might be lying to you?
    How many stories about that nice Mr. Steele fellow do you have to read before your sick to your stomach?

    She is posting other peoples copyrighted pictures, and other people are the bad people. Think she'd be pissed if someone send her a letter saying they could get $150K in court and unless she paid them $3000 in the next 10 days it was going to happen?
    You'd think a lawyers wife would know better. She obviously knew better once he saw what she posted and suddenly it was taken down.
    If your husband is as pure as the driven snow, why taken down something praising him. Why would he want you to take it down?

    Harassing a 70something grandmother. They hounded her for cash for having "stolen" a porn title. Only after Grandma called the media and called it extortion did they reach out to get the other side of the story… and oh look they made a mistake and then found the person they were supposed to be sending threatening letters and calls to. Never said sorry, but turned this nice old womans life upside down with their scheme. She is reaping the benefits of his ill-gotten gains, and supports him doing it because its easier to just take the money and not ask where its really coming from.

    So yeah, I hope she goes down too. I'm not the most unbiased person in the world and I didn't really care they are in the process of suing to unmask me, I care that they nearly drove someone to suicide with their lies and bullshit. I care that she is telling stories to make her husband look like a kitten and enjoying her life while he is making others miserable to support her lifestyle.

  203. Imaginary Lawyer says

    @Frederic – it's even crazier when you realize the California-has-the-gay strategy presumes that the judge does not know that California has the gay, such that his call-out to the marriage cases would be a shocking and upending revelation.

  204. AlphaCentauri says

    I wouldn't be too quick to assume she's enjoying a nice lifestyle because of his unsavory activities. We don't know what each brought to the marriage or what prenup may exist. He may be living off her assets while his house of cards collapses. He may have all kinds of debts from spending the settlement money he hadn't collected yet. She may have very little idea what she's gotten into. If she's really gullible enough to have posted that stuff on FB while all these legal proceedings are going on, she could be a victim, too.

  205. Nobody says

    @KatAttack: Like all such copyright enforcers, they consider their tools trade secrets. For all we know, it could just pick IPs at random (it's incredibly easy to pick 4 numbers between 0 and 255, then start doing reverse lookups), moreover some torrent trackers feed out bogus IPs (not that trolls appear to care). They'll submit declarations in court, of course, but given how many other things have turned out not to be true in cases like this, the fact that many IPs submitted by trolls cannot be matched to subscribers, and that infamous case of a printer being flagged as an infringer, I have my doubts about them.

    The fun thing about it is that, once the honeypot is identified, it's not hard to investigate just how honest they're being about their investigations. And given that I share the Honorable Otis T. Wright's opinion of them, it would be very interesting to see if their investigations were legit or not.

    That said, they'd probably just invent a new shell and claim it had new, proprietary programs. Frankly I wonder if they're not just writing down a bunch of information from the 'peers' tab of uTorrent, but there's no way to know for sure. Granted, if they actually did that and made sure that the download % was non-zero, they'd be doing a more legit investigation than I'm currently giving them credit for doing.

  206. Another anonymous NAL says

    Welp, Rosing's problems are solved: Duffy and Angela VDH are going pro se…

  207. Bystander says

    You can find it in the FTC twitter feed or the docket


    Duffy, VDH, Paul H, and Gibbs have all gone pro se (presumably with Steele to follow?) Why VDH is hitching her star to this wagon is a mystery.

    I'm curious what any lawyer makes of this. Seems like it can't be good for the Prenda gang in the long run.

    And is Gibbs ever going to respond to being run over? I assume he must have plenty of e-mails or something from Steele and Paul H. At least, I hope so for his sake.

  208. Another anonymous NAL says

    @Charlotte – Twitter feed for #Prenda hashtag, plus Ken's comments over on the Popehat feed.

  209. Anonymous says


    The relevant documents are gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.131.0.pdf through gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.136.0.pdf. Unfortunately the RECAPing of this docket seems to be broken and they don't appear on the docket page itself. I tried logging into PACER a week or two ago and paying to reupload the latest docket, but it still didn't update RECAP so something is bugged on their end, but at least the documents themselves are making it up.


    It is hard to imagine she could be that in the dark, especially with the amount of attention this case has now generated, but if she made the mistake of trusting her husband and she's not a tech news hound she likely wouldn't see the other side of the story. Most of my friends are extremely tech savvy and even with the recent rash of coverage, as I have been sharing the story I am usually telling people about it for the first time. Even so, if Duffy managed to shake down one of their friends it seems like news would have made its way through her (apparently very extensive) social network if only from the dude himself to embarrass them back.

    I think a likely possibility is that Duffy is a fortune hunter. Going by the little bit I know about them personally, Shari is doing a much better job at appearing successful. She appears to have a massive social network, organizes and participates in tons of events, etc. She appears to be a genuine socialite, and given how much she appears to have invested in it, that probably predated their marriage. Paul, on the other hand, has credit problems, found himself at a place in life where hitching himself to the Prenda train seemed like a good idea, and wound up where he is today.

    What he brought to the relationship if she had the money is anyone's guess. I don't think it was his dashing good looks (petty, I know, but seriously), and since everyone agrees he did nothing and now his firm is in ruins, it probably wasn't his Alpha as Fuck business and leadership skills.

    But people exercise poor judgement and make strange decisions all the time, as we keep seeing in this case.

  210. Burk says

    Would Gibbs go pro se just to save a buck, or is this an indication that he's even more screwed than he thought? Or is it that, post sanctions, he no longer needs representation in this case?

  211. Anonymous says

    I'm curious about this too, and would love to hear some lawyerly speculation.

    I assume they would not want to go unrepresented until the case is closed. That $81K is still due on Monday and if they try to blow it off (and they have demonstrated a willingness to give courts the finger), they may be looking at another round of 'splainin', and since they aren't talking that could get very awkward.

    If there is no work left to do, why bother with the formality of substitution of counsel as opposed to just not filing anything else?

    It does seem curious that this happened all at once, and with Prendatards represented by three different attorneys (we haven't heard from Steele yet). What specifically could have motivated ALL their attorneys to bail simultaneously? The Steele interview? The publishing of dunning letters from Duffy dated March 7, a day after the ruling? The fact that they are up for criminal referrals and the existing attorneys aren't qualified (not that they are qualified going pro se).

    Since Gibbs is being thrown under the bus by the rest, it seems unlikely they are regrouping to form a united front, but what would scare Waxler away if Gibbs has indeed stopped working for Prenda?

    From the NAL perspective it is hard not to think Something is going on and this is not something they are doing by choice, so it would be great to have AL jump in and let us know if this is just the normal way a case winds down after the plaintiff ends up being sanctioned and referred for criminal prosecution…

  212. MrSpkr says

    Wow. The only explanation I can think of for why Gibbs would join the Expedited Disbarred Misfits and Martyr's Brigade in their hopeless jihad against Judge Wright would be a combination of fiscal inability to pay for representation in this matter and in the state disciplinary proceedings he must know are coming. I cannot help but believe that if he thought he had a prayer of coming out of this with his license intact, he would borrow, beg or steal to keep representation. From what I recall of the transcript, Waxler did a yeoman's job of portraying Gibbs in the best possible light under the circumstances.

    I think this development means Gibbs is resigned to doing something other than the practice of law for a while.

  213. Nick says

    Given that Rosing is highly competent, I would be willing to bet a small amount of money that she actually fired her client when she became aware of what they were doing behind the scenes (e.g. the dunning letters).

  214. Nicholas Weaver says

    Going Pro Se makes sense. I can see Rosing wanting off ASAP, especially as Duffy continues to send out letters (all this RICO talk undoubtedly makes Rosing nervous… RICO talk when your client keeps doing what he's been told to stop doing is really nervewracking).

    And IANAL, but since Rosing was "Special Appearance for", it would probably have been a lot easier for her to go:

    Oh gosh. You know, I'm not much on speeches, but it's so gratifying to… leave you wallowing in the mess you've made. You're screwed, thank you, bye.

    So they were on their own anyway.

    But also, an attorney no longer matters. An appeal is a waste of effort: the damage done is not the $81K in damages (just force John "The Fifteen Million Dollar Man" Steele to pay it), but that Judge Wright's order is now following them around the country. As Kurt Opshal and company at the terroristic EFF point out:

    Indeed, if Prenda Law attempted to contest these findings of fact in the underlying litigation, it would be barred by the doctrine of issue preclusion, which prevents “relitigation of both issues of law and issues of fact if those issues were conclusively determined in a prior action.” United States v. Stauffer Chem. Co., 464 U.S. 165, 170–71, (1984); see also Kendall v. Visa U.S.A., Inc., 518 F.3d 1042, 1050 (9th Cir. 2008). The preclusive effect is not reduced because the Principals took the Fifth Amendment. FDIC v. Daily (In re Daily), 47 F.3d 365, 368 (9th Cir. 1995) (“the ‘actual litigation’ requirement may be satisfied by substantial participation in an adversary contest in which the party is afforded a reasonable opportunity to defend himself on the merits but chooses not to do so.”) (footnote omitted). Issue preclusion attaches even if Prenda Law elects to file an appeal. Tripati v. Henman, 857 F.2d 1366, 1367 (9th Cir. 1988).

    My IANAL translation:

    Sorry, Prenda, Judge Wright's decision is now considered settled, so even if you succeed in an appeal two years from now, until then, this will follow you around to every other Prenda case in the country…

  215. Katherine says

    Given that Rosing is highly competent, I would be willing to bet a small amount of money that she actually fired her client when she became aware of what they were doing behind the scenes (e.g. the dunning letters).

    Would she fire all of her clients because of the failings of Duffy and Steele (and probably Lutz)? Gibbs and the other paralegal seem to be keeping their noses clean.

    IANAL (obviously).

  216. Anonymous says


    Gibbs has his own attorney which makes his coordinated ejection seat pull very intriguing.

    Do we know if AVDH is still on the Prenda payroll? If so, wouldn't she remain radioactive as long as Duffy is sending letters? If not, and if Prenda was picking up her tab, she's faced with having to pay for her own defense. Based on where she has been working she should have heard all about how much it can cost to defend a lawsuit, however meritorious, and unlike her racket there is no paying to make this go away.

    By the second hearing, Gibbs, Hansmeir, and Steele all had their own attorneys while Prenda, Duffy and AVDH were still with Rosing. Lutz, Peter H., nonexistent Alan Cooper of AF, and the sham plaintiff corporations were unrepresented.

    What makes this development appear so spectacular is that the clients of four different attorneys have gone pro se in two days. We have yet to hear from Steele, and this ought to make things awkward for Prenda Law, Inc. because a corporation cannot appear pro se and Duffy won't exactly be able to represent his company with his mouth shut.

  217. says

    Looks like Paul Hansmeier is appealing,
    and he's asked the appeal court for an emergency stay of execution because Judge Wright's order is bad for his reputation. Unfortunately, I can't find the RECAP'ed motion to link to it, but I'm sure someone can.

    PS: Steele's applied to go pro se too.

  218. Katherine says

    I've been nagged by a really ugly thought for the past couple of days and I think its time I put it into words.

    Is it possible that these signatures were forged?

    For the record: the following are the observations and opinions of a non-handwriting expert.

    The possibility of forgeries occurred to me yesterday while I was looking at Paul Duffy's signature. I noticed that it was really, really messy and I considered the possibility this done that way on purpose in order to disguise the forgery. So I started digging up other examples of Paul's John Hancock and assembled them into an album which you can see here: http://imgur.com/a/j5mtT

    The first three signatures came off of extortion letters. The remaining four came from court documents. The Extortion Letter Signatures are so similar that they probably came from a stamp. No big deal that and it wasn't what I was looking for anyway. What I was looking at was letter formation. And the court document signatures don't seem to be formed quite the same way as the extortion letters signatures. For one thing, the P in Paul's stamp signature is separate from the rest of his name. In the court documents, the entire first name is strung together. In the stamps, the 'l's are pointy at the top. On the court documents, they are far more rounded. Then there are the 'y's at the end which are never the same from one court document signature to the next.

    Its natural that there would be some variation in a person's signature, but those last four signatures seem to be more different and normal variation can account for. They aren't just different from the stamp sigs, they're different from one another. Even though most of them contain the same defining characteristics (strong Ps, oversized 'l' and 'y's that loop at the bottom) these characteristics are not being formed quite the same way to the next.

    Take Duffy's court document signatures and compare them to Gibb's & Paul Hansmeier's signatures on the per-se documents and you see some interesting commonalities. They are large, loopy, and very nearly illegible…almost as though they were written as fast as possible. And yet, if they were in such a hurry (or are so lazy) why not just initial?

    Here's an album with Gibb's, Paul H.'s pro-se signatures. ADVH is included but the document is too faint for me to be able to make out the full signature.

    (Again, not a handwriting expert. Just someone with too much time on her hands.)

    Seriously, we already know that Steele and Lutz are not above forging signatures. So what's a bit more forgery between friends?

  219. Anonymous says


    And Hansmeier's application to the Bar of the Ninth Circuit is held in abeyance… Pending the outcome of the Bar investigations ordered by Wright.

    Aside from being hilarious, what are the real implications for this appeal? Do rules forbid an attorney from appearing pro se if he is being investigated or has been disbarred? If anyone is allowed to appear pro se, are attorneys held to stricter rules as officers of the court?

  220. AlphaCentauri says

    @Katherine — The differences are intriguing; I wonder if we'll hear the real story eventually. If someone were forging a signature, I should think they would try to make it as close as possible or at least legible, not an unidentifiable cluster of scribbles. (I actually see a lot of forged signatures in the course of my job, and they are usually far more legible than the originals.) I wonder if there are pharmacologic factors in play.

  221. Nobody says

    Ken, we need more Prenda stories! There should be enough crazy to write about by now, right?

  222. Another anonymous NAL says

    What @Nobody said. It would be interesting to hear your take on the pro-se-a-rama going on.

  223. Nicholas Weaver says

    IANAL, but I think this whole appeal business is now a silly sideshow where we get to see the adage "an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client" in full force, but not much else of note.

    Strategically, these appeals only enable Prendarists to avoid paying $80k. everything else that Judge Wright's order does is effectively still in effect, even if SadPaul gets his "emergency stay": The bar complaints have started (and already had an effect), the Klingons and RomulansUS Attorneys and IRS CID have warmed up their battlecruisers, and Wright's order has already appeared in almost every Prenarist case, and, thanks to Wright's Star Trek Order, will keep materializing wherever the Prendarists go.

  224. Burk says

    Can anyone explain the practical difference between pro se and pro per?

    I've read several definitions of each, and I now understand much less than I did before I started. Is pro per descriptive of the "appearance," while pro se is descriptive of the "proceeding"?

  225. Charlotte says

    Thanks to everyone for providing links in answer to my question!

    As @Nicholas has said (and I and others had noted earlier), the appeal of Judge Wright's case is the least of the Prenderp's worries. The pro-se-a-rama might be because they're broke, or saving money for criminal/tax lawyers, or their lawyers fired them. Maybe they figure their law licenses are toast.

    If the appeal works to avoid having to come up with $80K by Monday, it does, of course, have a practical value. IANAL, nor do I work for one, but I suspect the consequences of blowing that off wouldn't be pretty.

  226. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Bystander – any emails Gibbs could produce would be tossed.
    He admitted it open court the account access was shared, hell it appeared in dockets across the country where Gibbs wasn't even appearing.
    It would be difficult for him to offer a true representation when others could easily have accessed and altered things.
    Its why we can't trust half of the documents filed from Gibbs ECF account, everyone had the damn login… and IIRC it was Duffy who pointed out even if someone else did stuff with it.. the fault lies at the account holders feet in the end.

  227. Anonymous says

    Pro se madness aside, we can see they are taking this seriously as they filed three days before the deadline this time instead of the night before.

  228. Katherine says

    @Nobody & @NAL, he said in another post that he's in trial prep mode so he may not have time to do this insanity justice.

  229. Nobody says

    So, how long until Ken can retire comfortably and write about these clowns full-time? My F5 key is getting quite a workout.

  230. Charlotte says

    It's been a busy period, as well. The Massachussetts suit in the latest "Popehat signal" has had some significant progress (including a magnificently snarky defense counsel letter) and Charles Carreon has filed a notice of appeal in the Recouvrer case. Here's hoping that Ken's trial preps go speedily and he's back to writing up this stuff in more than tweet-size bits soon!

  231. Another anonymous NAL says

    @Katherine: I know Ken's a busy man…it's just by now, I've got this Pavlovian thing going on: Prenda development –> popcorn craving
    –> Popehat craving –> refreshrefreshrefresh –> Ken writes something awesome –> consume popcorn. So….yeah.

  232. Katherine says

    Been doing my own digging around and discovered something interesting. There is another Hansmeier in Minnesota. Going by his LinkedIn profile, I'd say he's old enough to be Paul and Peter's dad. And guess who he works for? Internal Revenue Service as a case manager and former agent.

    Irony, thy name is Hansmeier.

    And yet, this is worrisome because if he is related (we don't know for certain that he is, but it does seem likely), and so inclined, he has the power to get Paul and Peter out of this mess.

  233. Katherine says

    Correction: I was wrong about him being old enough to be the Hansmeier brother's father. Cousin or older brother, perhaps. But not dad.

  234. Damian says


    There is no functional difference between the terms "pro se" and "pro per." Both terms essentially refer to someone who is without a lawyer and representing themselves in court. Federal courts favor "pro se" and state courts favor "pro per."

  235. James says

    Gibbs was in court today and I have part of the transcript

    Judge: So Mr. Gibbs, it looks like your friend have thrown you under the bus once again. What it is like under there?

    Gibbs: Your honor I gotta tell you, its exhausting.

    You've been a great crowd.

  236. Wick Deer says

    The problem with trial prep is that is followed immediately by either trial or with what I call "litigation interruptus." Neither state is particularly conducive to blogging.

  237. He really said that...?!? says


    From your post:

    "…but I suspect the consequences of blowing that off wouldn't be pretty."

    I agree with you. Whether they appealed due to lack of money, (which I doubt), or due to arrogance, (which I suspect), this will not go well for them. Appealing Judge Wright's order will only invite more scrutiny and give the assorted State Bars, US Attorney's Office, and the IRS CID more time to ready the Phasers and Photon Torpedos.

  238. MrSpkr says

    The bar complaints have started (and already had an effect), the Klingons and RomulansUS Attorneys and IRS CID have warmed up their battlecruisers

    That's an awfully harsh judgment of Romulans. Did they steal your lunch money in fifth grade or something?

  239. AlphaCentauri says

    @TAC, since they used text messages as an exhibit in one of their filings, he may have something juicy there.

  240. Burk says

    @Damian – thanks. My google search led me to a coupla sites which claim that there is a VERY IMPORTANT AND ARCANE DIFFERENCE between pro se and pro per. On closer review, they also mention maritime flags, gold fringe, and personal sovereignty….

  241. Anonymous says

    I puzzled over that too, but realized Gibbs is still counsel of record for Ingenuity 13.

    Paul Duffy substituted for Gibbs in their other CA cases, and I thought he had tried to do the same in this case before the OSC, but looking at the docket again I don't see a request to substitute counsel in this case.

    Gibbs got trapped here because they voluntarily dismissed the case during the same week Duffy replaced Gibbs in the other CA cases (Chen case, for example). Unfortunately for Gibbs, instead of the dismissal being the end of it as per Prenda's usual pattern of cutting and running, Wright issued an OSC the same day as their dismissal, trapping Gibbs in the proceedings that were to come.

    At that point, I don't think even the other Prendatards would have been willing to try to substitute, and it wouldn't have mattered anyway because the OSC and hearing were about Gibbs' conduct (or at least, they started out being about Gibbs' conduct).

    Since Gibbs thought he was getting out of the case anyway, and then it exploded into an unmitigated disaster, it appears that they simply have not had a chance to formally replace Gibbs.

    I seriously doubt Gibbs will be doing much representing in the appeal, but he may have some obligations until he can formally withdraw. Awkward is the word in Prendaland.

  242. David M. Nieporent says

    @James: an attorney cannot simply withdraw from a case unilaterally. Once it has been filed, the attorney is in until the court says he's out. While an individual, especially in a civil case, can decide at any time that he or she wants to represent himself, a corporate entity cannot do so. A corporate entity must be represented by a lawyer. Courts are thus often reluctant to let a lawyer out of representing a corporate entity, as it necessarily causes a delay while the corporate entity secures a new lawyer.

  243. James says

    What happens if the Hansmeier stay is approved but nobody else appeals? I know it is early Friday, and the ECF is available all weekend and into Monday, but if some party such as Steele (aka the $15 million man) just shuts the hell up and pays the $82K doesn't he moot the Hansmeier stay requestl?

    Hansmeier's issues as I read them are the irreparable harm that would result from having to pay the fine, referral to the state bar, noticing all the other judges on Prenda cases, and the referral to the IRS. The IRS doesn't need anybody's permission to investigate tax fraud, the referrals to the bar associations have apparently already happened so there is no putting that genie back in the bottle, judges all over the country have already been asked to take judicial notice of the Wright findings and besides Morgan Pietz is free to share public documents whether Hansmeier gets his feelings hurt or not, so that leaves only the sanctions as needing an emergency stay.

    If Steele pays the sanctions then it might kick off an ugly battle for contribution, but that is a different matter for a different court on a different day. Naturally I won't hold my breath that Steele or anybody else will pay on Monday and it is more likely that we see flurry of carbon copy appeals filed by all of those with joint and several liability, but it would be fun to watch just the same.

    At least it is costing them all $455 a pop to file.

  244. Jon says

    If all that's left to stay is the money, then the stay is unlikely to be granted, as financial payments (especially relatively moderate ones like this) are highly unlikely to cause irreversible harm. Notice that the money was never mentioned in that part of PH's filing.

  245. Anonymous says

    The recurring concern is "to avoid the irreparable reputational injury that would flow from the dissemination of the district court’s order to 'all judges before whom these attorneys have pending cases.'"

    How they expect to prevent that from happening naturally due to all their defendants filing it is anyone's guess. Beyond that, their reputations are so thoroughly trashed as a result of their own bumbling, the Ninth Circuit shouldn't feel any pity or responsibility.

  246. James says

    @Nicholas Weaver

    Now you can't go by Internet reviews by disgruntled clients. It is far better to search out his digs and see what kind of palatial offices he works from. In this case it looks like a converted motel or the worst office building ever, but at least it is right across the street from a 25 cent do it yourself car wash so you know his ride is always clean when he goes to court. Google Street View:


    He does have a web site @fredheathlaw where he advertises as a creditor rights attorney. He has even has a handy web application on his referral page for Buddy's Home Furnishings (an overpriced furniture rent-to-own service) to submit their collection and repossession cases in bulk. First Buddy's and now Prenda; quite the client list. Do I get a free week of television rental with each torrent I download? Think of the synergies!

    Welcome to the big leagues Fred.

  247. Bystander says

    I don't see Prenda's answer in the Sunlust case going too far with arguments like "Defendant fails to establish that Mr. Lutz was not an adequate representative of Sunlust" when it's the judge herself who established that. :)

  248. He really said that...?!? says

    Judge Snow's last name made me think of this visual.

    A tall, snow-covered mountain. Lots and lots of snow. Barely clinging to the mountain.

    In the valley below, at the base of the mountain, Mt. Themis, a group of people are looking somewhat apprehensively at the snow-covered mountain. One is wearing a very expensive suit and is sporting cufflinks with the initials "JS".

    Suddenly, the USS Otis Wright breaks through the clouds and looses a photon torpedo into the mountain. The barely clinging snow succumbs to the effects of gravity. Despite their very best efforts, JS and company cannot outrun the avalanche which buries them up to their chins.

    No worries for our buried JS and company however. The IRS CID K9 Division is releasing the St. Bernards to rescue them.

  249. Anonymous says

    I wonder what happened to the resident epic poet at Fight Copyright Trolls. I don't think we've had a new ballad since before the May 6 ruling.

  250. Jim Tyre says

    And Klinedinst fires Prenda as a client… http://t.co/pPFolFYhcR

    Not so fast. Judge Wright granted Steele's request to go pro se, but denied Klinedinst:

    ORDER DENYING REQUEST TO WITHDRAW [144] by Judge Otis D. Wright, II. Klinedinst states no reasons for its withdrawal, other than that Prenda Law has consented to it. Klinedinst correctly notes that Prenda Law is a corporation and cannot represent itself pro se in federal court. Rowland v. Cal. Mens Colony, Unit II Mens Advisory Council, 506 U.S. 194, 20102 (1993). But because no attorney has yet to substitute in for Prenda Law, the Court rejects Klinedinsts Request to Withdraw. Thus, Klinedinst's Request is hereby DENIED. The Court will allow Klinedinst to withdraw when Prenda Law has acquired substitute counsel. At that time, Prenda Law must file a request for approval of substitution of attorney. IT IS SO ORDERED. (cch)

  251. Katherine says

    All of a sudden I had a visual of the IRS CID people as DALEKs, rolling around saying, "INVESTIGATE! INVESTIGATE! INVESTIGATE!"

  252. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Nicholas Weaver – hotmail, yahoo, aol are common email providers for those who answer Craigslist ads looking for lawyer to employ.
    They often have 'high profile' addresses that upon inspection often lead to virtual offices, on the high end, and to "suites" in a UPS store, on the low end.
    His former work puts him into the same brotherhood with Steele, divorce lawyers.
    Many of the "superstars" of copyright trolling have next to no IP law experience, they seem to be moving into the 'hot new" money making arena of copyright settlements.
    The sad truth is random web commentators often have a better grasp of the law and the underlying tech being used than some of these local counsels.

  253. Katherine says

    Progress report by Pietz with three exhibits.

    Pietz is cool with a stay pending appeal provided, "that Hansmeier first post a supersedeas bond, sufficient to fully secure payment of the fee award below, plus estimated interest, plus appellate costs per Fed. R. App. Proc. 7, all in an amount and on such conditions as to be determined by the district court."

  254. Nicholas Weaver says

    I gotta give Paul credit: "Class Action Justice Institute, LLC" is a far better law firm name for what appear to be shakedown attempts.

  255. Jim Tyre says

    At approximately 2:30 am today, Gibbs filed a Notice of Appeal in the District Court (which is where the Notice gets filed). No request for a stay in the District Court, not yet seeing anything in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Like Hansmeier, proceeding pro se, nothing (yet) from Steele or Duffy.

  256. Nicholas Weaver says

    The Court will allow Klinedinst to withdraw when Prenda Law has acquired substitute counsel. At that time, Prenda Law must file a request for approval of substitution of attorney.

    Translation: Its Craigslist time!

  257. MarkH says

    Translation: Its Craigslist time!

    Oh dear, I will ask my wife to take down the Craigslist ad for the strawberries. It might just be enough experience that someone from Prenda calls for an legal opinion.

  258. gramps says

    James, re the digs: The two-bit car wash is definitely a plus, but you totally ignored the dental/medical practices housed in what can only be a converted Foster's Freeze.

    I think the motel I stayed in 25 years ago in Twin Falls, Idaho, was built from the same set of plans as the "office complex", right down to the garden island surrounding the sign. I do think that an inflatable Statue of Liberty on the roof would be nice… to finish off the Saul Goodman motif.

    As they say: you can't make this shit up!

  259. Palimpsest says

    So if they represent themselves as their own lawyer can they plead the fifth in court?

  260. Katherine says

    Actually, yes. They just say that they invoke their fifth amendment rights against self incrimination.

  261. Anonymous says

    I'm stealing the thought from a comment on Ars, but what if the appeals court remands the case? That could be quite a predicament for Prenda and entertaining for us. Since they are betting on the argument that they didn't get a fair hearing, Pietz was an unfair prosecutor, etc., and hoping (desperately) to win with that argument and get away, it would be quite excellent if the appeals court came back with "yeah, sure, how about you guys go ahead and have another hearing with plenty of warning and bring all your evidence and witnesses."

  262. GrimGhost says

    It is now May 20th, and the rent is due. Or rather, the eighty-one kilobucks. Any predictions about what happens now?

  263. James says

    Heather Rosing really wants to be done with Prenda as a client. Notwithstanding the fact that Judge Wright did not let her firm withdraw until Prenda has new counsel, Prenda and Rosing filed a joint stipulation today that she will be making no additional "special appearances" and Prenda acknowledged that they have to get new counsel.

    Given that Duffy does not hold a bar license in California, Hansmeier's application to be admitted to the 9th Circuit is on hold during the pendency of the disciplinary matters at the Minnesota bar, Gibbs still can't see the courthouse from under the bus, and local counsel of various flavors are getting wrapped up in the mess and being sanctioned themselves (think Jacques Nazaire) who in their right mind would sign up to be new Prenda counsel? I am guessing that it would require an extremely large retainer.


    Meanwhile, I spent the weekend enjoying the sunshine and fresh air as I am sure many of you did. I wonder what Steele, Gibbs, and Duffy were up to? Maybe playing a foursome with Hansmeier making bad Caddy Shack references in their best Bill Murray voice "Yeah you got sanctioned but you pled the fifth so you got that going for you."

  264. AlphaCentauri says

    And Klinedinst fires Prenda as a client… http://t.co/pPFolFYhcR

    If the handwriting on those signatures gets any worse, they'll be signing in crayon next. Is this an attempt simultaneously to claim diminished capacity and to try to get people to believe the cash they bragged about to Forbes all went up their noses?

  265. Jim Tyre says

    Heather Rosing really wants to be done with Prenda as a client. Notwithstanding the fact that Judge Wright did not let her firm withdraw until Prenda has new counsel, Prenda and Rosing filed a joint stipulation today that she will be making no additional "special appearances" and Prenda acknowledged that they have to get new counsel.

    Given that Duffy does not hold a bar license in California [….]

    That's not quite right. Rosing/Klindinst filed a stipulation with Prenda to withdraw, but the stipulation requires a court order. Judge Wright declined to issue the order, because a corporation (including for this purpose an LLC) cannot represent itself in federal court. So you have the timing backwards.

    Also, Duffy is admitted to practice in California, and in the federal court for the Northern District of California. Federal court admission is done district by district, so that doesn't necessarily mean that he's admitted to the Central District, where Judge Wright is. If, hypothetically, he were to apply to be admitted to the Central District so that he could take Rosing's place representing Prenda, it might be interesting to see how the court would handle that.

  266. James says

    Rosing/Klindinst filed a stipulation with Prenda to withdraw, but the stipulation requires a court order. Judge Wright declined to issue the order, because a corporation (including for this purpose an LLC) cannot represent itself in federal court.

    Yes, I am aware of those rules but this stipulation looks to be different than the request to substitute counsel. It was inked on Friday, after Judge Wright declined to approve the withdrawal because it would leave the corporate entity unrepresented, and was filed today.

    I am not arguing the point that a corporation, as a legal person, cannot represent itself pro se (it is clear that it cannot) and that there needs to be a substitute counsel if Rosing is to withdraw with Judge Wright's blessing, but then what is the purpose of today's stipulation? Does it serve any purpose at all?

  267. Jim Tyre says

    Yes, I am aware of those rules but this stipulation looks to be different than the request to substitute counsel. It was inked on Friday, after Judge Wright declined to approve the withdrawal because it would leave the corporate entity unrepresented, and was filed today.

    No. The stip you linked to is document 144 on the docket. Judge Wright's Order is document 147 and links back specifically to 144.

  268. Jim Tyre says

    Nazaire continues to entertain us.

    "The California case was decided based upon a different set of facts, not ideology."

    So it wasn't about gay marriage?!? I'm so confused.

  269. Hannah says

    USA – from Puritans to Impure-itans

    Is there a connection between beautiful New England and entire American cities turned into smoking rubble? There is.
    Take same-sex marriage. I would have guessed that a "sin" city (San Francisco? Las Vegas?) would have been the first to legalize it.
    Oddly it's been the place where America started that's wanted to be the first place to help bring about the end of America and its values! It's been a Nor'easter of Perversion (helping to fulfill the end time "days of Lot" predicted in Luke 17) that began in (you guessed it) Boston in 2004.
    New England has gone from the Mayflower Compact to the Gay Power Impact, from Providence to decadence, from Bible thumpers to God dumpers, from university to diversity to perversity, and from the land of the Great Awakening to God's Future Shakening that will make the Boston bombings look like Walden Pond ripples by comparison!
    The same Nor'easter has been spreading south and as far west as Washington State where, after swelling up with pride, Mt. Rainier may wish to celebrate shame-sex marriage by having a blast that Seaddlepated folks can share in lava-land!
    The same Luke 17 prediction is tied to the Book of Revelation which speaks of the cities that God will flatten because of same-sexism – including American cities – a scenario I'll have to accept since I can't create my own universe and decree rules for it.
    I've just been analyzing the world's terminal "religion" that has its "god," its accessories, its "rites," and even a flag. It's an obsession that the infected converts are willing to live for, fight for – and even die for!
    Want more facts? Google "God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up," "Government-Approved Illegals," "FOR GAYS ONLY: Jesus predicted" and "The Background Obama Can't Cover Up."