Prenda Law: The Sound of One Shoe Dropping

All of Popehat's Prenda coverage is collected here.

There have been many small-to-medium developments in the Prenda Law saga. I'm preparing for trial, so I won't be covering them any time soon. But I will leave you with one: a consequence for a Prenda Law lawyer in the Ninth Circuit.

You may recall that Prenda figure Paul Hansmeier has dabbled in representing people objecting to proposed class action settlements. Apparently Mr. Hansmeier was seeking admission to the bar of the Ninth Circuit in order to represent an objector on the Groupon class action. The Ninth Circuit, having seen Judge Wright's order, is less than welcoming in an order by an appellate commissioner:

On April 5, 2013, attorney Paul R. Hansmeier entered his notice of appearance as counsel of record for Objector-Appellant Padraigin Browne. At that time, Hansmeier’s application for admission to the bar of the Ninth Circuit was pending.

On May 15, 2013, the court ordered that Hansmeier’s application for admission be held in abeyance pending the outcome of his referral to the Minnesota State Bar and the Central District of California Standing Committee on Discipline in Ingenuity 13 LLC v. Doe, No. 2:12-cv-8333-ODW(JCx) (C.D. Cal. May 6, 2013) (Order Imposing Sanctions). See In re Hansmeier, No. 13-80114.

Because Hansmeier’s application for admission to the court’s bar cannot be approved at this time, he cannot represent parties in this appeal. See Fed. R. App. P. 46(a); 9th Cir. R. 46-1.2. Accordingly, within 14 days after the filing of this order, Hansmeier shall withdraw from this case. Hansmeier’s notice of withdrawal shall contain proof that he has informed Browne that Hansmeier cannot represent him in this court and that Browne may obtain new counsel or represent himself. Hansmeier’s notice of withdrawal shall also contain contact information for Browne unless a notice of substitution of counsel has been filed by the time Hansmeier files his notice of withdrawal.

Failure timely to comply with this order may result in sanctions.

In other words: no, Paul, you can't have admission to the Ninth Circuit until this is cleared up, and we won't let you represent a client before us in the interim.

Actions have consequences.

(Thanks to a tipster for word of this order)

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Jim Tyre says

    Breaking (but unsurprising) news: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just denied Paul Hansmeier's request for an emergency stay of Judge Wright's sanctions order:

    Before: O’SCANNLAIN and CALLAHAN, Circuit Judges.

    Appellant's emergency motion for a stay of the district court’s May 6, 2013 sanctions order is denied without prejudice to renewal, if necessary, upon the filing and disposition of such request in the district court. See Fed. R. App. P. 8(a)(1).

    The briefing schedule established previously shall remain in effect.

  2. John Henry says

    This is not really a big deal. I am sure one of his associates at Alpha Law will cover for him while this blows over.

  3. Ben E. says

    Ken, I'm not sure what the lawyerly equivalent of "Break a leg" is, but may you tie opposing counsel's logic up in knots, leave them dizzy, seeing spots!

  4. Nicholas Weaver says

    Ahh, SadPaul. The Prenda fiasco is now looking to disrupt his (what appears to be a) class action shakedown and extortion scheme…

    Poor, Poor SadPaul.

  5. Qitaana says

    Looks like O'Scannlain and Callahan kicked it back because he needs to ask at the district court level first.

  6. Nicholas Weaver says

    Are you sure he hasn't changed law firm names again? He seems to change them more often than some people change their underwear.

  7. James says

    @Jim Tyre So it would appear that Hansmeier has no other option left open to him today but to petition the district court for a stay (good luck with that), to write a big check, or to hope that one of his buddies writes the check (good luck with that too). I presume he has the rest of the business day in California to figure this out.

    If we assume the stay will have no better luck at the district court level, what are the options if Judge Wright does not see $82 large changing hands by the end of the day. Bench warrants issuing for all natural persons involved? Additional sanctions for each day it goes unpaid? Does Morgan Pietz file judgment liens on everybody's property? How far can the court and other litigants go to collect the money?

  8. Regular Guy says

    No worries, John. It is not easy to keep these organizations apart. No doubt they have it covered, though. The title to their webpage, at least according to Google states: "We are lawyers who protect people…" No doubt he can find somebody in an adjacent office to cover this for his wife.

    I wonder if they will report this on their webpage along with the other newsworthy items?

  9. Nicholas Weaver says

    Worse for the Pro Se appeals is Pietz's "Sure, I'll stipulate a stay of fees, IF YOU POST A BOND. But a stay won't fix your reputation" reply. It will be interesting to see how the Prendarists reply to that.

  10. Mike says

    Shocking, Prenda bit by attempting another procedural shortcut. So no stay and the money due today. No time to get denied by Wright and then return to 9th Circuit.

  11. John Henry says

    "Looks like O'Scannlain and Callahan kicked it back because he needs to ask at the district court level first."


  12. says

    Hansmeier’s notice of withdrawal shall contain proof that he has informed Browne that Hansmeier cannot represent him in this court…

    Ha! And will Mr. Hansmeier inform Mr. Browne why exactly he is not allowed to represent him in the 9th? :) Or will Hansmeier "forget" to mention the (always hoped-for) possible disbarment and (dare we pray Jesus?) possible pending criminal indictments of some of the Prenda Law dingbats characters identified to date?

    There is something fascinating about watching the Titanic sink with all crew on board.

  13. mcinsand says

    >>Prenda Law: The Sound of One Shoe Dropping

    Prenda Law: The Sound of Several Legal Careers Popping

  14. says

    Maybe they can blame their procedural fuckup on the appeals panel (do they even get one to kick this back down?) because they don't like copyright law.

    We've already established clearly that Judge Wright dislikes copyright, in general. Otherwise, why would he do all these bad things? I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as the entire Ninth Circuit now must also dislike copyright in order to reject this wisely-filed motion.

    Hey, did I mention my Prenda Sunglasses(tm) arrive? Just like the awesome shades from "They Live", except you don't have to get beat up by Roddy Piper to wear them. Pretty impressive tech that can make the Prenda team appear competent.

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

    Karma. A bitch for those of you on the wrong side of things, eh Paul?

  16. Regular Guy says

    It would appear that the denial of the request for stay went something like this:
    Hansmeier: I shouldn't have to follow the rules and file in the District Court first (I've got three reasons!)
    Ninth Circuit: Follow the rules.

  17. Anon E. Mous says

    Well I guess when your earnings take a hit from the Copyright Troll game, it's always nice to have another way to make some quick cash, and apparently being an objector in a class action is a good way to make up those much need funds.

    I guess one scheme is as good as another when your looking to score some easy cash. The fact that they got hung out to dry in the one instance I am where of was when they were looking for a 30k donation ( and I used the word donation loosely ) to drop their objection to another class settlement and the lawyer involved on the other side called them out for it as did the Judge over seeing that case as well.

    Much like the Prenda saga, these guys seem to have all sorts schemes to get easy cash, and even though they have been chastised in class actions and in the copyright trolling cases they show no real signs of stopping any of their activities, of course this is my opinion but sure seems like an accurate perception of things.

    Does Hansmeier have any objector to a class action that isn't related to anyone involved with Prenda law? If I recall right this Padraigin Browne is his wife? Wasn't she his so called "client" in the 30k shakedown -er- I mean objector in the other class action settlement, I am sure this was the case.

    Does anyone know by chance how long they have been Objectors in the class action lawsuit game. I have a funnt feeling this is not just the second one, and they may have been doing this for sometime (of course this is just my opinion)

    The gall these guys have to keep on participating in activities that in my opinion are questionable seems to know no bounds, and it seems that the more you peel the onion back the more it stinks.

    If I also recall right wasn't Gibbs involved in that earlier class action with the 30k demand as well? I could swear I read that.

    Why does it seem the usual cast of characters keep popping up in these various cases, as much as they all seem to say, "well I know nothing of this", and "don't know that person" or "have any history with such and such", it always seems to be that no matter where you look they are all entangled together in some capacity.

    I really do have to wonder just how many class action suits they have been Objectors in when they involve large settlements. There must be a way to find out through some filing or through the filed documents to the payees of class action settlements.

    I would suffice to guess in my opinion that this little money making venture has been going on quite a while and that they have been using this objector status to ring up some quick cash to not file an objection.

    Of course this is a little bit speculation and opinion on my part but I wouldn't doubt the class action settlement objector and the copyright troll game have been their only avenues of money generation, I am sure there are more that we aren't aware of just yet.

    I am amazed the way these guys operate, it almost seems like they know every way possible to make a quick opinion of course

  18. Lucy says

    In the interest of disclosure, wouldn't he have to inform the court that his client who was seeking to gain thousands, was also his wife?

    It would seem that he didn't, because the order refers to his client in the wrong gender.

    If he didn't follow rules of disclosure, would this be considered yet another attempt at fraud?

  19. Regular Guy says

    Thinking the requested stay through some more… Was it wise strategically of Hansmeier to start off this appeal by suggesting that the regular rules (file in District Court first) should not apply to him?

  20. Anonymous says

    @Regular Guy

    Give them a break, this is literally the first time they have litigated one of their cases this far, and it wasn't by choice. They're having to learn as they go.

  21. Mike says

    @ Regular Guy

    It was very dumb. Had they gone the proper route, it is likely the 9th circuit would have temporarily stayed the order for a brief time to allow itself to consider the merits of the motion. I've seen this happen before.

    Now they're left with a terrible case of the Mondays.

  22. anne mouse says

    @Lucy: I think the Court was at least a little suspicious. It's not normal to append "failure to comply with this order may result in sanctions" to a court order. After all, there's a reason they're called "orders". Putting "obey or else" in there is like saying, "I EXPECT you to mess this up, and I KNOW that when you do you're going to whine about how we didn't warn you that this would have consequences, so it's actually saving me time if I write down what should be obvious to anybody who ever stood within ten miles of a law school."

    Sadly, though, the court was not really suspicious enough. Asking for "contact info" leaves way too much wiggle room. Wanna bet it's a post office box?

  23. nlp says

    Wasn't there supposed to be a Prenda hearing in San Francisco last week? Was that delayed?

  24. Jim Tyre says

    Give them a break, this is literally the first time they have litigated one of their cases this far, and it wasn't by choice. They're having to learn as they go.

    Not quite. Though not involving sanctions, there's an appeal in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals which is a bit further along. The District Judge ordered early disclosure, that mass joined was proper, and so forth. The ISPs appealed and have filed their opening Brief on appeal. EFF and others have sought leave to file an amicus brief in the case in support of the ISPs. The Plaintiff/appellee is AF Holdings, represented by Duffy.

  25. James says


    I don't think last week's event in San Francisco was scheduled as a hearing. Judge Chen ordered the parties to produce the originally signed ADR certification that was e-filed (lawyers are required to keep the signed original in the case file). Apparently the dog ate it since neither Duffy nor Gibbs could produce the original whereupon Duffy helpfully pointed out that since it was filed using Gibbs' login ID, under local rules it is his responsibility to produce it.

    I imagine we will be hearing more about this one later.

  26. DonaldB says

    It's unlikely that a filing with district court will get a response by the end of the day. So at this point it's paying the sanction rather than posting a bond. It's a minor difference, but it makes it a little less likely that the money will be returned from an appeal.

    I'm assuming that at least Duffy is playing 'chicken' with his share of the $82K sanction. If my guess about paying a "franchise fee" to Steele and Hansmeier is correct, he might not even have the money. So it's a gut-check to see who will come up with $82K to pay the sanction so that an appeal can be filed.

    Not paying the sanctions doesn't just kill the possibility of an appeal, it has long term implications for their law careers. It probably preclude them from being accepted into local bars for future cases, and will compound their current problems with ethics referrals. If they don't pay, it can only mean that they have given up on coming out of this intact.

    Selling the vacation estate in February (the one Cooper was caretaker of, living in the guest house) hints that at least one party has been trying to make themselves judgement-proof.

  27. Regular Guy says

    If they are ordered to pay the $81k, and they don't do so – I expect those attorneys to have to post a LOT more bonds in the future. Saving $81k may cost a lot more in the long run.

    I also wonder if they are going to start suing each other since nobody seems to think that they are the one who should have to pay. That would create a whole set of new problems. Maybe the strategy is just to become judgment proof. Only time will tell.

    IMHO, the key player is Gibbs. They have thrown him under the bus, but he may have a lot of "goods" on these guys. If this is the case, throwing Gibbs under the bus was playing with fire.

  28. Hazard says

    By asking for proof to be provided that he has informed the client of his inability to represent her, I'm guessing the court wants to make sure this isn't another case of "We totally have a client, and she knows everything" a la Salt Marsh.

  29. Anonymous says


    Steele also set up residence in Florida some time ago, although depending on where he needs to avoid showing up in court he sometimes claims residence in Nevada, and probably spends time there with the production side of his vertically-oriented porn production and copyright infringement enforcement business.

    Florida has a homestead exemption, so even though Steele does not seem to be realistic about the consequences of his actions, having a residence there may have been part of his (no doubt brilliant) scheme to make himself judgement and consequence proof.

    Overall I can't wait to learn how harebrained the tax evasion/money laundering/judgement proofing side of the operation was. Given the mess they've made of everything else, I'm sure it will be worthy of an action movie villain.

  30. Anonymous says

    Keep in mind that another shoe may be dropping as early as tomorrow in Hennepin County, MN court where Alan Cooper is seeking default judgment on the order of millions of dollars in his case against John Steele, Prenda Law, AF Holdings, and Ingenuity13 for failure to answer the complaint in time (or at all?). Default hearing appears to be scheduled for 2pm May 21.

  31. Anonymous says

    @Regular Guy

    Oh God… The thought of them suing each other… And all pro se, naturally… When they have also been taking the Fifth to avoid talking about their shenanigans…

    Please let that happen.

  32. Nick says

    I bet we find out soon who has fled the country. I think we will be hearing a lot less from at least Steele and Lutz.

  33. says

    @Anonymous: Steele does not have anything in Las Vagas anymore. He ran from it with everything (office, Lutz etc.) when he considered avoiding the service after March 11.

  34. adam says

    Not exactly on topic for the latest news, but I have been wondering something and thinking someone here maybe would know the answer. Who exactly does Morgan Pietz work for? Best I can tell, the Doe in the Ingenuity 13 case actually knows that he/she is the person being sued even though the court and Prenda and the public only know this person by the "John Doe" pseudonym. But I am puzzled. Prenda obviously has an IP address. And apparently they have figured out the physical address where this IP address originated (because there was the back-and-forth about how it was a gated property, no it actually wasn't, etc.). Is this normally how it goes? It surprises me. And how would the Doe find out he/she is being sued before the ISP has revealed the subscriber info? Do they notify the subscriber, even though they haven't yet been compelled to reveal their identity? And if so, would the unnamed Doe hire counsel? Once again, is this normal?

    Or does the ISP hire counsel to represent their unnamed subscriber(s) being targeted? I am just confused in this kind of situation who Pietz's boss really is.

    I would have thought before any Does are named, the legal battle would primarily be between the copyright holder and the ISP. But in the Ingenuity case, I get the sense that the ISP is almost more of a pawn in the game and the Doe is quite involved (and indeed their physical address is apparently known).

  35. Lucy says

    There is also a solid chance that Steele has very little, if any assets in his name. LLC shell spawners tend to be slippery like that. They would be in his wife's name or lead to false identities.

  36. mcinsand says

    Thanks for the reminder. I have to get some key supplies on the way home this evening, and popcorn is one of them.

  37. Nobody says

    The wife is a patent lawyer? Now I want to look up all of her cases and see if legal shenanigans run in the family or not….

    Hurry up and win at trial, Ken! We need more Prenda coverage!

  38. says

    @adam: the controversy about big/small/gated/ungated house was in another case. To the best of my knowledge, Prenda does not know Doe's identity.

  39. Anonymous says


    Prenda subpoenas the ISPs for the account information associated with the IP addresses they collect. I'm not sure if this is required by law or common courtesy, but the ISPs inform the subscribers of the subpoena and the courts give a time allowance for contesting the subpoena.

    So Prenda knows who John Doe is and John Doe knows what's up, and the obvious answer is John Doe hired Morgan Pietz to defend the case. Prenda was historically shy about naming defendants in their lawsuits because they did not want to litigate them, and I'm sure they realized that making the threat of public humiliation real would provoke a lot more people into fighting back strongly. So generally the game was to drag the case out with a John Doe and try to wear them down with letters, robocalls, etc., threatening to actually follow through with the suit. As courts caught on to their lack of follow-through they did name some defendants as a show of force, but most of the cases went nowhere with the exception of a handful of default judgements.

    At one point Rosing actually suggested the John Doe had not retained Pietz, and that Pietz had just taken up defending a random, unaware John Doe as a way of raising his public profile as a defender of these types of lawsuits. Hopefully she feels extra dirty about that sleazy argument now that her firm is (almost) rid of them.

  40. Mike says

    @ Adam, typically the ISP would notify the subscriber about the subpoena before complying with it, which enables the subscriber to get legal representation and object/fight.

  41. Anonymous says


    I thought part of what got Prenda into trouble here was the order staying discovery that Prenda violated by following up with ISPs.

    Oh, but then the ISPs found out about the order by checking PACER?

    Ugh, so many twists and turns, and indeed Wright brought in their conduct in other, similar CACD cases. So I'm not sure if we should assume Prenda knows who John Doe is or not.

  42. says

    On the second thought I'm not sure either. Yet suggesting that Morgan made up the defendant is disingenuous to say the least: I closely watch Morgan for about a year and he did not give any reason to believe that anything like that is remotely possible.

  43. Vivian Darkbloom says

    I am planning to attend the Cooper v. Steele hearing tomorrow at the Hennepin County District Court. If possible, I'll post an update.

  44. Jim Tyre says


    Following up on what some others have said, a good ISP will either notify the subscriber of the subpoena and give the subscriber an opportunity to move to quash; or, if the numbers are big enough, will fight the battle itself. (In the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals case I mentioned, there are more than a thousand Does, and the ISPs are fighting the battle themselves.)

    In many contexts, the size of the ISP is inversely proportionate to how good it is. Not here. Verizon (whose chief IP lawyer I know) started this many years ago, the others have followed suit (for the most part).

    There has never been a legal requirement for ISPs to do other. Some just recognize that it's the right thing to do.

  45. Jim Tyre says

    There has never been a legal requirement for ISPs to do other. Some just recognize that it's the right thing to do.

    Fuddles, typing while chewing gum. '-)

    other -> either

  46. Nobody says

    BTW, there's a new story about a lobbyist-judge who is approving Prenda subpoenas in DC:

    No, she's *clearly* not biased here. Just because a bunch of other judges noticed things like the whole Alan Cooper problem (and yes, the copyright assignment in this case *IS* signed by one Alan Cooper…).

    Is there any slight hope for a benchslap on appeal calling into question this judge's objectivity? She may be entitled to her opinion, but that doesn't mean she can simply ignore the laws on joinder because she doesn't like them. While its true that the common troll tactic of misjoinder has not been uniformly opposed, when it has actually been put to scrutiny, it has failed quite badly.

    Personally, I'm hoping for a ruling on appeal saying that uncritically allowing discovery by a bunch of lawyers who are under suspicion of fraud upon the court in a case where there are allegations that the copyright assignment itself is bogus is a serious enough lapse of judgment to call her objectivity into question.

    But that's just my opinion. There may very well be reasons for her questionable rulings other than her time as an RIAA lobbyist that simply aren't apparent to us. We'll have to see where this goes from here, now that all this information is on the table.

  47. Myk says

    Slightly off-topic here, but could someone tell me whether income from settlements – such as from cottage industry Class Action Objections™ – would be considered as taxable income by IRS?

  48. whheydt says

    The whole thing about Hansmeier not having anything in his own name reminds me of a story I was told when I was doing contract work on California's first attempt at a statewide child support system…

    Mr. A got divorced from Mrs. B and was ordered to pay child support. Mr. A then married Ms. C and put everything in her name, following which he failed to pay child support and claimed to have to no assets. Ms. C then divorced Mr. A, and since everything was in her name, he really was left with no assets.

    Some of these guys are far to clever for their own good…

    As regards IDs and ISPs… As I understand it, the better run ISPs notify their customers if anyone delivers a subpoena that would make them reveal who that customer is. Thus, it is reasonably likely that "Doe" knows about Prenda's attempt to find out who he is.

  49. Steven H. says

    A quick look at the IRS rules on such seems to say that it's taxable income.
    However, some forms of settlement are considered Capital Gains, and thus are taxed at a different rate.

  50. Anonymous says

    @Steven H.

    I'm sure Paul's new venture follows the Prenda model and they don't track the amount they've recovered.

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


    I'm with Laugher. That looks like a settlement. It would have been fun to see that one go through since Nguyen had a good shot there. I'll bet that the settlement terms will be confidential. Sigh.

  52. James says

    Slightly off-topic here, but could someone tell me whether income from settlements – such as from cottage industry Class Action Objections™ – would be considered as taxable income by IRS?

    It depends. All tax matters are highly fact specific so it is hard to answer your question as posed.

    Legal damages can be purely compensatory to put you back in the position you were before injury by the defendant. It is like when you crash your car and State Farm pays to restore the damage; they just put you back where you were so there is no income created by the insurance payout. As such, there is generally no income attributed to such payments and the payment in many cases is non-deductible for the losing party so it is all a wash for the government. Punitive damages are different since they are over and above your actual loss and can be taxable, again depending on the circumstances.

    Money earned by lawyers from all such activities are income from the conduct of a trade or business and are fully taxable.

  53. Jim Tyre says

    Separately, Duffy, Prenda Law, AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 now have filed Notices of Appeal (and have paid the filing fees) in the District Court.

    At a glance, Duffy's is proper in form. But Prenda's was filed by Duffy as the attorney, even though Rosing is still Prenda's attorney. And AF and Ingenuity 13 each filed in their own names, without an attorney, Lutz signing the Court docs. But a corporation (or, here, an LLC) cannot represent itself, it needs an attorney.

    The lessons in how to be a good lawyer continue.

  54. Jim Tyre says

    And Steele just filed, so, leaving aside the irregularities in my last comment, that's everyone.

  55. whheydt says

    Is it possible that the Gang that Couldn't Prenda Straight is hoping that, by actually having filed appeals, they will not get dinged for failing to pay their sanction money on time?

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

    I for one am glad they didn't pay the sanctions. It's going to be a lot more entertaining this way.

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

    Rosing representing Prenda Law. A classic case of when bad clients happen to good lawyers. Kind of like when you go on a trip to some lovely tropical clime, have a wonderful time, and then get Malaria.

  58. Nicholas Weaver says

    The most interesting thing is there is an AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 notice of appeal, signed by Lutz, but no lawyer mentioned on these, except Gibbs in the "Who represents what party" document…

  59. Nicholas Weaver says

    My favorite line so far

    The basis for this application is that enforcement of the Order Issuing Sanctions could both materially harm Prena Law's reputation and financial concerns and cause undue scrutiny of, and potential injury to, the court's application of its inherent authority.

    Translation: "Judge Wright, we're appealing for your benefit, not ours".

    Chutzpuh, thy name is Prenda

  60. Nicholas Weaver says

    And Rosing's continuing to hit the "criminal" drumbeat when none of the sanctions are criminal in nature (just referral to others and a civil fine) is getting repetitive. Good luck with that…

  61. says

    And Rosing's continuing to hit the "criminal" drumbeat when none of the sanctions are criminal in nature (just referral to others and a civil fine) is getting repetitive. Good luck with that…

    As one Arstechnica's commenter wisely noted regarding Paul Hansmeier's appeal:

    So, he's appealing on the grounds that he should have been treated as a criminal?"

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

    I notice that Rosing is very careful to repeat over and over again that:

    "…Klinedinst had a limited scope of representation agreement with Prenda Law. That agreement obligated Klinedinst to defend Prenda Law solely through the Order to Show Cause proceedings that are the subject of the intended appeal…"

    I'm sure they wanted to avoid this situation when the poop hit the fan. What I'm thinking about starts at 1:20 into the clip. Let the clip run from the beginning for full effect.

  63. Nobody says

    > So, he's appealing on the grounds that he should have been treated as a criminal?

    It's sad when that comment makes more sense than anything Prenda has actually said. Undue scrutiny, ha! Who cares if our copyright registrations are bogus? Just give us everyone's identity so we can send out our demand letters, dammit! We have to, umm, investigate by asking your neighbors who actually downloaded that weasel porn. Well, unless you just prefer to pay up quietly….

  64. Vivian Darkbloom says

    Aren't notices of appeal jurisdictional? If corporate entities signed on behalf of themselves, aren't the notices defective? Without a proper, timely filing will the appeals be dismissed or will they get a chance to revise?

  65. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Vivian Darkbloom – If you make it to the case and Duffy, Steele, etc. show up… would you give them all my love? :D Shouldn't take long and the looks on the faces might be worth it…

    @Nobody – The doubt she needs a benchslap fades when you read her diatribe at the bench saying that ISPs and consumers HAVE to do more to protect copyright holders… except thats not in the law… just what she wants it to say.
    The way she can magically ignore the issue of jurisdiction over Does by denying them the ability to file motions… because they aren't named they aren't a party to the case wherein their personal details are going to be released unless they file a motion with the court that the court won't bother to entertain because your not named.

  66. Paris S says

    One problem with trying to become judgment-proof while under criminal IRS investigation is that when you have assets in somebody else's name, the IRS is going to consider that a service they're providing you and unless you're paying them for it, now there are a bunch of gifts you didn't declare. Even if the gift is from an LLC.

  67. Jim Tyre says

    Aren't notices of appeal jurisdictional? If corporate entities signed on behalf of themselves, aren't the notices defective? Without a proper, timely filing will the appeals be dismissed or will they get a chance to revise?

    Really good question, Vivian, and the answer may be surprising.

    As a preliminary matter, today is not the last day for a notice of appeal to be timely, the last day is 30 days from when Judge Wright made the sanctions order, on May 6,

    But even if today was the last day, the answer seems to come from a Ninth Circuit case, In re Bigelow. Because it's so short, I'll quote it here in full. (Google Scholar link is

    179 F.3d 1164 (1999)
    In re Ruthnan BIGELOW, Debtor. Ruthnan Bigelow, Appellant,
    Ronald Brady, A & A Realty Limited, a Nevada corporation, Appellees.

    No. 97-17129.
    United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

    Argued and Submitted April 14, 1999.
    Decided June 8, 1999.
    1165*1165 Thomas A. Ryan, Segal & McMahan, Las Vegas, Nevada, for the debtor-appellant.

    Michael J. Smith, Las Vegas, Nevada, for the appellees.

    Before: Schroeder, Reinhardt and Silverman, Circuit Judges.

    SILVERMAN, Circuit Judge:

    Debtor Ruthnan Bigelow appeals the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel's reversal and remand of the bankruptcy court's grant of summary judgment against Ronald Brady and A & A Realty, a corporation, in an adversary proceeding related to her Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(d). We review the BAP's conclusions of law de novo and findings of fact for clear error. In re Weisberg, 136 F.3d 655, 657 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 119 S.Ct. 72, 142 L.Ed.2d 56 (1998). We affirm.

    Because only one issue presented requires an answer that is worthy of publication, we consider that issue in this opinion and the remaining issues in a memorandum disposition filed concurrently herewith. That issue is whether a corporation's notice of appeal, signed and filed by a corporate officer, is invalid because it was not signed and filed by counsel. We conclude that it is not invalid.

    Bigelow argues that the BAP erred in holding that it had jurisdiction to consider A & A's appeal even though Brady, a non-attorney and 60% owner of the corporation, signed and filed the notice of appeal to the BAP on behalf of A & A. Following the filing of the notice of appeal, A & A was represented by counsel in proceedings before the BAP and on this appeal.

    The law is clear that a corporation can be represented only by a licensed attorney. United States v. High Country Broad. Co., 3 F.3d 1244, 1245 (9th Cir. 1993). However, nothing in Bankruptcy Rule 8001 or the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure requires dismissal of an appeal when a corporate officer signs the notice of appeal for the corporation. A notice of appeal is just that—a notice. It is not a motion or a pleading. See Rule 7, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We fail to see any compelling reason to refuse to recognize a corporation's notice of appeal, signed and filed by a corporate officer, so long as a lawyer promptly thereafter enters a formal appearance on behalf of the corporation and undertakes the representation. K.M.A., Inc., v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 652 F.2d 398, 399 (5th Cir. Unit B 1981). In this case, counsel for A & A entered his appearance of record prior to the time any briefs, motions or responses were due. He, not Brady, filed the brief, responded to the motions and argued the case. Under the circumstances, we hold that the notice of appeal 1166*1166 was not invalid and that the BAP did not err in concluding that it had jurisdiction over A & A's appeal.


  68. says

    Stupid Non-Lawyer question (and I did search but got more confused)…So there's a bunch of people that are anti-Professional Objectors, but the professional objectors make the case they serve as a very needed check/balance on CA Abuses. If you were a non-professional objector but got notice and thought the fees were excessive, how do you become an objector (non-pro)? Just go hire an atty to file an objection? That has to cost lots o' money and involve a lawyer with a pretty precise skillset.

  69. Palimpsest says

    So is there a marital equivalent of piercing the corporate veil? If you shelter your assets in your spouse's name to avoid forfeiting them, is there a way to snag them other than the IRS comment above?

  70. kyzer says

    @He really said that…?!? – Dude, that youtube vid was hilarious!

    @Jim Tyre – Thanks for the post. I actually understood the majority of it. Following the whole Prenda saga over the last 3 or 4 months has vastly improved my understanding of the legal system, or at least a portion of it.

    So. Does the filing of an appeal negate the monetary sanctions these guys are supposed to pay? I'm guessing not, and a check of the time on the west coast shows they have about 4 hours to go until midnight…

  71. Jim Tyre says

    Kyzer, it was my pleasure, seriously. I've been a practicing lawyer for more than 34 years, I do a fair bit of appellate work. But the question which Vivian posed was a new one for me, so I did a bit of legal research out of curiosity. And the answer provided by the Bigelow case surprised me.

    The mere filing of a notice of appeal does not negate the monetary sanctions. They would have to post an appeal bond, or, as Morgan Pietz called it in his filing, a supercedias bond. No one did.

  72. Doctor Railgun says

    SJD: "Fredric L. Rice: Mrs. Browne is the mother of his toddler. She knows. (Also: she is a lawyer too.)"

    Does she, though? Surely she knows that this will hurt her career too. Her firm might drop her like a hot potato if they saw how deep this all went. Could her name have been used for suits like Cooper's was? It'd be interesting to find out.

  73. whheydt says

    Could someone seek to depose Lutz on matters pertaining to the LLCs on the grounds that he signed the notice as a corporate officer for them? Might not a judge be less than amused if such a "corporate officer" turned out to claim to know nothing about the actual operation of said corporation, nor to be able to name any other corporate officers?

  74. SharonA says

    If they've been doing taxes as Married-Filing-Jointly, then IN GENERAL, it's joint and severally liable, putting her assets on the hook for anything her spouse has done. There are a couple of narrow categories where a spouse can apply to get out of the liability, but the decision on whether to approve that lies with the IRS.

    Also IN GENERAL, the settlement funds in these cases would normally be some form of taxable income to the copyright holder. It's payment for the use of the copyrighted material.

    Tax classes were fun. Dealing with tax reminded me of gaming: you step out of the current world and into a very similar world, but with its own set of rules on how things work. There are some overall default assumptions and a bazillion exceptions some of which stack, some of which negate, and sometimes things way out there in right field that just plain Don't Make Sense At All.

    … and there was always a question or three on the exams about tax returns for criminal activity, and Jimbo the drug dealer would make an appearance since some things deductible by regular criminal activity wouldn't be for drug dealing … Congress has met since my last tax class, so everything I've learned is now out of date.

    Now for a question from this non-lawyer: Assuming for the sake of discussion that the client is the spouse, why can an attorney represent their own spouse but not their own firm?

  75. MarkH says

    And surely Lutz then knows who the CEO is? Or is he acting without the consent of CEO Alan Cooper (or whoever is CEO)? Surely he is getting his orders to file an appeal from somewhere, or has the authority to do so himself.

  76. Anonymous says

    I figured Rosing would have dropped the "effectively criminal proceedings" stuff by now, after her bluff was called by giving Prenda a set of criminal investigations to worry about.

    I guess some of this is procedural after the Ninth Circuit refused to hear the appeal until they try the district court, but presumably if Wright didn't want them to pay a sanction, and pay it today, he would have just not sanctioned them. This seems like an awful waste of time.

    At this point, with a bit less than three hours to go, failing to either pay or post a bond is not going to be endearing. They have shown contempt for the legal system at every opportunity, this may be one of their last chances to demonstrate something vaguely approximating good faith. If they fail at this too, woe be unto them.

  77. Nicholas Weaver says

    Oh, wait, a brilliant description from Rosing:

    The court has dropped an anvil on Prenda Law's interests across the country.

  78. Bystander says

    Though Rosing continues with:

    There is no prejudice in slowing down the inevitable if the bases for the court's May 6, 2013, Order Issuing Sanctions can withstand the Ninth Circuit's scrutiny. However, if it cannot, then this court has initiated a great injustice on Prenda Law.

    So no need to be concerned about the people who are still being harassed left and right by Prenda, followed by a classic "if it's true that the President eats babies every night, if it's true, then he's a monster who doesn't deserve to be in office" argument.

  79. Anonymous says

    I love how Rosing doesn't seem to consider that if Prenda is indeed guilty of misconduct, every defendant in every one of their cases will be prejudiced by allowing them to continue to exist and perpetrate their frauds. Sorry babe, but using the court system to commit thousands of crimes nationwide is a real EMERGENCY (not a bullshit Prenda OMFG we can't break the law anymore!!!! "emergency"). And what about flight risk? Money laundering?

    What the hell does she think they will be doing with any time they buy with a stay?

    If she gave a shit about her profession's reputation, justice, or due process the California Bar would have been on these guys years before Wright had to refer them. The fact that she is a member of the organization that sat back and gave tacit support to Gibbs and Duffy (two licensed CA attorneys) says it all.

    Two years of Gibbs lying, filing copyright infringement lawsuits asking for statutory damages for works that weren't registered, improper joinder of defendants, misrepresenting lawsuits as pending after they had been dismissed, naming defendants after those pathetic excuses for "investigations." Where was the CA Bar then?

    Seriously, Fuck Her.

    BTW if she is a member of the CA State Bar Board of Trustees at what point does it become a conflict of interest when her client is under investigation?

  80. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Nicholas Weaver – It helps if you picture some bloggers as the Warner kids and Pretenda as a giant orange dinosaur…

    Or a musical interlude…

    Or maybe…

    Or maybe you might enjoy this one…

    And yes its a bunch of cartoons… how else would you illustrate this case?

  81. Katherine says

    Rosing filed an appeal on behalf of Prenda today. I hope she's getting paid triple her normal fee — and donating the proceeds to charity.

    Rosing's appeal

  82. Katherine says

    @Anonymous: Rosing is doing her job. Nothing more, nothing less. She's not happy about having to represent these scumbags. In fact she tried to ditch them days ago but Judge Wright told her that she had to stay on the case because corporations cannot represent themselves pro-se in court.

  83. David says

    @Nicholas Weaver:

    "Are you sure he hasn't changed law firm names again? He seems to change them more often than some people change their underwear."

    Well, that's the "wear them out until the stains won't come off again" strategy of dealing with dirty laundry.

  84. Lucy says

    Paul was the go to guy for deposition, not Mark. Mark is the go to guy for court, not Paul. (For AF Holdings.) Is there any good explanation for this?

  85. MarkH says

    Lucy said:
    Paul was the go to guy for deposition, not Mark. Mark is the go to guy for court, not Paul. (For AF Holdings.) Is there any good explanation for this?

    Thanks for putting it into simple words which seemed to escape me! This is what I was thrashing toward but didn't quite get to. :p

  86. Another anonymous NAL says

    Say what you will about Rosing, but she was the sharpest crayon in the Prenda box during her short time there. In Judge Wright's courtroom, the best the Prendateers could manage–with adult supervision, mind you–was that catastrophic 5th Amendment invocation. Afterwards Hansmeier and Steele let her do the legwork with her brief, and then used her arguments for their own. Duffy, left to his own devices, proceeded to withdraw cases and send out new demand letters (left hand, meet right hand).

    What the OSC proceedings would have looked like if Team Prenda had relied only on themselves and whoever responded from Craig's List….well, "Yikes" is the first word that comes to my mind.

  87. James says

    A few thoughts on all of this:

    @Paris There is no such thing as an "undeclared gift" for the recipient. The gift tax is imposed on the giver.

    @whheydt You raise an interesting point. Corporate officers don't just sign things; they have to be granted permission by the board of directors to act on behalf of the company. For most important contracts the attorney on the other side asks to see 1) a certification from the Secretary of State or comparable foreign entity that the company legally exists and 2) a certified copy of the board resolution granting the officer authorization to undertake the contract. Query: What would happen if Morgan Pietz objected to every document signed by Lutz, Cooper, and Salt Marsh claiming there is no evidence on the record that they are authorized to do so or that the legal entity even exists.

    Finally, on the parties that seem to have hidden assets, at what point do such transfer constitute a fraudulent conveyance design to frustrate the administration of justice. If John Steele did, in fact, make $15 million and the money did go off-shore and disappear into the Bermuda Triangle near Nevis (yeah, I know my geography is off) there will be a paper trail. Paper trails are bad things if you are a naughty boy.

  88. MarkH says

    Plus, apparently neither knows the other exists. But both seem sure that Alan Cooper exists.

  89. mcinsand says

    Is there any way to estimate when to expect Judge Wright's response time? How broad are the possible responses? To me, the judge seems bound to issue further sanctions for flouting the initial sanction; but how far can he go and how far would he be likely to go?

  90. mcinsand says

    Could the AF vs Prenda suit just be part of an effort to make AF look like a separate entity?

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

    "Could the AF vs Prenda suit just be part of an effort to make AF look like a separate entity?"

    You can sue yourself for malpractice?

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

    I can see that if you have Multiple Personality Disorder. :)

  93. Saribro says

    You can sue yourself for malpractice?

    Brilliant idea, you win either way! What could possibly go wrong? :)

  94. WDS says

    The comment thread here is a better source for "Hot News" about Prenda than most sites covering the saga.

  95. Jim Tyre says

    You can sue yourself for malpractice?

    Brilliant idea, you win either way! What could possibly go wrong?

    Are we certain that no one relevant is named Lodi?

    In the circumstances, this result cannot be unfair to Mr. Lodi. Although it is true that, as plaintiff and appellant, he loses, it is equally true that, as defendant and respondent, he wins! It is hard to imagine a more even handed application of justice. Truly, it would appear that Oreste Lodi is that rare litigant who is assured of both victory and defeat regardless of which side triumphs.

    Lodi v. Lodi, 173 Cal.App.3d 628 (1985),5

  96. Nobody says

    > You can sue yourself for malpractice?

    It's their only hope of winning a case? :)

  97. James says

    @Jim Tyre Reading the opinion you linked in Lodi vs Lodi just gave me an incredible headache. I don't know whether to be mad at you or at Mr. Lodi.

  98. mcinsand says

    Maybe you can't sue yourself, but I would think that the state bars that gave the Prenda crews licenses to pracitice should, in theory, be held accountable. After all, letting any of these jokers practice law is kind of like giving a kid a book on juggling and a box of nitroglycerine bottles.

  99. Marzipan says

    It occurs to me that one Star Trek reference that didn't make it into Wright's order was one to the Pakleds. At this point, I think this video aptly summarizes the legal careers of the various Prendarasts and their various appeals:

  100. Lucy says

    Thank you Vivian Darkbloom for clearing that up. I apologize for almost starting a false rumor.

  101. says

    Mrs. Browne is the mother of his toddler. She knows.

    :) I screamed laughter. Well, maybe the guy can stay at home and take care of the kid after getting disbarred while his wife does lawyer work for the family.

    I always wonder: Don't any of these Prenda Law lawyers do any Google searching to see what it is they are getting themselves in for when they decide to take a case?

    In my opinion, lawyers are overwhelmingly unethical as a general rule though there are exceptions, but no amount of promised money would compell myself, anyway, to take on cases where the claimant is so obviously… how can I put this politely… Well I can't so I won't bother.

    Or perhaps the total amount of filth committed by Prenda Law is not quite as obvious to lawyers as it seems to be to everyone else, perhaps?

    My opinions only, as always.

  102. says

    Selling the vacation estate in February (the one Cooper was caretaker of, living in the guest house) hints that at least one party has been trying to make themselves judgement-proof.

    Well, selling off real holdings is always a good way to avoid said holdings from being seized to be auctioned off to pay the victims. The notorious Scientology corporation has done that in the past, the famous "Not One Thin Dim for Willersheim" fiasco which took over a decade to finally squeeze money out of the Scientology criminal enterprise.

    My opinions, of course.

  103. InterestedBystander says

    Some nice quotes appearing on twitter from the Cooper Steele case.
    Judge to Paul H: "I will be reporting this to the Lawyers Board."

    Quotes: "That's fraud! Pure and simple…your appearing in this case is a /travesty./" "That is /not/ appropriate for an attorney."

    "Never EVER send" fraudulent demand letters "EVER again. I'm offended this case is here. Goodbye."

    Judge to Paul H: "I believe you to be in violation of a whole lot of rules."

  104. Steven H. says


    correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the subject of this post and associated comments?

  105. mcinsand says

    Steven H.: Yes, it's the subject, but I didn't know if the ArsTechnica article from yesterday had already appeared.

  106. WDS says


    In you twitter account search hasstag #Prenda. There is some activity at hasstag #Prendalaw as well, but more at #Prenda.

  107. Matthew Cline says


    In fact [Rosing] tried to ditch them days ago but Judge Wright told her that she had to stay on the case

    Whoa! When/where did this happen? I missed it.

  108. says

    @He Really Said that – I can't find the link but when I was a kid, there was a national lampoon piece about a Lawyer who was having trouble finding business and was so desperate that he went to med school, got an MD then sued himself for malpractice. If all else fails, maybe prenda can generate some money being the real life nat'l lampoon equivalent.

  109. says

    @Frederic L Rice. At a low point in my life, I was walking by a Scientology office near my job and a really attractive girl struck up a conversation. Fortunately, the owner of the place I was working at just happened to drive by and got really rough with me about it. He said to avoid that place like the plague and proceeded to tell me a few horror stories about peopel that had gotten involved with them. No matter what, every time I hear the word Scientology, it' followed by a horror story – the only good stuff is from current members. I can't even imagine what being involved in litigation for 22 years must be like – or having to admit publicly that you paid 150k for the Xenu crap but there's plenty of smart people that seem to have gotten caught up in it. What an awful group

  110. Steven H. says


    Ahh, misunderstood your question. Must have appeared somewhere, since I actually logged into Ars Tech for the first time in forever yesterday to read that one.

  111. Anonymous says

    Ah, my favorite words from Judge Wright:


    Can't wait to read the excuses and enjoy the additional sanctions. I don't expect them to get it together and post a bond.

  112. Daniel Neely says

    It also appears that Judge Wright is at least partially letting Gibbs off the hook:

    "Finally, as a housekeeping matter, the Court requests Brett Gibbs to file requests for withdrawal of attorney in this and the related cases. Brett Gibbs appears to have withdrawn from these cases. (OSC Hr’g Tr. 87:1–8, Mar. 11, 2013 (“I am no longer employed by Prenda or any other corporation or LLC that is involved in these cases.”).) Given the circumstances and the relationship between Gibbs and his clients,
    the Court will approve his requests for withdrawal. "

    It's not clear to me if he's just being allowed to stop having to explain the idiocy every time Prenda does something else insane, or if he's also being let off the hook over the $81k and counting penalty.

  113. Amused Onlooker says

    In my opinion, this is illustrative of the lack of legal prowess of this group. When their abusive operation was flowing unchecked, everything was fine. Once they were actually challenged, they have suffered tremendous setbacks – to put it mildly.

    So now Hansmeier has played yet another game of an 11th hour filing – when I can see absolutely no need to have done so. He did not follow the rules, and suggested that he should not have to. And all for nothing. Actually, they are WORSE off because of his shenanigans. They now have a show cause order and a cumulative $7,000 per day sanction.

    So he's worse off and he looks rather incompetent and entitled in front of the appellate court. Lovely start, Paul. Keep up the good work.

    And by the way… what surety is going to touch this bond?

  114. says


    I think it's just housekeeping, as the judge noted in the order. He still explicitly named Gibbs in the "$1k per entity til you bastards pay up" paragraph, so I don't think he's really letting him off. Just wants him gone as counsel for this one.

  115. James says

    Why didn't he just do a one line order: "Mr. Sulu, set phasers to kill."

    Now I am sure some of them will refile with the 9th Circuit, but some of them don't have a lawyer to represent them. That should be interesting as Prenda and the lawyers appeal but AF and Ingenuity accrue at the rate of $1K a day. At the pace these things happen, the sanctions for delay could easily outrun the $82K they started with and the two unrepresented legal entities can't get a stay from the CoA unless they first find an attorney to represent them. And, because this is all joint and several liability what happens to the personal liability of each lawyer if AF and Ingenuity are not in court? I would think the meter would run.

  116. Anonymous says

    Love Wright putting the screws on with the $7K per day upgrade.

    Joint and several liability, punks.

    I'll bet the guys without control over the money are starting to get really pissed off at the guys with control over the money.

    Since they are putting on a show of having no money and haven't even posted a bond, where are they going to come up with money to pay attorneys? Obviously the Big Leaguers themselves have decided to solo it, but the corporations need lawyers and however they were paying Klinedinst they were not able to sweeten the deal enough to keep them around.

    Looking forward to seeing just how much worse this gets for Prenda.

  117. Sami says

    Seven thousand a day is going to stack up fast. Go Judge Wright, and go the Ninth Circuit, disallowing these shenanigans.

    They're cockroaches. Sometimes you have to stamp on them a few times before they stop trying to squirm away.

  118. whyamihere says

    tags messed it up.. i meant to say:
    Loved it…
    Popehat on tweet:
    "Paul Hansmeier joins a #Prenda motion for a stay after Judge Wright has already denied it. HOW DO I LAW?"

  119. hamjudo says

    The honorable Judge is resolving an uncertainty. Either Gibbs is acting as attorney for Prenda and/or other parties, or he isn't. The Judge is not going to let them leave it ambiguous until they can use the uncertainty as an excuse for not doing something in a timely way.

    I am not a lawyer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that Gibbs would officially remain the lawyer for Prenda in these cases until such time as the Court approves his request for withdrawal (or something much worse for Gibbs, such as removing him for cause, Gibbs losing his license, getting incarcerated, death, etc…). With no request, the Court can not approve it.

    The Court wants to make it such that the other Prenda principals can not hide behind Gibbs.

  120. kyzer says

    Man, it's hard to understand why these guys would want all this additional scrutiny. Why not just pay the fine, and tack it up to lesson learned or cost of doing business? I'm no lawyer but from everything I've been reading their chances of winning an appeal are pretty slim, unless they are just planning on tying things up in court for a couple more years while they milk the demand letters for everything it's worth. I'll bet there have been a couple of conference calls today with all the Prenda boys.

    BTW, any news on Paul Duffy's request to appear by phone in AF Holdings LLC v. David Trinh on the 24th?

  121. Anonymous says


    Well they have shown themselves to be ridiculously arrogant and self-assured in the past.

    Where this gets nasty is Wright saw through the poorly-constructed sham plaintiff nonsense and now they are liable for these sanctions personally, so just shutting down all the shells or BKing them and pretending they were offshore real independent companies isn't going to cut it.

    It appears they had a lot invested in convincing themselves they were untouchable and are only very slowly coming around to concepts like consequences, personal liability, personal responsibility, etc.

  122. says

    At the risk of being low-brow, does anyone else think that Prenda may have been consulted on the Jodi Arias allocution?

  123. mcinsand says

    @hamjudo, I am also not a lawyer, but Judge Wright's behavior would have me terrified, if I was in the Prenda group's position. He may have had some fun with the Star Trek references, but he has been very deliberate. He could have reached much farther than he did when delivering a smackdown, but there was a lot of careful weighing; punishments and letters carefully fit the evidence that he had and Prenda's behavior.

    Someone foaming at the mouth and screaming for my tender parts on a platter wouldn't scare me nearly as much as someone that is really ticked off, but reasoned, and taking pains to think things through.

  124. Palimpsest says

    So is the per day surcharge due at the end of the day?
    Can Wright put them in jail for Contempt if they fail to start daily payment?

  125. Elizabeth says

    I like the sarcastic italics in the last sentence of Judge Wright's order:

    "the relationship between Gibbs and his clients"

  126. Mike says

    @ Palimpsest the penalties are due whenever the payment is made. Jail is possible (although unlikely) depending on their response to the OSC and how long they take to pay up.

  127. LW says

    I'm sorry if this has been explained before, but a point that I don't understand is, how does Prenda Law get the bit torrent logs that they are working from? It doesn't seem like there would be a central repository where all logs are recorded, so how do they get them without being in cahoots with whoever put the porn out there in the first place?

  128. Fred says

    @LW – All a person needs to do is use a Bittorrent client like utorrent, It will show the IP addresses of all connections using that torrent file. Get uTorrent and download Ubuntu Linux (absolutely free and legal). Look at connected peers at the bottom.

    In theory, they could seed their own porn movie – and just log everything that connects to it.

    Of course, the biggest issue is what PERSON is on the other side of the connected IP address. Having an IP address in the logs does not necessarily identify the person doing it.

  129. Another anonymous NAL says

    By my math, Wright's penalty effectively doubles the original award after less than two weeks of non-payment. And remember, this is while the IRS CID goblins are tracking down where all the Prendateer money actually is…why is the "Bad Boys" theme song running in my head just now?

  130. Myk says


    The available evidence would suggest they have moved a fair way beyond "in theory".

  131. whheydt says

    Re: Another…

    That depends on whether the $7K/day accrues for each calendar day, or if it accrues for each business day. Perhaps one of the resident lawyers can clarify that point.

  132. Krono says

    I wonder how Rosing feels about Judge Wright allowing Gibbs to withdraw from the case when he wouldn't allow her to withdraw from the case.

  133. Jim Tyre says

    Gibbs just filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals motions to withdraw as appellate counsel in the appeals by Ingenuity 13 and by AF Holdings. He points out, correctly, that he didn't file the notices of appeal in the district court, Lutz did. Says he never agreed to be appellate counsel (probably true) even though Lutz suggested he was. Quotes the portion of Judge Wright's Order today about him being relieved as counsel in the District Court.

  134. Grav says

    > In theory, they could seed their own porn movie – and just log everything that connects to it.

    There are people who suspect they did exactly that, given that investigators could not find legit copies of Prenda's porn anywhere and they found the same guy seeding them all.

    Wonder if Gibbs will be the one to sell them out to the IRS & co.? We're going to need a lot of popcorn for this.

  135. AlphaCentauri says

    Gibbs can't be effective counsel if he's at risk of facing sanctions or criminal consequences for his own role in the affair. Rosing hasn't done anything that would require her to take the fifth.

  136. mcinsand says

    @Krono, letting Gibbs drop out may have been part of Wright choosing to make his rulings more resistant to appeal despite the potential fun of watching Gibbs further discredit himself (if that's even possible, at this point). Gibbs has shown himself to be a discredit to his role as an officer of the court, to any sort of a person with ethics, and to the concept of sentience. Letting Gibbs continue to practice as an attorney in any of Wright's cases would, I would think, constitute judicial negligence at this point. Besides, he might be too busy wearing the defendent hat to wear an attorney hat.

  137. Krono says


    You miss my point. I'm basically wondering if Rosing is angry or jealous that Gibbs gets to leave as attorney, while she is forced to stay when she wants to wash her hands of this.

  138. James says

    I'm basically wondering if Rosing is angry or jealous that Gibbs gets to leave as attorney, while she is forced to stay when she wants to wash her hands of this.

    I am not sure "angry" is the right term, perhaps "envious" would be closer to the mark. She seems to be a competent attorney and she voluntarily got involved with Prenda via the OSC hearing and must have known the risk she was taking. What she might not have realized is just how out-of-control her client(s) would be, but that is the risk any attorney takes on when they engage with a new client. Besides, Judge Wright offered to let her off the case the instant a new attorney agrees to represent Prenda, but there seems to be few takers on that proposition.

  139. orvis barfley says

    poor heather waited way too late.  weeks ago i expected her to bail, but she must have liked the smell of the check she was hoping to cash.  i bet she loses her ass on this.

    also bet she sniffs the wind a bit harder from now on before taking on a client.  she'll look back on this with an edge but nothing like how gibbs is going to look back on this.

  140. orvis barfley says

    speaking of gibbs, i wonder if he's any good at yard work.  wonder if alan cooper might give him a job.

  141. mcinsand says


    >>You miss my point.

    Although I do that a lot, what you wrote seemed to me to relate well to some thoughts I had last night. I don't think Judge Wright had a choice with regard to approving Gibbs' exit, since letting him stay might undercut any rulings Judge Wright might make.

  142. Regular Guy says

    A question…
    The court has not released Rosing. If Rosing's contract (or agreement) with her client is that her services are limited, does she ethically have to do anything more than the absolute minimum that is required of the court?

    In other words, can she say to her client: Unless you make proper arrangements, I will not file a brief, and will not present oral argument. I will show up, but that is all.

  143. Regular Guy says

    I wonder if there is a game of chicken going on. They are jointly responsible for the $81k judgment, but are EACH responsible for the $1,000 per day penalty.

    This could be a case of who flinches first. Until and unless the entire $81k is paid, they are each on the hook for an extra $1,000 per day. Theoretically, if someone ELSE pays the entire judgment before 81 days, it is cheaper to ride the penalty. Of course this invites a lawsuit amongst the persons ordered to pay the judgment – which could be a losing proposition.

    Lucky for Gibbs he can likely use wedding gifts to help pay his share…

    Another interesting thought is what will happen if AF Holdings (or another corporation on the hook) does NOT pay the penalty. On the one hand, the corporation may be judgment proof. On the other hand, these corporations would likely never be able to sue in their name again. And if the same players create another shell corporation, they would have some obvious problems.

    Essentially… I am wondering if AF Holdings fails to pay the judgment, would this be seen as an admission that the whole thing was a scam to begin with – since it will be an acknowledgment that the emperor (AF Holdings) never had clothes?

  144. Sami says

    @Regular Guy: As I understand it, they're jointly and severally responsible for the inital judgement and for the $7k/day, in the same way.

    It is true that they could be playing some kind of chicken, seeing who breaks first and just pays up rather than let the debt mount.

  145. kps says

    Why not just pay the fine, and tack it up to lesson learned or cost of doing business?

    Perhaps they don't have $81K onshore, and don't dare move it…

    while the IRS CID goblins are tracking down where all the Prendateer money actually is…

  146. James says

    @ Susan No, not quite. The classic prisoner's dilemma is based on the presumption that both prisoners know they are going to jail but they play the games to reduce their sentence (possibly to zero depending on the version of the game). With Prenda some parties may truly believe that they can escape all unpleasant consequences as a matter of law and will refuse to play.

    If Steele really believes the court lacks jurisdiction, that most of his ill-gotten gains are safely tucked away off-shore, that his Florida home is judgment-proofed, and that his law license is not at issue since he has quit practicing then he might not have any incentive to play the game since it only creates down-side and provides no up-side to him personally. He may be wrong of course, but what he believes to be true is what drives his behavior rather than what is actually true.

    I am not familiar with a game called "the egotistical prisoner's dilemma", but maybe you should write one.

  147. Ygolonac says

    There needs to be a ticker-board posted somewhere, where the amounts and actors can be posted. Lemme think here…

    (Original judgement) (daily bonus sanction) (grand total)

    (name) (paid amount if known) (disbarred/state) (indicted/where) (BONUS INCARCERATION STATUS) (DOUBLE BONUS VESCO STATUS)

    Maybe with blinking chase lights and flipping analog numbers like an old-school casino jackpot display.

  148. James says

    Something I caught the most recent time through Judge Wright's order, but haven't seen mentioned: where is the list of bar associations and jurisdictions wherein the Penderasts are practicing/have cases pending?

    Pietz was supposed to file that list Monday, too, IIRC (14 days after the order).

    Might be an interesting look at the scope of the scheme.

  149. Dan Weber says

    Hm. Usually "jointly and severally" encourages all parties to work together, since any can be held responsible for the misdeeds of the other.

    But once they are already in the pot, it encourages everyone to be as hard as possible to collect from, encouraging the state to go after the juiciest target.

    I wonder if that was an error on Wright's part. I thought it was a smart move, myself.

  150. Jim Tyre says

    Ars has a detailed first person account today from one of the folks who attended yesterday's hearing in MN in the Cooper v. Steele ID theft case. Worth a read.

    First Hand Account Of Judicial Smackdown Of Prenda In Minnesota
    from the a-bit-of-confusion dept
    Yesterday we had a story about how a judge in Minnesota, Judge Ann Alton, angrily accused Paul Hansmeier of fraud in the lawsuit filed by Alan Cooper against Prenda. There was some confusion by the judge about whether Cooper and Godfread were in on the fraud too, which seems to have made the judge less open to possible damages against Prenda. Either way, without a court reporter, Matthew Sparby, who was in attendance, wrote up the following first-hand account of what happened in the court room. It's definitely disappointing to see that the judge made a few bad assumptions about Cooper/Godfread, but good to see that she knew that Prenda has been up to no good.</blockquote


  151. Nicholas Weaver says

    Oh, the OSC is also starting to affect Hansmeier's class action shakedown. Footnote #3 in docket 12 in MND case 0:13-cv-00648-DWF-JJG points out press noting that the "plaintiff" is Paul's personal trainer Mr Mooney, and also cites the OSC proceedings (then in progress, pre-Wright's photons fired).

  152. says

    @Regular Guy,

    A lawyer must advocate zealously for the client, even if their motion to withdraw was denied by a court. She still gets to bill for her time, probably at her regular rate.

    I assume she got a retainer payment, but if it is exhausted at this point, she might be concerned about getting paid (in addition to her burning desire to extricate herself from her client's nonsense).

  153. Trebuchet says

    I've just had the most wonderful scenario occur to me:
    1. The Prendanistas do, in fact, post the bond.
    2. All rulings go against them, the bond goes to Pietz.
    3. Prendanistas default on the bond.
    4. Steele, Hansmeier, Duffy, et al make a very special guest appearance on "Dog the Bounty Hunter".

    I suspect that 1-3 are not at all unlikely. If they can get someone to give them the bond in the first place.

  154. Steve says

    Steele is listed as attorney for plaintiff on several of the cases in Pietz's exhibit that SJD linked to above. I thought Steele is claiming that he no longer practices law.

  155. Another anonymous NAL says

    @SJD: That list is illuminating, to say the least. Pietz really did his homework. Of note are the two cases where Padraigin Browne is properly identified as Paul Hansmeier's wife, and another plaintiff (also in a class action objector role) is identified at Hansmeier's father…

  156. Anonymous says


    Wright only asked for the bar associations and judges before whom they currently have cases pending. Even before Wright's OSCs turned sour they had been quietly (and somewhat mysteriously) dismissing many suits brought on behalf of the shells. Mostly individual and single John Doe suits that I suspect they simply did not have the resources to litigate and that turned out less profitable than they hoped (despite Steele trolling the blogs with claims he was making more money suing Does one at a time–yeah right!). After the first OSC was a disaster they dismissed a ton of cases in a panic and filed notices of allegations in the few cases they decided to keep open, either for reasons we can only guess at or because the defendant had filed a counterclaim.

    So by the time Pietz got around to making his list it is actually a very abbreviated version of the true scope of the scam.

    If you want to get a better idea, go to

    And search for party names AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13 and MCGIP. Unfortunately their search thingy is dynamic and I can't link directly to the search results.

    Even that is just a taste, because before that they had real plaintiffs, so if you search for Hard Drive Productions, Boy Racer, Millenium TGA, Quad International, Lightspeed Media Corporation, Sunlust Pictures, you'll find a lot more cases. That's still not everybody but it's a pretty good sample.

    There is also this document, which is a year old, but our buddy Brett Gibbs filed it when judge Lucy Koh (of Apple v. Samsung fame) cornered Prenda into producing a list of all the mass-Doe cases they had filed without ever naming and serving a defendant.

  157. says

    Pietz is a giant, no doubt about it, but even he couldn't achieve this spectacular result without an invisible army of evidence-collecting bees :) Bees are happy and humbled.

  158. Anonymous says

    Just read the TechDirt article on the MN hearing and was amazed to read that Hansmeier stated it was "categorically false" that he had admitted Prenda keeps the settlement money.

    After that deposition. Where he admitted all the money goes into Prenda's trust account.

    These guys really don't know when to stop sticking their feet in their mouths.

  159. Richard O says

    After re-reading Judge Wright's order on the award and penalties, I just want to make sure I'm correct in my interpretation. As for the initial $80+k, that is the award of attorney's fees and penalties that may be posted by either cash or bond. However, the $1k/person/day is a separate penalty and must be paid in cash to the court. As this is a penalty for not complying with the judges orders, I would assume that this money will be kept by the court even if they eventually appeal the original order and win.

  160. Anonymous says

    I meant, as a thank-you gift for all the entertainment that they have provided.

  161. Jim Tyre says

    Popehat on tweet:
    "Paul Hansmeier joins a #Prenda motion for a stay after Judge Wright has already denied it. HOW DO I LAW?"

    Hard to believe, I know, but Ken is human, meaning he makes mistakes. '-)

    I thought the same thing at first, because Judge Wright's Order was docketed before Hansmeier's joinder. But that's because Hansmeier doesn't have e-filing privileges. The clerk's date/time stamp shows the joinder (such as it is) was filed a few hours before Judge Wright ruled.

  162. AlphaCentauri says

    Nobody at Prenda had any objection to "joint and several liability" when they were talking about shared IP addresses.

  163. James says

    As this is a penalty for not complying with the judges orders, I would assume that this money will be kept by the court even if they eventually appeal the original order and win.

    Interesting question. If Prenda et al can convince the 9th Circuit that the original sanctions were wholly without justification or merit whatsoever then I think it likely that the penalty for not paying such inappropriate sanctions would go away, but I wouldn't depend on that "IF" coming true.

    In the meantime, I would expect our intrepid band of misfits would renew the earlier motion with the Court of Appeals which might stay accrual of additional sanctions during the pendency of the appeal process. However, I don't see how all these entities get totally off the hook as some of them are clearly culpable (Gibbs, Prenda, and AF Holdings at a minimum) and when the appeal is denied, in whole or in part, the process will restart. Judge Wright was spotted leaving his chambers today with an opener and a major can of whoop-ass.

  164. Mike says

    As to the question asked of whether Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays count in the $7k/day penalty, I wonder if FRCP Rule 6 applies:

    (a) Computing Time. The following rules apply in computing any time period specified in these rules, in any local rule or court order, or in any statute that does not specify a method of computing time.

    (1) Period Stated in Days or a Longer Unit. When the period is stated in days or a longer unit of time:

    (A) exclude the day of the event that triggers the period;

    (B) count every day, including intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays; and

    (C) include the last day of the period, but if the last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the period continues to run until the end of the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

  165. Richard O says

    @James – Regardless of the outcome, I still think this still leaves them on the hook for not complying with a court order.

    @Mike – That sounds like they could post the money on the first business day after a weekend/holiday and have it count as having occurred on the first day of the weekend/holiday. However posting it on the second day would then include all the intervening days.

  166. Anonymous says

    @Richard O

    My NAL expectation is that what they are doing is analogous to unjustly being pulled over for a speeding ticket, trying to argue with the cop, then taking off on a high speed chase and resisting arrest when they finally get you.

    If you think a ticket is unjust, you get a court date and have the right to appear before a judge and argue your case. But you have to play by the rules. Even if you weren't guilty, going crazy and disobeying the law makes matters worse, not better, and they aren't going to go back and say "no harm, no foul."

    I suspect Prenda is in a similar situation. They may have a chance of someday, somehow mitigating Wright's orders, but in the mean time this petulant strategy if disobeying court orders may have penalties they won't be able to undo.

  167. Steven H. says

    @Richard O

    That doesn't sound right. Looks like it's designed so that you'll always count AT LEAST as many days as have actually passed.
    If you pay it off on a Sat/Sun/Holiday, the period doesn't count as being over till the next business day (Monday or Tuesday) after you pay (so you have to pay for Sat/Sun/Mon if you turn your pay in on Saturday).
    If you pay it off on any business day, you pay for every day (including Sat/Sun/Holidays) between start and the day you pay it off….

  168. whheydt says

    Re: Mike…

    That would mean that Tuesday (21 May) doesn't accrue any fines, but (assuming they don't pay before 28 May), 25 May (Sat.) through 27 May (Memorial Day) all count…

  169. Jim Lyon says

    Fred said: In theory, they could seed their own porn movie – and just log everything that connects to it.

    I've often suspected that they did this. If someone could prove this, wouldn't it mean that the copyright holder invited the world to download their work, essentially creating a public license to copy?

    If so, wouldn't this render each of every one of their lawsuits at best unwinnable, and at worst fraudulent on its face?

  170. Mike says

    @ whheydt, I would think May 21 would be included under the interpretation that the triggering date is May 20, based on this language from the order: "This penalty must be paid unless it is evident that the award was paid or the bond was posted on or before May 20, 2013." The day of the event that triggers the period is May 20, and it is excluded under (a). So they are already up to $14k in fines. If they don't pay today, it goes up to $21k. If they don't pay Thursday and we assume they aren't able to pay until Tuesday (Monday being a holiday), then 8 * $7k = $56k in penalties.

  171. Mike says

    @ James, re whether a victory by Prenda in the 9th circuit would wipe out the penalties as well… I think it's doubtful. The penalties are not based on the underlying findings re fraud, etc, but rather on contempt of Wright's court order that they pay sanctions by May 20. Now I'm sure one could craft a hypothetical where a judge went so off-the-wall that the appeals court overturned both the underlying sanction and the contempt for not paying that sanction, but this case ain't it.

    An $81k bond is not that burdensome. And Prenda waited nearly the entire two weeks before seeking any kind of stay relief. It smells of gamesmanship. They could've appealed straight away and moved quickly for a stay. They didn't.

    Even if the 9th Cir thinks Wright overstepped on the sanction order, it won't validate Prenda's act of willfully disobeying the court order. There is a process for seeking stay from a court order, and Prenda has only made a last-second, half-hearted effort at that. Hardly the sympathetic picture needed to get the 9th circuit to overlook contempt of court (which they are undeniably doing by not paying the sanction on time).

    Keep in mind also that separate aspects of Wright's rulings have different levels of vulnerability on appeal. The punitive doubling may be more at risk than the underlying attorney fee sanction. I think it would be a tall order to overturn the entire thing, which would be a prerequisite to overturning any penalty. They almost certainly aren't going to be able to get the penalty overturned if they only get half the underlying sanction chopped.

  172. whheydt says

    Re: Mike.

    Hmmm…. I was under the–possibly erroneous–impression that Wright's order imposing the running fine was issued on the 21st.

    I don't suppose it matters much. The Prenda Gang don't look like they're going to pay any of it very soon so $7K either way isn't going to make much difference. (Though I suppose these guys might try to argue over it as a matter of habit.)

  173. Mike says

    whhyedt, you are correct that the order was issued May 21, and your impression and interpretation is perfectly reasonable. I just believe that if it ever had to be litigated, the 20th would be the triggering date, and thus the 21st would cost $7k.

    And I agree the more important and awesome point is that the meter is running, and Prenda has done exactly what we all secretly hoped they would do. Now we get to take in the rank desperation of their next couple filings.

  174. WDS says

    Isn't it a requirement that they post the bond before they can actually file the appeal? They can file notice of appeal I know, but thought they had to post the bond to be able to actually appeal.

  175. That Anonymous Coward says

    Anyone else hope that Ms. Rosing got her fee upfront?
    I'm not sure we could hand hearing about how she had to sue her former clients to get paid…

  176. Richard O says

    From the reading of Rule 6, it's apparent that it's actually talking about a time span. For instance if the court orders that you have 10 days to file a reply, then it would round out giving the benefit to the respondent. I doubt that applies exactly in this case, so I simply extrapolated based on the principles set out.

  177. Anonymous says


    We can dream… Who knows, if she's trying to get out of it they probably aren't paying for whatever work she has to do until they find new counsel. Knowing how crooked they are, they may just decide not to bother trying to find new counsel and push the issue as far as they can just like they do with everything else.

    This hasn't exactly made Klinedinst look good, although she does get a pretty good score for effort. If she has grounds she may want to sue them for her rep "see guys, I get it, they're scumbags, I'm cool too, everybody pile on Prenda."

  178. Some Anonymous Brit says


    Heather Rosing defends attorneys accused of misconduct. That's her job. The majority of the time she will be defending guilty people, just like any other defense attorney.

    Everyone, including people who are not very likable, is entitled to a defense. You really shouldn't beat up Rosing because she provides a needed service.

    Would you argue that a lawyer defending an accused murderer is sympathetic to the side of accused? Or that lawyers should not take on clients who might be guilty of the crime that caused them to be indicted?

  179. Nobody says

    The fun thing about this new order is that if and when they disobey it by not paying, Wright has indicated that he will order further sanctions.

    Because they didn't dig themselves into a big enough hole yet.

  180. AlphaCentauri says

    @Some Anonymous Brit: IANAL, but my understanding is that this case is more troublesome for Rosing. Every defendant has a right to counsel, but if they continue to engage in fraud after she begins to represent them, my understanding is that she could be considered complicit. She could be in a position where she isn't permitted to withdraw from representing them, yet she doesn't have the benefit of attorney-client privilege because they are (presumably ignoring her advice to stop) pursuing their criminal enterprise. They're pretty radioactive clients.

    My understanding, anyway.

  181. says

    It's quite bizarre, but I don't see 4 comments in the browser (I received email notifications), right above my reply regarding RFC. Not a cache issue, tried in a couple of other browsers:

    Jim Lyon (Fred said: In theory, they could seed their own…)

    Anonymous (@James Wright only asked for the bar …)

    TimS (@Regular Guy, A lawyer must advocate zealously…)

    Steve (Steele is listed as attorney for plaintiff on several…)

    Is it only my problem or others don't see these comments either?

  182. Jim Tyre says

    It's quite bizarre, but I don't see 4 comments in the browser (I received email notifications), right above my reply regarding RFC. Not a cache issue, tried in a couple of other browsers:

    Well they're not visible in my browser. But Jeez, SJD, everyone knows that you're a client of EFF, and everyone knows what sort of hacker lowlifes EFF represents. I think either you've hacked the blog or you're messing with us.

    (Tongue planted firmly in cheek, see

  183. James Pollock says

    "She could be in a position where she isn't permitted to withdraw from representing them, yet she doesn't have the benefit of attorney-client privilege"

    Attorney client privilege doesn't apply to the lawyer, it applies to the client.
    Every state BUT California has ethics rules that are firmly based on the model rules published by the ABA, meaning that California ethics are enforced (slightly) differently. The good news is that one of the VERY few exceptions to the model rule that attorneys must keep their client's confidences is when a client is using the attorney's work in furtherance of a fraud. Perhaps a California attorney will spell out how this exception applies in CA.

  184. Jim Tyre says

    @James Pollock,

    Every state BUT California has ethics rules that are firmly based on the model rules published by the ABA, meaning that California ethics are enforced (slightly) differently. The good news is that one of the VERY few exceptions to the model rule that attorneys must keep their client's confidences is when a client is using the attorney's work in furtherance of a fraud. Perhaps a California attorney will spell out how this exception applies in CA.

    The CA rule only applies if the lawyer "… reasonably believes the disclosure is necessary to prevent a criminal act that the member reasonably believes is likely to result in death of, or substantial bodily harm to, an individual." See

  185. James Pollock says

    Wow. It kind of surprises me that CA wrote model rule 1.6b(2) and 1.6b(3) completely out of the rules. What's the logic behind requiring a lawyer to maintain confidentiality of ongoing fraud that adversely affects the lawyer? I thought 1.6b(2) and (3) were intended to provide lawyers with an out for what would otherwise be criminal and civil liability for conspiracy and aiding the commission of a felony.

  186. James says


    whether a victory by Prenda in the 9th circuit would wipe out the penalties as well… I think it's doubtful. The penalties are not based on the underlying findings re fraud, etc, but rather on contempt of Wright's court order that they pay sanctions by May 20.

    Judges and peace officers do not have absolute power, which was my only point. Citizens have a right to resist illegal actions, such an attempted arrest that would be unlawful, and I think piling on of sanctions for failure to pay another sanction that was later ruled totally impermissible would go the same way.

    That said, it is clear that when a party engages in deliberate civil disobedience they had better make very sure that they are 100% correct in the underlying assumption that the court of appeals is prepared to totally, completely eviscerate the ruling in the lower court. While we can debate the fine points of Judge Wright's ruling, I don't think Prenda and friends have a snowball's chance in hell of totally prevailing on appeal. The best they can hope for is a temporary pause in the running of the penalty clock while the motion to stay is considered, but ultimately they lack a meritorious reason why the stay should be issued without first posting a bond.

    Meanwhile the clock continues to run; today the sum has reached $102K and if Prenda doesn't take action today the next chance they will have it pay will be Tuesday when the sum will have grown to $123K. That is a really expensive holiday weekend. When do they give up and say no mas?

  187. AlphaCentauri says

    @SJD, I see them, but not immediately preceding your post. Some stuff gets posted late, but still appears in sequence, I assume because a lot of stuff has to be manually retrieved from the spam folder.

  188. whheydt says

    Re: James…

    Um… Which side of the International Date Line are you on? As I write this, it's Thursday in California, so–in the unlikely case that they do so–they could pay today or tomorrow before being stuck until next Tuesday.

  189. James says

    @whheydt Ignore anything I post before I have had a second cup of coffee – – – seriously.

  190. whheydt says

    Re: James.

    Okay. I'll check timestamps in the future. Catching things like that is habitual from 40 years of programming. (And besides, I have two cups of tea before posting anything.)

  191. DonaldB says

    My call on the odds:

    The $7K/day penalty is expensive enough that they will either post a bond by the end of Friday, or completely defy the ruling and hope to be judgement-proof.

    The previous attempts at appealing were low-cost dice rolls, or perhaps solely a delaying tactic. Even if they didn't have high hopes they very likely didn't expect immediate sanctions. Especially not $7K/day when all other judges have just given them a light-to-medium scolding. Once that penalty was in place, they actually had to make a decision.

    Normally it takes two days to transfer money using ACH. Banks at both ends like to earn overnight interest, and be able to back out and re-run the nightly transactions if something goes wrong. But if you are willing to spend multiple $30 fees (cheap compared to $7K), you can transfer money the 'same day' and post the bond the following day. So if they decided yesterday, they could fund and post the bond late today or tomorrow morning.

    Their decision process might be affected by their win against Cooper yesterday. Their punishment for identity theft was a harsh scolding by the judge. They didn't even have to pay Cooper's costs. They might think they'll have the same results in front of the appeals court.

  192. Eric says

    Looks like our buddy Jaques "because of the gay" Nazaire is back at it. He is now throwing Hackers to the wolves. Too funny. I love the comment about the joining the Prenda Circus by e-mailing him (towards the bottom of latest comments as i post this at 4:28 CDT).

    Because of Hackers

  193. Trent says


    Didn't think I would ever see the Chewbacca defense actually used in court. Wow.

  194. James says

    The only people who get teased repeatedly are those that let on that the teasing bothers them. Isn't Jacques just asking for more inbox abuse, potentially on a massive scale, by whining about a two line insult message in a court filing? It is a bad idea to mess with the Internet if you do business with a Gmail address.

  195. Anonymous says

    Just a thought here. How thorough of an investigation would a lender do before funding a surety bond? Google?

    Because if they find the Hansmeier deposition where he says the idea is that the shell companies own a bunch of assets that are worthless…

  196. Trent says

    Any bond is going to be the full amount unless it's backed by real property. Jail bondsmen take a percentage because in general the money in returned (though some jurisdictions keep a percentage to cover costs), and if you run the money isn't forfeit if the bondsman brings you back.

    They aren't going to get a bond, they are going to have to put the money in escrow which is sometimes (IMO mistakenly) referred to as a bond. Bonds cost money, require reputations and frequently involve amounts of money that the guarantor doesn't have (such as a construction bond) and are a form of insurance with recognizable risks. Escrow in comparison is cheap and effective for small amounts doesn't require validity and surety and generally even pays interest on the deposit.

    I'm coming at this from a construction angle but I believe what's being referred to as a bond is actually meant to be putting the money in escrow with defined release terms and 3rd party release. In other words an escrow account that could be released by the court upon unsuccessful appeal.

  197. me agin says

    Also, Gibbs and Duffy, being members of the State Bar of California, must self-report sanctions of $1000 or more, do they now have to write a letter every day?

  198. Jack (the one with the cat avatar) says

    Gibbs and Duffy, being members of the State Bar of California, must self-report sanctions of $1000 or more, do they now have to write a letter every day?

    The more important question might be, what's the penalty if they don't report the $7k sanction (whether once or multiple times)? Because I imagine the harshest penalty the CA Bar can impose would be to revoke their licenses, and… well, it's looking to this NAL like that's probably going to happen anyway.

    When you're already facing a death sentence, an extra night in jail for contempt of court loses much, if not all, of its sting.

  199. Matthew Cline says


    Isn't Jacques just asking for more inbox abuse, potentially on a massive scale, by whining about a two line insult message in a court filing?

    Maybe that's exactly what he wants. The next time he files a motion he'll have dozens of insulting email messages to point at, rather than just one.

  200. jimmythefly says

    The IRS investigation angle interests me. If the Prenda folks are all trying to move money around, presumably the IRS may already have set up monitoring/tracking on their accounts.

    In my mind the $7k fine is part of an elaborate trap to get them to move some funds and reveal secrets to the IRS investigators. Probably not true, but if this were a movie I'd have to figure a way to work that into the plot.

  201. Jon says

    And now Gibbs has filed, pleading poverty. Will be interesting to see if Wright is buying it. (I'd love to see that declaration, but I'm guessing it was filed under seal.)

  202. Another anonymous NAL says

    @Jon: Interesting is right. First there's the dog not barking in the night–namely, any mention of what he might have earned during his time working for Prenda, although he's careful to note he's earned only $5000 in 2-1/2 months after quitting them. Second, it almost looks like he's supplying the other Prendateers with an "Alan Cooper" defense of "We didn't forge anything, we just had a brain-damaged poor person sign our important legal documents."

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

    A link from the OMICS Publishing Group Makes a Billion Dollar Threat thread, posted by Eli Rabett:

    Although unimaginative in his LLC naming, Jay Rust (MPHJ Technologies Investments, LLC), makes Prenda look like rank amateurs when it comes to creating shell companies. FORTY of them. Although I wouldn't have registered all of them to the same UPS store address.

    He has the Prenda model down pat. Don't actually sue anyone for infringement (patent in this case), at least not at first. Just send out the letters and watch the checks roll in.

    Won't be too hard to sort this one out though. Looks like he is Lord God King Emperor of that setup. He's described as the "Manager" of MPHJ Technologies Investments. False modesty or true humility? You be the judge.

  204. keyser says

    @me agin – I believe you are correct about the supersedeas bond. If I remember correctly Pietz even mentioned it in one of his filings. A quick google search led me to this : "The supersedeas bond amount fluctuates as it is based on state regulations and case specifics. In California, for instance, the supersedeas bond amount must be 150% of the judgment amount, whereas in Florida, the amount may
    include two years of statutory interest for those fees."

    It appears Los Hermanos Prendas need to cough up $121979.59 to soothe the angst of a certain Judge Wright, not including the daily $7k sanctions piling up like ip addresses in a porn trolls wet dream . Mere pocket change for the boys I'm sure.

    And so it goes, so it goes, living su vida en Grandes Ligas…

  205. whheydt says

    Re: Jim Tyre.

    Looks like Gibbs is saying that he has no income, no assets, owes a ton of money, major medical expenses, and doesn't expect to live very long.

    If that last is true, then he may not care very much how large a fine accumulates, because he may not be around when someone tries to collect it.

    Since he just got married, I wonder how he is planning an estate to take care of his incipient widow?

  206. Myk says

    I'm guessing she's likely to be EX-wife when she find out he's effectively offering to place a lien on their matrimonial property to cover sanctions from his involvement in a criminal fraud and conspiracy.

  207. Michael S. says

    Not to make light of Gibbs' claims…but international travel on one's honeymoon does not seem to be the sort of thing that someone who doesn't have steady income and a terminal condition would do…

  208. Damian says

    I dunno, my father traveled everywhere after he was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Spend it while you can and all that…..

  209. jimmythefly says

    Erm. OK, so very simple question, but could he have had a ton of money a few days ago, then transferred it/gave it to his wife and friends, so that on the day he actually signed that declaration he suddenly had only $500 in his bank acount?

    Can the court do any investigating of this, or do they just have to either take him at his word or not, without doing any outside looking into finances?

    I seem to recall a rule about this, but not sure where I read it (might be in the comments above, after a quick skim I didn't see it).

  210. Palimpsest says

    Can the court make him provide a financial record of all his transactions for say the last year?

  211. That Anonymous Coward says

    Its a shame that Gibbs scrubbed the web of his blog about his cancer.
    The Wayback Machine shows it vanished end or 2011 start of 2012.

    I know that we are supposed to have sympathy for people suffering from a disease, but when they trot it out like a trick pony over and over and over to deflect the heat… yeah no.

    But but but gays!
    But but but hackers!
    But but but mean emails!
    But but but I have bills!
    But but but cancer!

    But but but fraud!
    But but but you represented yourself as much more important at Prenda previously!
    But but but your umpteenth play for sympathy makes me ill.

    Your life is so hard.
    Did you ever consider if anyone you accepted settlements from had medical bills or a disease?
    Did you ever consider that you might have pushed them to decide between paying you off or medicine, rent, food?
    And yet now you expect better treatment than you gave to others…

    I anticipate people might be upset with me for appearing to be a heartless bastard.
    Please read this post –

    Then understand this was NOT the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth time I found myself in that situation. That there is much more I did in the darker corners of the web… that talking people off the very real ledge takes a toll on any empathy I can feel for anyone connected to copyright trolling.

    People don't like to think about it, but consider the astronomical odds against there having not been a single tragedy caused/helped/pushed by their actions.

  212. James Pollock says

    jimmythefly, and anyone else who is NAL, here are two Google search terms to ease your worried mind. The first is "fraudulent conveyance" and the second is "Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act". A few minutes with the Google plus some reading should tell you everything you want to know.

  213. Anonymous says

    There is something particularly unseemly about extortionists pleading poverty when faced with a monetary demand. I would like to see Wright ask Gibbs to file a declaration detailing how he and John Steele dealt with defendants of their sham lawsuits who made similar pleas. I'll bet Gibbs has heard a lot of sob stories, they may not have always been true, but as I was following these cases I did some reading and found that many American families have virtually no savings, for example 1/4 of American families have NO savings or liquid assets, and the average savings account balance of an American family is $3800. And that is just the monetary demand, how about threatening to disrupt people's family lives, relationships with spouses, jobs, neighbors… I don't get the impression Gibbs is sadistic, but I would certainly be interested to hear Brett recount how John Steele reacted to pleas from their victims.

    In my opinion, casting such a wide and indiscriminate net, trying to bully people out of +-$3000 (which may literally be their life savings) while using sham plaintiffs built on ID theft and evading taxes makes Brett a pretty fucking deplorably huge scumbag who is utterly undeserving of sympathy or mercy. That this is how he chose to spend a life shortened by incurable cancer… Is really just… Well it wouldn't be my first choice if someone told me I was about to die.

    I don't think Brett knew how corrupt Steele was, he probably wasn't in on the Cooper fraud, and maybe had nothing to do with setting up the shells. But once Prenda dropped their real clients and started building the sham companies staffed by Steele and Hansmeier's friends and family, he should have been suspicious. There was also plenty of reporting of these cases and Steele's shenanigans, the inconsistencies with the Alan Cooper story were reported on the blogs months before the courts started asking questions, and we had documentation of Steele using his email, Cooper's name, and Anthony Saltmarsh's address, etc.

    Brett was also filing copyright infringement suits for works that were not registered with the copyright office, which meant they were not eligible for statutory damage awards, but he lied and said they were registered and asked for statutory damages anyway. That is Copyright Law 101, but who cares about the law when you can bully some ignorant laypeople out of their savings?

    Brett should have been paying attention and asking questions, and if he didn't like the answers he should have been reporting misconduct and crimes. There are some very good reasons Brett is accruing these penalties; some of us saw this coming, provided all the information he needed to know to get off the train before it went off the tracks, and predicted that this would end with people facing jail and IRS anoscopies. He considered us the enemy.

  214. Duke says

    In prior sworn statements to the Court Brett has clearly lied.

    Is he telling the truth now? How can anyone know?

  215. James says

    My question is why he (Gibbs) didn't plead poverty and ask for a stay BEFORE the expiration of the 14 day period on May 20. He could have made calls to a handful of bonding agencies in the first few days and know that he wouldn't be able to come up with $82 large. So why was it necessary to wait?

    If he had gone to the court a week or so before the sanctions were due and told the same story, then I think people might be more inclined to cut him some slack. Given the glut of lawyers I can believe his story that he has only earned $5000 in two months, and I don't know what to make of the brain cancer except to say that the story is plausible.

    Still Gibbs' inability to pay does not relieve the other three (and the associated legal entities) from paying up; joint and several liability is a bitch. It is harder to plead poverty when you have claimed $15 million in earnings from your scheme in major financial publications.

  216. Regular Guy says

    Gibbs situation is certainly a touchy subject. With that being said, a couple of thoughts:
    – Shouldn't Gibbs be having this conversation with his co-conspirators? Since they are jointly and severally liable, shouldn't this be solely an issue among those persons? (Having said that, I do understand that you ought not to punish someone who can't perform in the first place.)
    – With all due respect to Gibbs, in my opinion, he seems to be walking a fine line. To be generous, let's just say that he is good at "spin." How?
    A. His affidavit is silent as to his new wife's assets – which may have come from him.
    B. Is he including marital assets (assets in BOTH their names) in his statement?
    C. He failed to disclose how much he earned as a result of his work for Prenda.
    D. He leaves it to the reader to imply what degree his cancer is impacting him. As far as I can tell, in the present, it has absolutely no impact on his ability to earn a living.
    E. $700 per month for "supplements" raises a red flag. Notice he didn't say "medicine." If it isn't scientifically proven to be effective and necessary, then he ought not to include the expense.

    Here is the way I see it: If the guy deserves reconsideration then he should get some. On the other hand, NOBODY should take anything these people say for granted. Gibbs should only get reconsideration if he can provide VERY good proof that he truly deserves it.

    I do agree that it is troubling that a Gibbs is asking for compassion when he was a willing part of a scheme that caused so much negative impact on other people's lives. But… isn't the whole point of this that we are NOT like those schemers? I would like to think so. Gibbs should be punished, but the punishment should be equitable. Maybe Wright can agree to waive the $81k if Gibbs voluntarily hands in his license to practice law while this is pending…. just saying….

  217. Nicholas Weaver says

    Agree that Gibbs is playing a dangerous game here. If he made this filing two weeks ago, complete with that "no transfer of assets" offer, Pietz might have easily said "yes", or "yes with leverage". But this is so beyond the last minute even by Prendarist standards.

    There are also far too many court filings about Gibbs "out of the country" on his honeymoon. If indeed he has such debt, why the foreign travel even if its his new wife's money?

  218. Scytale says

    One thing that has always worried me, and apologies if this is old news, was how the Judge's merely accept that the IP addresses collected are correct and valid.

    Surely this kind of evidence that has been privately collected by some non-law enforcement agency comes under rules for Private Investigators?

  219. mcinsand says

    The right honorable Wright might well be free to 'free to exercise a discretion to fashion some other arrangement,' but that discretion will not only be affected by the burden on the sanctioned. Has Gibbs been forthcoming, honest, complete, and honest in his responses to court requests? Has he been upstanding, diligent, and faithful to his duties as an officer of the court?

    This is too much like a bully, though, to go after the weak and then start with a sob story when the adults come around. Cancer is nothing to joke about, but it's pathetic to see him hide behind it when he cared nothing about the financial burdens he was placing on his victims.

    If possible, I would like to see him get some help with his medical burdens; prisons have doctors.

  220. AlphaCentauri says

    @TAC, the Wayback machine has a lot of his site archived, but they changed their format. Here's the earliest year archived:*/

    He doesn't say what type of brain cancer he had, but from the description of the radiation and chemo, I suspect it was grade IV astrocytoma. The radiation for that is brutal. It would be very difficult for someone to function in an intellectually demanding career after that. I'm impressed he passed the bar exam. But I wonder if all the shared password stuff indicates he and his license were being used as sock puppet by the other Prendateers.

  221. Sami says

    Is that blog definitely by the same Brett Gibbs? The writing style is a bit childlike for someone who's studied law.

    But then, if I were someone offering my tumour as an excuse in a court of law, I would also not call it "brain cancer", because I'm not seven years old. I'd say astrocytoma (if that's what it was) and provide evidence that I had it.

    $700 in two months for out-of-pocket medical expenses isn't that much, especially in America, and is a clear indication that he's not undergoing significant ongoing treatment (as does the fact that he hasn't been unable to work, or get married, or go on honeymoon). A "special diet" and "heavy supplements regimen" suggests he's on some pattern of alt-med quackery more than any actual medical intervention.

    Going on an international honeymoon is understandable if he's dying… but if that's the case, why is he working? How could he be doing an intellectually exacting job if his alleged tumour isn't at least in remission?

    I am dubious, and that's before you even touch the very careful specification of his own assets without reference to his oh-so-new wife's assets.

  222. Jon says

    Indeed, if I found myself needing to plead poverty, especially after previous problems with credibility, I'd be including things like:

    – Actual statements from bonding companies
    – Actual receipts for these $700 "supplements"
    – Actual copies of my bank statement (with account numbers redacted)
    – A cash flow statement of the previous year or two (oh wait, that's too much like accounting for the Prenda gang)
    – Some kind of justification for the honeymoon trip (e.g., it was a gift from daddy-in-law)
    – A statement of how much my new wife earned as well as myself
    – A statement from my doctor, going into more detail about this "brain cancer" (I can't help thinking "brain cloud" when I read that — as Sami suggests, a more precise term would be more credible)

    There are way too many missing pieces here.

  223. Hasdrubal says

    There are also far too many court filings about Gibbs "out of the country" on his honeymoon. If indeed he has such debt, why the foreign travel even if its his new wife's money?

    Playing Devil's advocate, Mexico is driving distance from California*, counts as being "out of the country" and can be more affordable than staying a lot of places in CA. "Out of the country" doesn't necessarily imply a two week jaunt in sunny Novosibirsk or some equally extravagent destination.

    *Driving distance from a Minnesotan's perspective, at least: Sacramento to Tijuana is on the same order of magnitude as St. Paul to Winnepeg, which we would consider reasonable for a driving vacation.

  224. Jose Fish Taco says

    I don't give a rat's ass about Brett's problems, including his brain cancer. This guy willingly and knowingly screwed people every single day for years. Well, now its come to roost. This is stuff most kids learn by first grade: do unto others…

    Well, now Brett is having it done unto him.

  225. mcinsand says


    >>Well, now Brett is having it done unto him.

    No, he's been doing it to himself. Failing to respond in a timely fashion, cooperate, be forthcoming, tell the complete truth, and be the least bit diligent with documentation has been Gibbs gift package to himself. He is in such a terrible position because of his choices, and no-one else's. As for his spouse, she hitched herself to this anchor, and I hope that she is ready to ride it to the ocean floor.

    There are several new smells in the Prenda olfactory smorgasbord wafting, as well. His peeps are apparently not tossing any life preservers. If Gibbs has any documentation at all that could be used against them, I would think that they would be getting $7k more nervous per day, just as he should be feeling more motivated to speak up. As others have mentioned, his claimed health issues versus monthly health expenses and ability to practice law just don't add up.

    Maybe I'm a little paranoid, too, in that I would worry a lot about Steele, if I was Gibbs. Steele doesn't seem to be on speaking terms with either ethics or reality, and I doubt that you could mention the word 'empathy' to him and get anything but a blank stare. If I was Gibbs and pressure was mounting for me to talk, I would worry a lot about any ideas Steele might have about tying up loose ends. Again, maybe I'm paranoid, but his lack of character scares me.

  226. James says

    According to his blog he had a brain stem glioma which apparently has been in remission since late 2011. I do medical research for a living, including the brain, and I can tell you that living through that was extremely fortunate. He was at a top hospital (UCSF) and obviously got good treatment. Don't wail on him for use of supplements, there are a lot of medical applications for nutritional supplements (especially vitamins) for neurological diseases, and good OTC supplements are expensive but cheaper than prescription. The medical part of his story sounds entirely legitimate but unless he relapses he is likely quite functional and will stay that way although his days as a lawyer may be numbered.

    His wife's premarital assets and her personal income should not enter into this. She married him, fair enough, but she did not commit any of the alleged acts for which he has been sanctioned and her separate property is off limits for the purposes of satisfying the sanction. Her post-marriage earnings, if segregated into a separate account, are also unreachable and he does not seem to have much earning potential at this point. At this early stage of married life, community property will be minimal. Basically there is no way to suck her assets or her income into this mess unless the love birds have been exceedingly sloppy in how they have arranged their financial affairs.

    Duffy seems to be underwater on a lot of debt so he might be in nearly the same shape as Gibbs, or even worse. You can't squeeze blood out of a rock. While it is fair for both of them to show bank statements and such to prove poverty, I think they are both going to have new jobs in the future that don't pay so well. Past earnings history isn't relevant for a lawyer about to be suspended or disbarred.

    Which leaves Steele and Hansmeier. They probably have the money and it will be interesting to see how aggressively the court pursues them for payment.

  227. MarkH says

    Both my wife and I are disabled, and if we were targets of the Prenda gang we doubt very much that they would give us much sympathy. That is especially true after reading the info by ThatAnonymousCoward.

    At the same time, we also have a very clear idea of what Gibbs is going through, long term and short term.

    I came to the same conclusion as Regular Guy, in that we can be the same as them, or we can be better and more compassionate. Yes, these things happen in life, but so does compassion.

    And, maybe, just maybe, he decides that his past choices are not the person who he wants to be nor the person he wants to be remembered as. People make mistakes, stupid, big, nasty mistakes. But I am usually more interested in how they recover from these mistakes and how hard they try to repay/restore their actions.

    Seems to me that Judge Wright could release Gibbs from the $1,000/day, but still be accountable for the a portion of the larger shared fine.

    It would help a huge amount if Gibbs just gave in, provided a full summary of what happened (for better or worse), and take his lumps (hmmmm, that sounds mean to someone with brain cancer).

  228. naught_for_naught says

    "You can't squeeze blood out of a rock."

    What do you get when you pulverize a rock? Let's find out.

  229. Palimpsest says

    I'd be unwilling to give him benefit of the doubt until he coughed up the rest of the financials, such as his revenue from Prenda.
    He's told too many lies, half lies and lies by omission for anyone to take a partial story at face value.

  230. whheydt says

    The whole Gibbs thing reminds me of the old "joke" about the fellow who murdered his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he's an orphan.

  231. naught_for_naught says

    I don't think that having brain cancer mitigates the fact that you're a low-life cocksucker who owes a debt for your cocksuckerly acts.

  232. James says

    What do you get when you pulverize a rock?


    I don't think that having brain cancer mitigates the fact that you're a low-life cocksucker who owes a debt for your cocksuckerly acts.

    No, it doesn't. However, taking away his livelihood when he still owes $50k in school debt is a pretty good start on his karmic debt. If you argue that still isn't enough I might agree with you, but piling on further monetary pain to a man who has no income, and no near term prospects, accomplishes precisely nothing for society. Community service is another matter; I am sure LA has lots of trash that needs collecting, indigent persons that need basic legal assistance, homeless shelters that need sweeping, etc.

  233. Anonymous says

    You know, this seems like a perfect time to ask Gibbs for some details about the Prenda operation — say, how many people they sent letters to, how much money they got, and where it went.

    He knows at least some of this stuff. According to Ken's notes from the March 11th hearing, Gibbs said (on the stand) that "he and Hansmeier and Steele together made a 'cost benefit analysis' and decided to pull out of cases in this district". In other words, he had a pretty good idea how much money the company was making by pursuing these cases. He should share.

  234. James Pollock says

    I disagree with the people who are slamming Gibbs for waiting until the last minute to plead poverty, and here's why: This is a possible interpretation: "I kept trying to comply right up until I ran out of time". This, I think is the interpretation the court should use, even though we all think the true answer is "I kept hoping that the other guys would pay the damn sanctions, and get me off the hook."

    It's quite possible that Gibbs doesn't have $82K lying around to pay the judgment, and was thus unable to comply with the order; and he's right that people shouldn't be punished for not doing things they're not able to do. He's asked a reasonable accommodation… stop the $1K/day late fee, grant him time to come up with the money, apportion some of the $81K to him rather than hold him in J+S liability.
    Now, he's going to go on, and ask that he be entirely released from the $81K judgment, as a separate matter. That one's going to be a tough call, which he probably won't win; I think this one he does, by reason of impossibility… he didn't (and can't now) pay an $81K judgment because he doesn't have $81K, or a way to raise $81K, so he shouldn't be punished for willful noncompliance. Whether he can (now or in the future) pay a SHARE of that $81K, is a totally different story.

  235. mcinsand says


    >>>…piling on further monetary pain to a man who has no income, and no near term prospects, accomplishes precisely nothing for society.

    That's not quite true, and, of all people, The Joker said it best:

    "It's not about the money… It's about sending a message…"

    Attorneys have a lot of responsibility as officers of the court, and these guys have totally folded, spindled, and mutilated any sense of ethics and duty that they are supposed to have. The extortion they have used to drain victims' bank accounts and the way they have flagrantly given the finger to our court system is no longer about them; it's about the next group that gets the same idea. They all need to be dropped into a fiscal black hole that they can never escape as a warning; use the legal system as your own get rich quick racket, ignore the judge, lie in court, and you might also end up losing the classic attorney lifestyle with no way to recover it.

  236. Regular Guy says

    Assuming, for the sake of argument, that he has a compelling reason as to why he can't pay, I can understand staying the $1,000 per day penalty, but I do think that the underlying sanction should remain. This is based on two primary reasons:
    1) The actual sanction is a small fraction of what he cost others in attorney's fees. If he forced others to incur attorney's fees without any inquiry as to their ability to do so, this seems to be a more than fair response when the nature of the operation was finally exposed.
    2) To apply for, or to maintain, admission to a bar association, he is going to have MAJOR problems if he has an unpaid judgment in a matter that he actively created. Given that at least half of the judgment is just to reimburse actual expenses, he should not have an innocent former defendant suffer for his improper actions. Until he can at least make that person whole, he should have this judgment hanging over his head as a black mark.

  237. Colin says

    @mcinsand: " it's about the next group that gets the same idea…"

    And even more so when there's a pretty good chance the "next group" may be some combination of some of these guys under a new name with a bunch of new patsies litigating for them. Based on what we've seen so far, Steele & Co. won't stop until their professional lives have been so thoroughly burned and the ground sown with salt that it's logistically impossible for them to find a way to keep the trolling business going.

  238. Mike says

    Hard to feel too much sympathy given that the cancer diagnosis and treatment pre-date Prenda. So this guy comes down with cancer, makes it through treatment, and then decides to get involved in this fraud? Way to make the most of your survival story and pay back all that support you reference in your blog.

  239. Regular Guy says

    I noticed that Gibbs has used an address in Mill Valley (an avenue starting with the letter "A") of a house that is owned in part by a "Richard Gibbs." The house appears to be worth several thousand dollars, although I don't know how much debt is associated with it.

    I'd love to know what the financial arrangements are.

    For those who are curious, the information is easily gleaned from the Marin County website. It's all public record.

  240. Amused Onlooker says

    That house is co-owned by Lucy Langdon. On Brett's wedding website, the contact information for his parents is given as:; 360-683-7441

    It does say that they live in Grenada for part of the year, so it is possible that Brett had used that address, but does not actually live at that address.

  241. AlphaCentauri says

    He confirms in a later entry that it was a Grade II-IV astrocytoma. If he's still alive, he's unlikely to have any residual cancer. He's at risk of a second malignancy from the radiation, but would probably have said something about it if he had a second primary.

    But it's hard to say what the effect of the radiation would be. The brainstem doesn't control judgement or intellect. But because a malignant astrocytoma sends microscopic tentacles into the surrounding brain, the radiation oncologist would have given radiation to the entire brain, with a boost to the tumor area. I knew someone who had the same type of tumor and she never was able to resume college. She just didn't have the ability to concentrate any more. Diffuse brain injury can have varying effects in varying people. It's conceivable someone could appear normal but have difficulty making decisions, and that he would just go along with what he's told to do. He might be expecting direction from the very people throwing him under the bus. People with brain injuries that affect personality and judgment can behave in infuriating and illogical ways without realizing they are impaired.

  242. Eric says

    Chintella (GA case) tweeted that the sanctions hearing will be on June 20th. And the entertainment train keeps rolling on, lol. This is just too much fun to watch for me.

  243. Jon says

    OK, in fairness to Gibbs: Having checked out the web site, the wedding, despite the exotic location, sounds like it was kind of done on the cheap. The couple apparently used frequent flyer miles (OK, yes, some were probably accrued doing Prenda work, but still) for travel, and stayed with his parents (who also hosted the reception), so it may not have cost them too much out of pocket for the wedding. Also, it sounds like it might have been a fairly low-key ceremony; there's a lot of emphasis on the casual atmosphere of the island. And it's quite possible one or both sets of parents footed the bills for the rest.

  244. naught_for_naught says

    …he doesn't have $81K, or a way to raise $81K, so he shouldn't be punished for willful noncompliance.

    Granted I only have paralegal training, but I think he has two options.

    Option 1: Sue Steele, Hamsmeier & Duffy. Gibbs is so tied in with this operation. He knows exactly where the money went. Let the rats feed on each other.

    Option 2: The Mexican porn industry – 'nuff said.

  245. James Pollock says

    "Option 1: Sue Steele, Hamsmeier & Duffy."
    This option is probably off the table. Since they were (apparently) the principals of legal entities he represented, he must keep their confidences, even after representation ends (This is also what's been keeping him from squealing like a stuck pig even as the others threw him under the bus). There is an out for fee disputes between client and attorney, but this is not a fee dispute. Note: I learned, and passed the test on, the ABA model rules but never studied California's implementation of, or caselaw surrounding, California's ethics rules.

    I suspect that chapter 13 may lie in Mr. Gibbs' future, depending on how successful he is in finding employment in the near-term and intermediate future, and his wife's current and future financial resources.

  246. naught_for_naught says


    Is confidentiality an issue in a separate case to recover money paid in sanctions?

    As I understand it, these guys are now jointly and severally liable, so Gibbs has a right to go after the assets of Steele Hannsmeier and Duffy (doesn't he?) — to recoup anything he has to pay beyond the 25% that would be his share of the total judgement.

    I thought this was the whole point of joint and several liability.

  247. Dark Moe says

    IANAL, but joint and several means all parties owe all of the money, unless a court sub-divides the total. That means that all of the named parties are fully responsible for payment of the entire amount and that liability remains unless or until all amounts have been paid in full to the judgment creditor, no matter who pays what percentage of the amount.

    I know it sounds complicated, but with a joint and several judgment, it almost actually forces all of the judgment debtors to come to some kind of an agreement between them regarding who will pay what percentage of the total. Meanwhile, all of them individually are still responsible for payment of all of it, unless such an agreement is reached and the judgment creditor receives payment in full.

    Anyone who is a lawyer more familiar with how joint and several operates in law is always welcome to correct me.

  248. MarkH says

    Confidentiality to whom?

    * Steele? Seems odd since he says he has nothing to do with this.
    * Hannsmeier? Seems odd since he says he has nothing to do with this.
    * Alan Cooper? Seems very unlikely, since he says he has nothing to do with this.
    * AF Holdings? Who there can complain (especially without hiding behind the 5th)?
    * Lutz, or his unborn Nevisian corporate infants?
    * Prenda Law? Does an attorney have confidentiality to their law firm employer (rather than to the totally-not-related-to-us client)?

    I would really like to know who all (or any) actually have confidentiality from Gibbs. Seems like a nice complex example to learn from :)

  249. anne mouse says


    Gibbs can't recover anything because he hasn't paid anything. I'm not sure he even has standing to go after the others' assets.


    When the client is hiding behind the fifth is precisely the situation that client-lawyer confidentiality matters. There is even a special privilege in the rules of evidence, to prevent lawyers from being compelled to testify about their clients.
    (Lawyer confidentiality applies in all settings, not just courtrooms, and is an ethical duty, not a rule of evidence.)

    There are exceptions to confidentiality and to the privilege, for example if the lawyer actively conspires with the client. Quoting the ABA: "the ethics rules in most jurisdictions permit and sometimes require a lawyer to disclose information in order to prevent and/or rectify the consequences of a crime or fraud that injures the financial or property interests of another. "

    So I agree with others above, if Gibbs wants to get off the hook, he should come clean first.

  250. MarkH says

    Thanks, anne mouse.

    So would it be right to say that nobody of the Prenda gang has a reasonable right to confidentiality from Gibbs, except AF Holdings (I think that was his client, it's all confusing now). The others really have no right to confidentiality at all, not his clients), so it isn't even something they can demand? I assumed Gibbs couldn't talk about it due to confidentiality.

    It seems to go back to the issue talked about in an earlier thread about Steele's argument that disclosure of relationship to the client is only for the judge and doesn't apply to the attorneys. But, wouldn't confidentiality hinge on this since Steele might expect confidentiality by Gibbs? Had he disclosed his role with the client (ie management), then could he expect confidentiality in his dealings with Gibbs (even the legal dealings … let's assume some of those exist, hahaha). But with his declarations that he is not involved with AF except very casually, he really can't expect confidentiality from Gibbs then either?

  251. James Pollock says

    "Is confidentiality an issue in a separate case to recover money paid in sanctions?"
    Yes, assuming a client-lawyer relationship exists, the lawyer is required to keep any information that the client wants kept secret confidential. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

    "Confidentiality to whom?"
    Whoever his client actually was… whether they said they were his client publicly or not… Gibbs can't break their confidence. (For institutional entities, such as LLCs, the privilege extends to principals of the institution, on matters related to the representation.)
    If Gibbs' representation agreement includes an indemnity clause, I think that turns this into a fee dispute, which lets Gibbs release enough information to get paid for his services, but I doubt he thought to include one or that the core Prendators would have agreed to one, so I don't think he's going to get out from under confidentiality.

    "Quoting the ABA: "the ethics rules in most jurisdictions permit and sometimes require a lawyer to disclose information in order to prevent and/or rectify the consequences of a crime or fraud that injures the financial or property interests of another. ""
    California's rules, which are not based on the ABA model rules, are the reason for the weasel words "in most jurisdictions" above. Apparently, California did not see the need to include model rules 1.6b(2) and 1.6b(3) in their code of ethics.

  252. Palimpsest says

    Duffy seems to be underwater on a lot of debt so he might be in nearly the same shape as Gibbs, or even worse. You can't squeeze blood out of a rock.

    Isn't that the IRS specialty?

  253. James Pollock says

    "Isn't that the IRS specialty?"
    Haven't you been watching the news lately? The sole purpose of the IRS is to oppress those who oppose the President's ideas.

  254. That Anonymous Coward says

    @naught_for_naught – as a cocksucker, I take offense at being compared to Gibbs and Pretenda. :D

    @AlphaCentauri – I was more "shocked" at how the cancer blog vanished from the web shortly after it was discovered by people digging into the backgrounds of the gang.

    And just to add some more irony to the mix…

    We got a mean email and people threaten to steal our identities…
    I guess they knew first hand how much damage you could do that way.

  255. James says

    For institutional entities, such as LLCs, the privilege extends to principals of the institution, on matters related to the representation.)

    So that is just Lutz, right? Steele and friends can't deny that they have a financial interest in the holding companies and at the same time claim lawyer-client privilege. This should be fun to watch.

  256. Amused Onlooker says

    I think Steele, Duffy and Hansmeier would have some big problems if they were to now claim to be principals of AF Holdings, et al. I guess Hansmeier may regret his answer during the deposition of AF Holdings' representative.

  257. Nicholas Weaver says

    I think the more interesting little sideshow will be going after Lutz for the $9K that "AF Holdings" owes in Attorneys fees, since there are now plenty of Lulz from Lutz stating that "AF his my company", and "its a trust for the benefit of my nonexistant kids and I'm the trustee who signs for things in the name of the 'salt marsh' trust"

  258. naught_for_naught says


    @naught_for_naught – as a cocksucker, I take offense at being compared to Gibbs and Pretenda.

    As I sat poised to hit the enter key on that comment, I was concerned over this terms use. Does it capture the essential quality of Brett Gibbs character? Had its connotative import evolved beyond its pedestrian literal meaning? Would literalists understand its import? This were some of my thoughts.

    In the end, the simple joy of using the lexical variant, cocksuckerly, over-shadowed any of my other concerns.

  259. says

    Unbelievable. Prenda crooks apparently hired a good fiction writer to explain Alan Cooper's involvement. This is the first time they directly state that Steele's caretaker was in fact AF Holdings/Ingenuity 13 representative.

    A natural question is why it take half a year to cough out this story at the hassle of crafty evasion, lies and invoking the 5th amendment.

  260. Jim Tyre says


    Did you mean to link to a different document? I don't see anything about Cooper in the one you did link to.

  261. Jim Tyre says

    Thanks, SJD, that's it. It is "impressive" in it's own way. '-)

    Note that it makes reference to a number of declarations supposedly filed concurrently, including what might be a doozy of a declaration by Steele. I just checked PACER directly, since RECAP sometimes has a lag. So far, none of the referenced declarations have been filed. Hmmm.

  262. MrEye says

    Could this document explains why all the Ingenuity 13 lawyers are either
    a) no longer involved
    b) trying as hard as possible to be no longer involved

  263. Mike says

    "Mr. Cooper has disclaimed personally acknowledging the assignment, but to Plaintiff’s knowledge has not disclaimed authorizing a third-party to do so on his behalf."

    So is Prenda now taking the position that the signature isn't Cooper's, but that he authorized somebody to sign on his behalf? Geez these porn guys are so busy. Lutz is too busy to sign everything, so he gets Cooper to act as corporate representative. But Cooper is too busy to actually sign anything, so he simply authorizes someone else to do so on his behalf.

    Please please be Lutz who was the "third party"

  264. Christenson says

    I suggest Judge Wright's response to Gibbs pleading poverty:

    On some conditions, namely:
    1) that Morgan Pietz is satisfied to the truth of your pleading, as you have shown the court ample reason not to trust them. Evidence, in terms of names of treating doctors, bank accounts, and check stubs from Prenda Law and its principals will be required.
    2) that you forever surrender all license you may have to practice law anywhere, and
    3) spend next week in jail
    4) Completely and particluarly disclose your assets
    5) Make a satisfactory accounting of your meetings and directions from Prenda law
    6) Pay $1000 immediately
    7) Have no further contact with Prenda Law, or any of its principals.
    I will relieve you of the $1000 per person per day additional fine for contempt. However, the original amount, $81,000 remains on the books, payable at $500 per month.

    That is, the medical claims look like he might be gaming the system, or he might truly have diffuse brain injury after such aggressive cancer treatment, in which case he is, indeed, just a redshirt. Some actions (no more law practice) ought to be taken anyway, including those ascertaining his true position, since both possibilities are consistent with the available data.

    I hate to convict someone without the mens rea, but I also hate to spare someone who is guilty as sin on false pretences.

  265. says

    Funny: the document metadata reveals the "Title": Microsoft Word – FINAL Response. Yes, all capitals. So at least they are contemplating a possibility of cutting and running.

  266. Christenson says

    Hmm…so where is the police report? The cancelled checks showing Cooper was supported? Does the property in Northern Minnesota show any recent stumps? The claim for property damage? (most of us don't walk away from a vandalism of that magnitude without making claims somewhere!)

    And, while I'm at it, is knowing that he is being represented by an EFF lawyer an excuse for not actually contacting him through that lawyer? I mean, "everyone" knew where to find Cooper last week…in a courtroom suing for abuse of his name, but I suppose we can't mention that inconvenient little fact, since he won, can we????

    I think I can see a little more dirt rising out of the hole! lol

  267. says

    The thing with Gibbs is a further reminder that we can't paint these people with the same broad brush. So far as I can tell Steele is the brains and Lutz is the muscle and the rest of them (with the possible exception of Hansmeier) are dupes. I consider Hansmeier " a possible" exception because his appearance in court earlier this week proves that if he is a dupe, he is a willing dupe. However, from What I have read and seen, he is a dupe none the less.

  268. James Pollock says

    "So that is just Lutz, right? Steele and friends can't deny that they have a financial interest in the holding companies and at the same time claim lawyer-client privilege."
    Actually, they can. If they are the principals, Gibbs owes them confidentiality and cannot reveal their secrets… including the secret that they are the principals.

  269. orvis barfley says

    @kat attack

    you see that cluster about like i do.  i don't know when steele was born, but if he took his baton from jim jones, it wouldn't surprise me.

    if the troupe does hie to some far-flung outpost, don't drink anything they offer.

  270. Laugher says

    By the way. I love how Gibbs wrote in the above linked letter in 2010 that any law student with a D average would know that the Supreme Court would "sneer" at he idea of using eminent domain for private usage.

    Was Gibbs that "D" student? Sounds like he may have been since he was entirely clueless about a landmark 2005 ruling:

    Way to throw your weight around and look like a complete assclown, Gibbs.

  271. James Pollock says

    Wait, now. Kelo didn't authorize the use of eminent domain for purely private operations… it just says that the public purpose behind the condemnation can be pretty tenuous.

  272. Laugher says

    Absolutely. But that's not at all what he said. He made an unqualified statement. I would have given him a D+, though, if he mentioned Prop 99. Mind you, I have no idea about the actual development in question.

  273. James Pollock says

    He says "any law student with a D-average or above understands that even the Supreme Court of this country would sneer at [the suggested use of eminent domain] because it's a governmental body taking for private usage."
    which is essentially correct, IF the use of eminent domain proposed IS a (wholly) private usage; Kelo didn't change that. Kelo DOES say that it's OK for private entities to gain advantage from a use of eminent domain, if there's an advantage to the public as well… vastly increasing the possible applications of eminent domain. He hasn't explicitly stated a key element of his assumption (there's no public benefit to the project he opposes), but if you infer it, he's right.

  274. James Pollock says

    I don't think it's really any kind of discussion of Kelo… rather, on whether Young Mr. Gibbs was aware of its existence and meaning.

    I'm not generally impressed by Mr. Gibbs' mastery of law, based on the extremely limited (and biased) evidence available to me, but I think he called that particular issue correctly (although with some sloppiness and hyperbole in the argument). I can hardly claim never to have been guilty of those offenses.

  275. says

    @KatAttack alas, to the best of my humble knowledge, you are incorrect.

    The brains is actually our Minnesota brothers. Steele comes next, then Lutz (possibly involuntarily) and Duffy. Recently Dugas was "promoted," but fortunately he did not have time to inflict too much harm. Dugas was meant as a replacement for Gibbs, who was effectively fell out of favor back in January.

    As for the other locals… Perea already left the ship, Nazaire is a clown, Goodhue and Anderson are sleazeballs that should be taken a bit more seriously, and by that I mean they should have their fair share of punishment too. Others (like a cheerful idiot Trenchi) are not worth mentioning.

    ..forgot about Hoerner: he is an incurable liar and parasite. Unfortunately he will be just fine protected by a stronghold of the IL St. Clair county judicial hole.

  276. Christenson says

    I see Gibbs *SAYS* he had cancer….but I don't have enough cross-checked, supporting detail yet to know whether I believe him.

    Question: Is the current poor employability of a few too many law school graduates related to the current trend of trolling? Is it a causal relationship?

  277. AlphaCentauri says

    Laugher — If Gibbs made any comments, they have been removed from FB and I can't see them. I assume you saw some. The "Prt Scr" button is your friend. ;)

    It's interesting that he worries about stuff being read by opponents enough to delete them, yet he keeps creating blogs and posting personal information on FB. He's either brain damaged or trying to feign it.

  278. Amused Onlooker says

    Gibbs seems to keep his Facebook presence private. I was inferring his optimism from his (then) girlfriend's report of his condition. I see no evidence that they disagreed, so the inference seems quite reasonable.

  279. KatAtack says

    @SDJ I can see the Brothers Hansmeier coming up with the idea and getting Steele behind it. But I cannot see Steele taking orders from them or anybody else not named Steele. Can you?

    I notice that you consider Lutz's participation to be possibly involuntary. Care to elaborate on that? Everything I have seen indicates that he is going about his assigned duties with a gusto.

    Not arguing…just discussing.

  280. AlphaCentauri says

    If my husband had a potential 81K judgment against him and a horde of web-savvy researchers backing his opponents, I'd delete my FB profile and his too. Or re-register under different names. I mean, WTF? A FB presence is more important than $81K?

  281. AlphaCentauri says

    Edit to previous comment: Probably someone other than the Prendanistas should be in charge of picking the pseudonyms, too. It wouldn't help to choose "Salt Marsh," would it?

  282. says

    @KatAtack: I did not suggest that "Steele takes orders," probably by saying that he is "second in command" was confusing, sorry about that. Steele and Hansmeiers are equally involved, yet when there is a tough situation, John listens to Paul more than the other way around.

    There are some speculations that S/H has something incriminating Lutz. Here is a brief story of recent events that makes this theory plausible:

    When Steele, feeling the heat of the Florida Bar, moved his office to Las Vegas back in September, Lutz refused to move and was "fired". Apparently (based on a series of John's drunken sprees), Steele's wife did not like the idea of moving either, and he all ended up spending half time in Vegas, half time with family in Miami.

    For some reason Lutz decided to permanently (or at least for a long term) move to Mexico. He sold all his furniture on Craigslist. He did move to Cabo some time in December and stayed in a hotel. Then something happened: Mark was arrested and transferred to Mexico City "for questioning", where he was kept in jail without food and drinking water for two days. When he was released, it appeared that all his belongings, including credit cards, were lost by the Federales. He was given 30 pesos and thrown out. He used this money to call Steele, and Steele rescued Mark: bought him a plane ticket to US. Since then Lutz never rebelled, moved to Las Vegas, signed a lot of bullshit affidavits etc.

    After March 11 hearing Steele considered evading service and hastily moved out of Las Vegas with office, Lutz etc back to Miami.

  283. says

    Correction : in "that all his belongings, including credit cards, were lost by the Federales," put quotation marks around "lost."

    Also, talking about the minor Prendatists, I forgot about Prenda's local in New England — Daniel Ruggiero. Ruggiero is in big trouble anyway for something unrelated to trolling, and most likely he is done as an attorney in the near future.

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

    Just read the article that Eli Rabett posted the link to. Get a load of this:

    Harris quoted Kauffman, the general counsel, as saying that any new survey that is distributed seeking information about campus climate would infringe on the university’s copyright, and that any such infringement "will be addressed by the University and could result in legal action,” including possible monetary damages.

    Kauffman said that anyone who has already seen the university’s survey, then puts together a supplemental one, could be considered to have derived the new survey from the existing one and could therefore be considered to have infringed the university’s copyright.

    Did Kauffman go to the same law school as the Prenda gang? That looks like a steamy pile of BS to me. That's not even a stretch. I'm still trying to figure out how he made that leap into crazy talk country.

  285. AlphaCentauri says

    I knew some people who lived in a dorm where Larry Biondi was chaplain back in the 70s. Even in that job, he had a reputation as a complete turd, and he made no secret of the fact that he was only occupying the post to fill out his resume for a future job as a university president. He only lasted a couple years, though – he moved back to the Jesuit Residence when some drunken student pranks designed to show how little he was respected went over the line.

    Apparently university board members are not so perspicacious when evaluating university president candidates as drunken college students are.

  286. AlphaCentauri says

    Dear Friend,

    Naturally, this letter will come to you as a surprise, since you do not know me. I am Barrister John.Briggs contacting you to kindly assist me in the proposition below, which will be of mutual benefit to us, both.

    An American, Mr. Mark Lutz, a very prosperous PARA-LAWYER, made a huge bank deposit, for investment in the sum of US$21.2Million(Twenty-one Million, Two hundred thousand United States Dollars) in the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. He named his son Salt Marsh as BENEFICIARY. I was called upon as an Accredited Attorney to the bank to sign and endorse documents to this deposit on Mr. Lutz's behalf. Unfortunately, Mr.& Mrs. Lutz were killed in the May 20, tornado that devastated Oklahoma City, USA killing many people. The bank management now mandates me (being the lawyer that Signed and Endorsed the deposit papers for the deseased to trace the family relativesof the deseased so that the fund will be releasing to them. I made several efforts to locate Salt Marsh or any other CHILDREN OF THE DESEASED,but to no avail. Failure to reach any of the family relatives of the deseased,the only option left for the Banks Management is to declare the deseased account DOMRANT and revert the fund on trading and investment in the interest of the bank. In order to avoid this development since it has so far been impossible to trace any of the deseased family relatives. I now seek your permission and assistance to have you stand as an ILLEGITIMATE CHILD to the deseased. So that the fund can be released to you and we can use it for our mutual benefit.

    I hope you do understand my concern in this matters, that if we do not use this opportunity to claim this fund, since the deseased relatives cannot be traced,the management of the bank will declare the deseased account DOMRANT and revert the fund on Trading and Investment in the interest of the Bank. For your assistance,you will be compensated adequately with(40%) of the total sum (55%) will be my own share while (5%) will be set aside to cover any INCIDENTAL EXPENCE made both at home and abroad prior to this transaction. If you are interested in assisting me with this proposal. please send to me urgently via my EMAIL at

    Upon hearing from you, I will work out every documents/proof representing you as the deseased BONA-FIDE ILLEGITIMATE CHILD and when this is done, you will be contacted by the bank for the release and collection of this fund, which will be within one week of my receiving the above details from you.

    I will meet with you in your country for disbursement after the fund might have been released to you and also to discuss investment potentials as I will like to invest in your country with your assistance. Be assured that this transaction is 100% risk free, as I have taken care of all necessary modalities to enable a hitch free transaction.Kindly ensure to treat this matter in strict privacy(Highly Confidential).

    Yours Sincerely

    John. Briggs Esq.

  287. Christenson says

    Well, if the board needs to know anything about the relationship between the faculty and the administration, the general counsel laid it out right in front of them!

  288. AlphaCentauri says

    @SJD — LOL, sorry, didn't see that.

    From the language used ("hitch free") I'm guessing we both cribbed from emails from the same spammer.

  289. KatAttack says

    @SDJ That is really interesting.

    You know, I'm a pretty good researcher and I've got the next couple of days off. I think I know how I'm going to spend at least part of my time. :-)

  290. says

    KatAtack: Great! The more eyes are looking, the less Prenda's dirt got unnoticed. Send me an email, and I'll give you a password to a protected page where we discussed/researched/croudsourced certain stuff before going public with certain stuff.

  291. Palimpsest says

    What puzzles me is that none of the Prenda cluster has shown up on Popehat to offer commentary. Can they be sufficiently clever to avoid the lure of that spotlight?

  292. orvis barfley says

    if nothing else today i'm pleased to know what sjd is abbreviation for. thank you.

  293. Christenson says

    They DO show up on DTD and FCT….but not under their own names…and they have this strange tendency to get named, shamed, and banned. Remember, the trolls think they are smarter than everyone else. For all we know, Patrick Non-White may have honeypotted them by now.

  294. That Anonymous Coward says

    @KatAttack – the trolls thought they could just roll over everyone, sadly they managed to piss off people with very unique skill sets. All I know is I wouldn't want the internet pissed off at me.

    @Christenson – some of them have shown up on TechDirt too. I'm pretty sure there was a Nazirne (sp) meltdown in a series of posts, and I've called Steele out.
    I don't think Steele has posted lately to Mr. Cashman's blog, but has in the past… I don't think he liked what I had to say…
    I think I might have recognized some style points in some Ars comments that might have been Steele, but those are few in number.

    I'd love for Steele to show up and comment here, sometimes its fun shooting fish in a barrel.

  295. mcinsand says

    @TAC, If Prenda et al had only done a little bit of digging, they might have looked at the lawsuits that The SCO Group started against IBM, Chrysler, AutoZone, and the rest of the tech world about a decade ago. Basically, it was the same thing, although MS did help the troll by backdoor funding through RBC and Baystar Venture Capital.

  296. whheydt says

    Re: mcinsand

    They probably wouldn't have thought the "SCO vs. everybody" suits applied to them, so they wouldn't have thought there was a lesson to be learned there. (Assuming they even heard about that particular mess.)

    FYI… What is left of SCO is trying to restart the case against IBM, but only it's own claims. IBM is saying.."sure, but open *both* sides up if that happens." Not sure what IBM can get out of it, but their reputation si probably worth whatever they need to spend and there is–apparently–a possibility of "piercing the corporate veil" as well as the potential to claw back some of the $30 million SCO spent on Boise, Schiller.

    For anyone unfamiliar with that particular set of cases, go read Groklaw.

  297. Matthew Cline says


    So far as I can tell Steele is the brains and Lutz is the muscle and the rest of them (with the possible exception of Hansmeier) are dupes.

    I'm not so sure that Gibbs is a dupe. Not only did he help out with the class action trolling that some of the other Prenda people did, but while doing so he claimed to be a lawyer at the apparently non-existent "Brett Gibbs and associates" law firm, and some other lawyers making a phone call from a Prenda phone line claimed to be associates at that firm.

  298. That Anonymous Coward says

    @mcinsand – they thought they were untouchable (probably still do).
    The business model is wonderful.
    Get lists of IP addresses, get subpoenas, send letters, get paid.
    Now some people might fight back, shut them up by adding porn to the mix.
    Porn sets many Judges into a bad frame of mind.
    Stealing sets many Judges into a bad frame of mind.
    Combine the 2… and viola.

    There have been little hiccups along the way.
    The 70 something they targeted who called it extortion and a scam and was worthy of special interest coverage… suddenly it was a mistake by the infallible system… still didn't apoligise for making her life hell.
    Having a database of names so large that they contacted Does who had lawyers in violation of the rules… because someone screwed up.
    Sending letters to patsys demanding payment after cutting a deal.
    Standing before a Judge and having to admit what they said in the filing wasn't actually true and now they needed more subpoenas for more parties because they target refused to play along.

    The sue everyone moment in this was filing the defamation suits, and they filed those much to late to stop the ball that was rolling. They didn't even bother to put up a case and I believe there were hijinks involved (I might be confusing this with another case) about filing amended complaints after answers were given and not giving notice of the amended complaint or getting permission…

    If I weren't such a humble, nice, giving person (heh) I might think that if a small group of anonymous people online can destroy an entire lawfirm and business model there are some serious problems with said lawfirm and business model.

  299. KatAttack says


    I'm not so sure that Gibbs is a dupe. Not only did he help out with the class action trolling that some of the other Prenda people did, but while doing so he claimed to be a lawyer at the apparently non-existent "Brett Gibbs and associates" law firm, and some other lawyers making a phone call from a Prenda phone line claimed to be associates at that firm.

    True, but to my way of thinking, the man is not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect. The radiation from the cancer treatments almost certainly would have had some (probably considerable) effect on his ability to process information effectively. They may not be able to think ahead or remember what has happened in the recent past. He may just be glad to have a job and isn't thinking too hard about what he is actually doing. Assuming he can *think* at all.

    He's a dupe in that he appears to be following his puppet masters directions to the best of his ability. Or, as Wright put it: Gibbs is a redshirt.

  300. That Anonymous Coward says

    @SJD – Its part of what I do well, and why you keep me around. :D

  301. AlphaCentauri says

    I didn't mean to imply the guy's a zombie or something. I just meant that there may be subtle problems, like difficulty staying organized, or difficulty changing course when something isn't working. He might be fine working in some jobs, but at a loss to know what to do in others.

  302. Bystander says

    Just my opinion, but Gibbs was at this for a long time and he must have known the sleaze factor involved.

    He may have been a lieutenant, but he was a willing one, and he shouldn't escape the consequences of his professional conduct.

  303. Billy V says

    @SJD so I noticed from the Az Response they e-mailed the defendant at a non existent e-mail address (the domain is not currently registered)… Wonder if that matters at all.

  304. That Anonymous Coward says

    @AlphaCentauri – And the narrative may or may not support that. The fact the the gibbs email and ECF access were open to anyone who wanted the password its hard to know what he actually filed.

    Going by his actual court appearances he seemed to be mostly together and on the ball.

    At this point it is conjecture that he may or may not have 'normal' functioning facilities, but given the scope of whats happening I'd prefer outside medical reviews before cutting any slack.

    He should not be allowed to trot out the but but but I have cancer card once again to garner sympathy.

    The reason this all has gotten this far, and so many other injustices in copyright troll cases, is because courts have faith that a lawyer would never knowingly mislead a court. When it is discovered it has happened, its often at worst a small wrist slap because it has to be an oversight and not the product of malice. Anyone think anything Prenda has done in court ever was a simple oversight and not calculated?
    If you said yes, I have an amazing offer for you… I own this bridge and I need to sell…

  305. James says

    @SJD Has Steele ever filed a police report on any of this mischief attributed to Cooper? Taking a chainsaw to load-bearing walls of a structure effectively destroys the building, there are allegations of gun theft, trailer theft, and more. At a minimum this constitutes aggravated criminal damage to property, grand larceny, and jaywalking.

    Are we to believe that John Steele, aka Mr. Litigation, just gave Cooper a pass on all of this for old times sake and that the police never got involved? Or that he had to file a substantial loss claim with his property insurer and they too just let it go without exercising their rights of subordination?

    Finally, is that picture posted on FCT a real image from Steele's property (I didn't see it on the uploading documents but you might have more data than I). I note a fully decorated Christmas tree in the foreground of the collapsed cabin photo which, if it is an actual picture, conflicts with the time line Steele asserts. The transcript suggests that Steele threw Cooper off the property in September. I usually put up my Christmas tree sometime after Thanksgiving, not around Labor Day. I know winter comes early in Minnesota but this is crazy.

  306. mcinsand says


    Oh, yes, I know Groklaw. I've been reading Groklaw almost daily since 2004. It isn't as raucous as this site, but the SCOX affair has been a true zombie of a lawsuit. Early on, it was more of a nailbiter, but now they only work harder and harder to make themselves look even more ridiculous.

  307. Christenson says

    @TAC and @KatAttack

    I am well beyond the point where I require independent confirmation of ANYTHING coming out of anyone associated with Prenda….whether Gibbs cancer and poverty, destroyed cabins, Cooper being broke, whatever.

    I suggest Judge Wright grease our skids on this cancer and poverty issue: Mercy for Gibbs, *IF* he is telling the truth, jail if he isn't. No license to pracice law, anywhere, and no further contact with Prenda in any case.

  308. AlphaCentauri says

    Of course, I don't know how law licenses are, but other licenses tend to have a checkbox when you renew that requires you to say there are no "medical" issues that might interfere with your practice of law. So if the "but but but cancer" gets him leniency in this case, it would be an issue in regarding whether he submitted fraudulent license renewal applications.

  309. says

    @Billy V – it's not a Goodhue's fault: it seems that Harris let his domain name expire and did not update the email. Does not really matter anyway: the defendant is actively follows the lawsuit. As a matter of fact, yesterday Harris filed his response.

  310. says

    @James: I'm not aware of police reports, insurance claims etc. There are people who are willing to investigate, so it is possible that these questions will be answered sooner or later.

    Of course it's not a picture of Steele's property (as a matter of fact, there is a disclaimer at the very bottom of the post). I'm just very fond of the reductio ad absurdum concept.

  311. James says

    @SJD I missed the disclaimer on the photo, but you need to be careful with the reduction ad absurdum when dealing with Prenda. Do you really think you are capable of coming up with anything as absurd as our friend Jacques? It becomes very difficult to separate the real from the completely made up!

  312. WDS says

    "David Harris should get a lawyer. His tone with the court is disrespectful and not helping his cause. His earlier filing"

    SJD has ran a request to try to get him pro bono help on here website.

  313. Mike says

    @WDS, thanks. If the guy can't get a lawyer, he should at least find someone who can look over documents before he submits them and help him strike a more respectful tone.

  314. says

    @WDS No, I did not: it was about another defendant, from IL. I know that DTD tried to find Harris a free representation, apparently he couldn't.

  315. jimmythefly says

    jimmythefly, and anyone else who is NAL, here are two Google search terms to ease your worried mind. The first is "fraudulent conveyance" and the second is "Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act". A few minutes with the Google plus some reading should tell you everything you want to know.


  316. Dan says


    There's no such requirement for attorneys in California or South Carolina (the two states where I'm licensed) when renewing your license.

  317. Wick Deer says

    In my jurisdiction, there is no requirement for the disclosure of medical issues. There is also no renewal of licenses to practice, although there is an annual registration fee and a requirement that you take continuing education courses.

  318. says

    @WSD: I'm lobbying for a new Rule of the Internet: to forbid apologizing for any Prenda-related confuses. It's simply above average citizen's abilities to 100% understand all the crookery.

  319. AlphaCentauri says

    Okay, well that explains a lot. The "medical" question is meant to refer to drug/alcohol addictions by limiting the query to whether the conditions cause impairment in the ability to carry out ones duties, so there's no room for argument about discriminating against people for a disability.

  320. That Anonymous Coward says

    IIRC our very own Jordan Rushie offered to assist Mr. Harris, but you can't attend the ball without an invitation.

    I note the tone in the latest Harris filing is pretty restrained compared to past filings.

  321. Matthew Cline says


    I'm not aware of police reports, insurance claims etc.

    But if they existed, wouldn't they have been included as exhibits?

  322. Basil Forthrightly says

    I'm expecting the response to the smear pleading to pointedly mention that said pleading is covered by the litigation privilege.

  323. Anonymous says

    Let me get this straight.

    Rosing previously filed a declaration from Steele's real estate agent, Brent Barry, who claims to have been a confidant of Cooper's for years, but Berry somehow forgot to mention that Cooper had chainsawed the cabins he was trying to sell? Even though according to Berry's statement his involvement with the property began before the alleged destruction took place? And even though the express purpose of that declaration was to undermine Cooper's credibility, Berry didn't think that was relevant at the time, that the guy he was talking about had chainsawed his sale?

    Steele didn't remind him, or bother to tell Prenda and the shell companies' attorneys about any of that, even though Cooper's claims were central to the OSC and Wright's findings?

    Here's the Berry declaration in case anyone wants to be reminded what a person who is not John Steele, and who is perhaps aware that actions have consequences, had to say about the Cooper/Steele relationship. It's a little bit less dramatic:

  324. Palimpsest says

    Perhaps we missed the Gibbs strategy. Maybe he's looking for a lifetime federal gig with paid room, board and medical treatment with the occasional conjugal visit tossed in.

  325. Christenson says

    I'm amazed at the incoherent, out-of-order jumble of messages in the declaration. Doesn't look like Barry is telling the whole truth, though…it is completely unclear in the declaration WHAT cooper was upset about, and mad enough to haul off some wood and no longer live (or whatever) on the property. Sounds to me like a breach of integrity became known (or his privacy with Shl was interrupted, or was doing too much fiddling with contractors), and Barry tried to convince him to stay on the property. I would take wood in the messages to mean stacked firewood. Love to hear what Cooper has to say of this.

    Then there is the vagueness: "Showing up with his girlfriend"…named ? who could corroborate….And what kind of "friend" doesn't go to the Dr's office when asked to?

  326. Anonymous says


    It appears that this new story is using the same Berry declaration that was filed in CACD for the Wright case. Either they didn't actually file it or it hasn't hit PACER, but the paragraph # references in Goodhue's filing match the previous Berry declaration. The new claims about chainsawing and gun theft are not corroborated by Berry in Goodhue's filing, they reference a Steele declaration that we also don't have. References to the two declarations are woven together in such a way that if one were not predisposed to treat everything coming from John Steele as bullshit, one might naively conclude that Berry provides 3rd party corroboration of the more outlandish claims, but he actually does not; it seems Steele and Goodue have taken the three month old Berry declaration that was likely true (if selectively, and stretched for Steele's benefit), and woven this new story around it to fill in the blanks with absurdity.

  327. That Anonymous Coward says

    And to think after they plead the 5th we sort of expected silence… silly us.

  328. WDS says

    A question for the lawyers in the house. Goodhue including the declaration and repeating parts of it in his filing are covered by the litigation privilege, but is Steele making the original declaration covered by the privilege as well????

  329. James says

    @Jim Tyre Interesting question Kelly raises, but a more interesting one is whether Judge Wright can let Gibbs off the hook for the judgment without inadvertently discharging them all. The case law on this point is mixed but the principle seems to be that with joint and several liability there is only a single debt but multiple obligations to pay it. However, if the single debt is settled as to one obligor then it is settled for all; the judge can't pick winners and losers except in a suit for contribution ex post. Here the judge had the power to allocate blame ex ante but he chose to go with joint and several liability and now he may be stuck with that decision.

    In short, Judge Wright can possibly let Gibbs off the hook as to the continuing sanctions which, technically speaking, are separate new penalties that arise every day for continued non-compliance, but his honor might have to keep Gibbs on the hook for the original $82K to insure that the other parties pay up as intended. Until then Gibbs will remain firmly stuck under the bus.

  330. Jim Tyre says


    Your good friend Goodhue just filed Notices of Appearance in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13.

  331. Dan says

    The interesting thing to me (well, one of them, anyway) is that still, nobody is willing to say, under oath, that Alan Cooper of MN is the person who signed the copyright assignment. Goodhue says it in his filing, which is not evidence and is not made under oath (and arguably violates Rule 11, as there is absolutely no evidence to support it). Steele? Doesn't say it. Barry? Doesn't say it. The only person who's addressed that question under oath is Cooper, who says he didn't.

    Is it true that the alleged vandalism to Steele's property, and theft of his firearms, are subjects of ongoing litigation between Steele and Cooper? I thought those cases were all defamation and identity theft.

  332. James says

    It must be true, it was in a sworn declara. . . wait, was it a Steele declaration? Anyway, if it is true and there really is a case then it should already have been docketed since these acts supposedly took place in September. And there must be a ton of evidence and repair bills if Cooper did, in fact, take a chainsaw to the load-bearing walls as that would make the cabin uninhabitable, yet Barry sold it so any damage must have been fixed.

  333. says

    @James: yes, I'm working on another post (mostly guest post) that asks this an some other questions.

    Also, I want to hear the legal opinion: now Steele's affidavit, which discusses, in part, what he refused to discuss in LA, is officially filed, does it mean that Steele effectively has waived his 5th Amendment rights?

  334. Burk says

    Anyone else find it odd that Goodhue's filing (which refers to Steele's affadavit) was made on 5/25, but Steele's affidavit is dated (and was notarized on) 5/28?

    Is there a reasonable explanation, short of a time machine?

  335. Christenson says

    @Jim Tyre:
    What about the Texas Judge with the picture of a fully-clothed Miss Wiggly standing on her head? He was ruling about city ordinances licensing strip joints, titled his brief something about the itsy-bitsy pasties!

  336. Jim Tyre says

    In Judge Wright's case, Duffy has filed a supersedeas bond in the sum of $101,650.00, and has scheduled a hearing (June 24, 1:30 pm) before Judge Wright for approval. It was filed on May 23, but because it was filed manually, it's just now showing up in ECF. The bond runs in favor of every person and entity sanctioned.

    Except Gibbs.

  337. Wick Deer says

    Throwing Gibbs under the bus is one thing. That move ties Gibbs to the railroad tracks.

  338. JR says

    Damn. I was waiting to see if wright was going to make them guests at the gray bar hotel.

    Now leaving Gibbs out… That's cold.

  339. Lucius says

    Does excluding Gibbs on the bond have any meaning, when the judgement is for "joint and several" liability?

    Wouldn't the bond be forfeit if an appeal is rejected, or just be returned/nullified otherwise?

  340. Jim Tyre says

    Lucius, excluding Gibbs means that Pietz can still go after Gibbs to collect, but not the others. (Gibbs has requested relief from Judge Wright, but there has not yet been a determination.

    The whole purpose of the bond is to insure that there is a pot to collect from if the appeal fails. If the appeal fails, Pietz will need to do very little at all by way of collection efforts.

    The premium on the bond was only a bit more than $1,000, but one wonders what security the surety required, and who put it up.

  341. Burk says

    @Jim –

    Maybe I'm just dense, but it sounds like Gibbs is covered in either event. If the appeal fails, the bond covers the sanctions; if it succeeds, there aren't any sanctions to pay. Am I missing something?

  342. Jim Tyre says

    @Burk, yes you are.

    You're talking about what happens when the appeal process ends. But if Pietz so chooses, and unless Gibbs gets relief from Judge Wright, Pietz can try to collect from Gibbs now.

  343. That Anonymous Coward says

    They obviously put up their very valuable copyrights…
    Look at this spreadsheet, see all of the money they can earn you?
    Now give us a bond, and it'll all be good.
    Its just 1 porn hating judge, those terrorists from the EFF, Anonymous, gays, and some people online… we'll get out of this no sweat.

    @SJD – IIRC (and well for the moment your my external brain) does Duffy have a buncha judgements and such against him? Might they be curious how he was able to cough up the grand before paying what he owed? One might wonder if they would like to see if any other property of value was used to secure this amount as well and figure out why they are out in the cold…

  344. Laugher says

    Shouldn't the penalty be excluded from he bond? If the appeal is successful they still owe the penalty.

  345. says

    @TAC: an interesting observation. I'm not sure about the judgments, but there are a couple of open lawsuits against him — all trying to collect dues. I'll follow up with those who watch Prenda shenanigans in Chicago. At very least we should attempt to notify plaintiffs in those Duffy cases. Would make an unbeatable argument for them.

  346. Laugher says

    Can Duffy move for acceptance of a bond involving parties represented by other counsel?

  347. Anonymous says

    Check out the date on the bond — although they didn't present it to the court until the 22nd, the bond itself was issued on May 16th! That's before their abortive attempt to get a stay from the court of appeals, and well before Judge Wright imposed his $7000/day penalty.

    This sounds like the Prenda crew knew full well they'd need a bond to appeal, and had one ready with several days to spare, but chose not to use it by the deadline. The bond is for 25% more than the original $81,000, too, which suggests that they expected to get charged an additional penalty for not paying on time.

    Why would they do that?

  348. Wick Deer says

    Actually, one scenario that is unlikely, but not impossible, is that the sanctions would be reversed as to all parties except Gibbs. If that were to occur, then Duffy gets his bond back. Given that Gibbs was caught red handed making false statements to the Court, the Prendateers may have decided his situation was beyond salvage.

  349. AlphaCentauri says

    Steele's affidavit is pretty clear that their business is copyright trolling, not distributing films.

    "8. During this conversation, I described how other people in the adult industry utilized my law firm's services, including smaller clients. Alan was very interested and asked me some questions about how to start such a business. I recall he liked the idea of working from home … I agreed to help him set up a company for him and help him out in getting started with his business."

    If this were about acquiring the rights to porn flicks in order to distribute them, Steele would hardly have been the one to advise Cooper. He's a lawyer, not a film distributor. His clients would be Cooper's competitors. He wouldn't have much reason to have many contacts among people who would be paying to view or screen films legally. It's pretty clear that starting "such a business" would involve merely acquiring films and then suing people for downloading them, with no other expertise required because no other distribution was going to occur.

    Had he admitted it this clearly in the past?

  350. Nicholas Weaver says

    Hmm, that bond really is "tie Gibbs to the tracks."

    I'm more interested not in the $1K to SureTec insurance, but rather what collateral the Prendarists had to put up to SureTec so that SureTec knows that it can get paid.

  351. Myk says

    Para.19 seems odd to me; the "professional" tone of the rest of the document disappears, the grammar collapses and Steele makes numerous allegations that could be considered libelous in other circumstances yet does not mention a single report to the police.

  352. Another anonymous NAL says

    Wow. So many questions with this bond. Ya gotta wonder though, what the Prendateers' local legal "of counsel" minions make of this strategy. "File some paperwork, don't sweat the details, and we'll have your back. Or not."

    Then there's the mystery surrounding the premium…not the amount, but the fact that it was posted by Duffy, the debtors-r-us poster child.

    As for the bond's collateral, the only thing I could think of that would work would be selling Lutz' unborn offspring into indentured servitude.

  353. mcinsand says

    Regarding tying people to the tracks, could the bond also be a move to reduce Gibbs' motivation to tie his cohorts to the tracks? He was claiming to try to address the issues, which, to me, looks like it could have been an opening to give him a choice of spilling his guts in exchange for some relief. Could posting the bond have been a way to try to keep Gibbs quiet for a while longer?

  354. James says

    The strategy is brilliant although incredibly sleazy. Prenda can go into court and assert the Sergeant Shultz defense, blaming all the lies and procedural irregularities on an "independent frolic" by Gibbs. While it makes Prenda look bad for failure to supervise their agent, it might well get them off the hook and stick Gibbs with the bill for $82K.

    The downside is that they forfeit the bond when they lose the appeal, but they can still bring a contribution action against Gibbs. That would just be out of spite since they are unlikely to collect a penny if what Gibbs represents to be his financial situation is true, but it would be consistent with Prenda's terror tactics.

  355. AlphaCentauri says

    The strategy could backfire depending on the degree of criminal culpability. If he cooperates with investigators and they suffer criminal consequences far greater than an $82 penalty, Wright could then forgive the joint and several debt against them all, because they won't have anything left either, then.

  356. Jim Tyre says

    The bond is for 25% more than the original $81,000, too, which suggests that they expected to get charged an additional penalty for not paying on time.

    Why would they do that?

    There are exceptions to every rule (except, of course, to the rule that there are exceptions to every rule), but the general rule of thumb is that the bond needs to be 25% more than the underlying amount. That's because the bond is there not only to secure the original amount, but also interest and costs which accrue while the case is on appeal.

    Sorry, but no Prenda deviousness here. '-)

  357. Jim Tyre says

    Expected and anticlimactic, but Judge Wright just granted Gibbs' request to withdraw.

    Having shown good cause, the Court hereby GRANTS Brett Gibbs’s Request to withdraw as attorney of record for this case. (ECF No. 169.)

    May 29, 2013

  358. Jim Tyre says

    Cooper and Godfread have a nice Reply Brief in support of their motion to dismiss Duffy's libel suit in Illinois. (It appears that RECAP has everything from that case, but my recollection is that Popehat barfs if multiple links are included in a single comment.)


    Any damage, real or imagined, to Plaintiff’s reputation or that of his firm’s is entirely self-inflicted.

  359. LW says

    Re Duffy's bond: Judge Wright ordered "This penalty [$7K per day] shall be paid to the Clerk of Court on the same day the attorney’s-fee award is paid or the bond is posted." I haven't seen any mention that it was paid. What happened?

  360. Mike says

    @ LW, reading Duffy's bond motion, it appears the answer is no. Instead of paying the penalty to the clerk of the court, they simply accounted for that amount in the bond (see footnote 2). This doesn't seem to be in line with my interpretation of the May 21 order, which is that the penalty had to be paid to the clerk at the same time the bond was posted (i.e., not included in the bond).

    I guess we'll see what Judge Wright has to say about this on June 24.

  361. says

    While James warned me about the perils of applying redictio ad absurdum to Prenda, I'm happy to note that Jason Sweet uses this method (latest link by Jim Tyre):

    Is it now the Plaintiff’s contention that whenever Godfread and Cooper felt compelled to defame Plaintiff they traveled several hours to and from Illinois to do so?

  362. Jim Tyre says

    BloombergBusinessweek has a very long article today on Prenda. Not much there that those here don't know, but nice to see such extensive coverage in a non usual suspect source.

    Tony Smith had a porn problem. A 27-year-old nursing student in Collinsville, Ill., Smith was listening to music and doing homework one night last August when he heard a knock on his apartment door. He opened it and an imposing-looking man with a flashlight handed him a lawsuit and his business card. A name was written in pen on the back. “Give this guy a call, he can help you get through this,” the man told Smith. “He’s looking out for people like you.” Smith turned it over and read the name: John Steele.

    According to the complaint, Smith was accused of conspiring with 6,600 anonymous people to hack into computers owned by Lightspeed Media, an Arizona adult-entertainment company, and steal its porn. Before serving him with the lawsuit, Smith recalled, Chicago’s Prenda Law firm had mailed him threatening letters for three months. “They always said that if I went ahead and wrote a check for $4,000, they’d drop it,” Smith says. Because he didn’t know how to hack into anything and didn’t have any illegally downloaded porn on his computer, he’d thought it was a scam and ignored it.

    Assuming Steele was a defense attorney, Smith called him. He says Steele explained the allegations and offered to help. Steele asked about Smith’s job (school made full-time work impossible), his roommates (none), and his computer (an old hand-me-down). The two talked for several minutes before Steele mentioned that he worked with Prenda, helping on a lot of its cases. Smith became suspicious and hung up. After an hour of frantic Googling, he determined that Steele “didn’t just work with Prenda, he ran Prenda,” he says. “That’s when I knew, I’m never talking to this guy again.”


  363. Anonymous says

    She talked to Paul Pilcher, owner of Hard Drive Productions and one of the Steele's actual clients. Fascinating:

    "Getting information out of [Steele and Hansmeier] was honestly kind of painful," he says. "They claimed they didn’t want me to have records of specific things in case something happened."

    Wow, that's pretty damning considering how things turned out for them. I'm guessing Paul will end up talking to criminal investigators–I don't think they'll be after him but will want any documentation, interviews to piece together Prenda's organization, where the money went, etc.

    There are a lot of people who thought they were collecting trouble-and-responsibility-free checks who may end up sweating it a little bit. They may have civil liability coming their way too.

  364. says

    Clair started writing this piece back in March. I don't know how many hours did she spent, I assume a lot. I saw a lot of examples of sloppy reporting in so called "big media": Clair's work is the very definition of the opposite to "sloppiness." The number of people she interviewed (including yours truly) to get 100% understanding of the trolling world is staggering. Great job!

  365. Trent says

    I'm more interested not in the $1K to SureTec insurance, but rather what collateral the Prendarists had to put up to SureTec so that SureTec knows that it can get paid.

    A typical non-lawyer employee like an accountant is going to cost around $100 a hour when you factor in benefits and overhead. This number is fairly consistent across a fairly broad range of salaries. With that in mind a fee of $1000 dollars, a profit of 10% and some expenses and you have a fee that covers 8 hours of work. To execute and prepare all the paperwork necessary for something like this probably takes a couple hours and to wind it down and disburse the money probably takes a couple more hours. A good manager is going to double hours that small to cover for any necessary extra paperwork.

    Given that $1000 barely covers the issue and redemption of the "bond" that leaves no money to cover collection of hard assets. To me that means that a deposit of cash in the full amount was made or that hard assets with significantly more value than the bond were posted. If I was wagering money I'd write the hard assets off, there isn't significant charge to appraise and value hard assets. This was a cash transaction.

  366. Anonymous says

    Indeed, she had a great research team ;)

    Internet Bro Fist, SJD!

    ……….¸¸…/………. ¯.·¸
    ……..(¸(…´…´…. _~\¸…¸)

  367. That Anonymous Coward says

    *looks at SJD*
    I'm always the damn bridesmaid… I'm starting to think people have a hard time getting past the avatar and the use of the word pookie…

  368. James says

    It must be tough to be John Steele or one of his attorneys. Every fact in every declaration you file is cross-checked by a small army of people and discrepancies are immediately posted to Popehat and FCT.

    "I had a hamburger and salad with Alan Cooper at McDonalds . . ."

    No you didn't; I work at McDonalds and you had the filet of fish and a large fries.

  369. That Anonymous Coward says

    @James – How do you know a Steele statement is questionable?
    When he's not pleading the 5th!

  370. Trebuchet says

    I check these comments for new info/links about twice a day. Thanks everyone. That said, I sure hope Ken gets done with his trial soon, if only to start a new thread! 450+ comments on this on is a lot of scrolling.

  371. mcinsand says

    @trebuchet, one way to save on the scrolling is Ctrl-pagedown and then scroll up.

  372. AlanF says

    I just keep a Firefox (20.0 on Ubuntu) tab open to this page and refresh it whenever I want to check for new comments. It refreshes right to the last comment I viewed.

    Still, I hope that Ken's trial ends soon and well for his side. His insight and commentary helps me understand many of the subtle aspects of these cases.

  373. Matthew Cline says

    From the Businessweek article, and also discussed at Techdirt, it turns out that a former Prenda porn-producer company client (before they switched entirely to shell companies) had a difficult time getting information from Steele and Hansmeier about his cases, and that they said "They claimed they didn't want me to have records of specific things in case something happened."

    Guess that's another reason they started using shell companies: no independent clients to ask them uncomfortable questions.

  374. Damian says

    "Guess that's another reason they started using shell companies: no independent clients to ask them uncomfortable questions."

    Along with that pesky thing about having to split their settlement booty with real clients.

  375. James says

    John Henry really should give up the practice of law and become a cartoonist full-time; the boy has some mad skills (but what happened to S|H 45 ?).

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

    Reflecting on all of this makes me wonder. Should we be thanking Steele, Hansmeier, et al.? Their actions are bringing down the whole Copyright Patent Troll Industry©.

    You now have judges asking uncomfortable questions and issuing sanctions if they don't get answers. You have case reassignments from one judge to another. No reasons were stated I could find but I would think that it's due to them being too easy on the discoveries, have conflicts of interest, or they are outright troll sympathizers.

    Of course this isn't going to make them go away, but it is making life very difficult for the trolls. Even if they set up a quasi legal shell corp to enforce their "rights", the granting of Doe severance on alleged serial infringing cases is going to make suing for their rights an expensive proposition. That's not the troll's style. They'd have to work at it. No more easy money.

  377. JR says

    "No more easy money."

    That is the point. I know a bunch of people that are very anti-copyright, think the RIAA is just as bad as Prenda and others. However, I do a lot on the side with music and know lots of people both primary and secondary that make their full time living on music. Copyrights and the enforcement of them is important. Judge Wright said it on his order… You can defend your copyrights, you just have to do it the right way.

    You can't make up things and file documents you know are frauds.

    As much as I would love to see Steele and company getting whipped, I fear that it might result in changes to the copyright laws making it much harder for a small guy like me to fight people that outright steal my works.

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

    @JR I'm with you. I'm around music as well. I'm pro-copyright, but anti-Prenda. I don't want any changes made to make it harder for legitimate copyright holders (preferably the ones who produced the work) to preserve their rights. Enforcing those rights is pretty onerous as it is.

    Unfortunately these sorts of abuses of the system (I'm talking to you, Prendanistas) very often lead to bad law and the full wrath of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

  379. That Anonymous Coward says

    "Unfortunately these sorts of abuses of the system (I'm talking to you, Prendanistas) very often lead to bad law and the full wrath of the Law of Unintended Consequences."

    The bad law and unintended consequences often goes the other direction, slamming down on the public who actually are a stakeholder in copyright (even if they are uniformly ignored). Take the last several 'Public Domain Days' and note how empty the list is.
    SOPA, the bastard children of SOPA, trade agreements, and reports demanding more powers and rights… all in a neverending battle against piracy that could simply be ended if they abandoned the 1950's mentality of the world cut up into chunks. Giant multinational corporations who created a system so convoluted to grab a few more pennies they can't/won't release content everywhere at once expecting people will wait.
    This is not a defense of 'piracy' but an observation that it seems mostly to be a response to a business model unwilling to actually sell things to consumers when the consumers want it. Instead relying on an outdated chart that tells them how long they are supposed to make people wait to build demand… ignoring the 100 other things available to them now they will pick up instead.
    There is a place for copyright, but it really is time to rollback many of the stupid Mickey Mouse changes that seem to have no benefit other than to prop up a lazy business model.

  380. jimmythefly says

    Excuse me, not copyright, patents, duh. Still interesting, but not nearly as related to the Prenda business. I've just got Trolls on the mind.

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


    I agree with you on the lazy business model. If the recording industry had embraced the new digital media instead of clinging to what they thought might keep working, they'd be in better shape. The iTunes store doesn't seem to be begging for customers.

    I'd like to see some change on the RIAA side of things regarding compensation for the artists. Here's an article that goes into the details of an artist recording and performing their music and what it costs them.

    That's pretty eye-opening.

  382. AlphaCentauri says

    A lot of the music industry's business has depended on the contracts it makes with artists — choosing the ones that have potential to be profitable, getting long range contracts with the ones with the best long range prospects with compensation that will get them to sign but still provide a profit for the company, arranging for tours and promotional events to sell the recordings, etc. It also depended on the customer not having the ability to look elsewhere if the music and concerts are overpriced and the artists are riding on their past glory. Their whole raison d'etre was to be the intermediary between the musician and the consumer. They're going to have to find something more useful to do with themselves rather than just refining the buggy-whip.

  383. Anonymous says


    Interesting to note that with a few notable exceptions like Metallica it has been primarily the parasitic middle men who have gone apoplectic over modern technology. The artists seem to more likely to land between indifferent and supportive of file sharing, digital distribution models, etc.

    Now arguably, as the Recording Industry Association, by definition they represent the interests of their members, etc. So you can argue that by being RIAA members the studios, artists, etc. are tacitly supporting RIAA policy and outsourcing the work. Sort of like how our politicians represent our interests… In any case it is interesting to see the passion gap between the artists and industry old guard.

  384. says

    Harris filed yet another emotional response:

    Counsel for Plaintiff must have bumped his head prior to writing this section of his response, I will not dignify this piece of tripe with a reply.

    III. […]

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

    "…it has been primarily the parasitic middle men who have gone apoplectic over modern technology."

    Apoplectic they are. They recognize what's happening. Instead of them being the sole distributor of an artist's work, anyone with a computer and a YouTube Channel can publish their own videos. Anyone with a website can sell their own music and merchandise.

  386. Jim Tyre says

    So you can argue that by being RIAA members the studios, artists, etc. are tacitly supporting RIAA policy and outsourcing the work.

    Artists are not RIAA members (or at least not artists as artists). RIAA membership is record labels, period. There are some indie labels that are owned by artists that are either direct or indirect members. There are also many indie labels that have nothing to do with RIAA.

  387. Jim Tyre says

    Prenda Law Prior Art

    Of course, prior art isn't especially relevant to copyright, it's a concept limited to certain aspects of patent law. Still, I happened upon some, erm, amusing, Prenda Law "prior art" from a decade ago:

    Three Beverly Hills attorneys who have sued thousands of small business owners for unfair business practices face possible disbarment after the State Bar moved last month to lift their law licenses.


    According to bar attorney Jayne Kim, the Trevor lawyers conspired to create a group called Consumer Enforcement Watch, which she called "a shell corporation created solely for the corrupt purpose of making money."

    With CEW as the plaintiff, Trevor filed lawsuits against automotive repair shops and restaurants for violations listed on the web sites of the Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

    The lawyers typically then contacted the defendants in an effort to obtain settlements of thousands of dollars. Bar prosecutors said the Trevor lawyers used hostile tactics including threats of further action, such as reporting the defendants to the IRS or the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and demands that the defendants produce three to five years of business records, including confidential information such as tax returns.


  388. Christenson says

    Does this Harris guy really live at Caballero (Cowboy) St? He really does need some help with those pleadings! I am also having trouble with a few mis-scanned lines on the PDF.

    Mr Harris, I hope the judge calls you out and tells you to get counsel….you are way too mad about this (for good reason!) to think and write straight.

  389. That Anonymous Coward says

    Mr. Harris might benefit from some legal assistance, but for the IAAL's and the standard legal watchers if you step out for a moment he represents the face of every single Doe targeted in these things.

    He faces a system where courts appear to accept what lawyers tell them without question… even when you can show they are lying. The lawyers get the benefit of the doubt, where if Mr. Harris made a small misstatement he would be raked over the coals for trying to mislead the court.

    @Jim Tyre – IIRC some news show did an expose on them at some point. I have vague memories of them running from the reporters.

    @He really said that…?!? – This is the problem with the RIAA. They are only well paid if there is an enemy they are doing battle with. They have had their income cut, IIRC, on several occasions in the past few years. They are committed to the ZOMG PIRATES ARE ROBBING YOU! mantra and they have the ear of the labels. If you just pay us some more money, we can win the war.

    Sometimes things outlive being useful and then begin a battle to stay alive. There was a recentish news report about the group that was selected to run the Oklahoma Bombing Victims fund (or similar title). There was a young man who was injured as a child who needed more care and was trying to get access to funds from the body. His family was hitting a brick wall, and when people started looking the oversight group was donating cash to other causes and things extending and expanding their mission… but here was someone directly injured by the event, an obvious beneficiary… but unable to get the help that was supposed to be provided.

    The RIAA formed to help solve issues for the labels. They created the record groove standard. They did this, they did that… they now exist to expand copyright law and try and hold back innovation. The foil for the attack is PIRATES STEALING BILLIONS!

    They attacked iTunes, yet they were unwilling to use their resources to build a viable competitor.
    They demand more cash for rights to do something online that they charge less for in meatspace.
    They talk a fun game but the RIAA can not have the best interests of the industry at heart. The primary interest is keeping the RIAA employed.

    The largest problem facing old guard content producers (film,music,pron, etc.) is thinking this is just a fad or that they can make as much as they always did as the costs drop.
    Seeing how well the **AA's hold back the future, pron has finally awoken to the lets sue them to get back the money they cost us in our minds.

    One need only look at the Eminem lawsuit to see how sick the industry is.
    The word means 1 thing for some people and a different thing at other times.
    Oh your going to sue us!? We'll just expense our legal costs against your account with us.
    Oh crap you noticed we never paid you your share of the YouTube settlement cash?

    They always skimmed from artists, but now one can blame it on PIRATES! rather than creative accounting. And then some people drink the kool-aid like Metallica, convinced people sharing their music cost them millions not the accounting. So a band that told their fans to record their shows and share them with others to get famous then say screw the fans your ripping us off! Or maybe the special accounting used by these industries needs to be looked at, and see what those clauses in your contracts really meant.

  390. Nicholas Weaver says

    I wonder if the Prenda "sham client troll" scam ends up being much more common that lawyers would let on.

    E.g. Apple appears to be fighting a patent troll lawsuit, where one of the lawyers at one of Apple's own law firm and his wife created a patent troll company!

    Ars has an article on this.

  391. naught_for_naught says

    For those who don't regularly listen to NPR, This American Life covered a related topic this weekend, Patent trolling, in their show titled When Patents Attack…Part Two!. Act Two is particularly interesting as it deals with the patent suit involving online-back up technology, Intellectual Ventures, Carbonite and a shady figure named Chris Crawford. This excruciating tale of bad behavior and litigation comes down to the single question, "What does an apostrophe really mean?"

  392. Colin says

    I've been wondering when/if someone was going to put evidence together to argue to a court that Prenda is it's own initial pirate. Odds on how soon the plaintiffs attempt to dismiss this suit with prejudice?

  393. Nicholas Weaver says

    Colin: They already had. Its Seyfert trying to get attorney's fees in this case.

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

    From the article that TAC posted, with p*rn changed to Pron:

    "It also appears that Prenda Law also wants to/has formed/is forming a corporate structure where it is: pronography producer, copyright holder, pronography pirate, forensic investigator, attorney firm, and debt collector. Other than the omission of appearing in the pronography themselves…"

    And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a classic example of vertical integration. John S. really should consider a new career in the adult entertainment biz as a performer and make that a true vertically integrated company, especially since his current career prospects are looking grim. He's already got the his name going for him.

  395. Anonymous says

    @He really said that…?!?

    Steele's attempt to vertically integrate the scheme has been noted and commented on extensively on the troll-busting blogs.

    The obvious conclusion is that they just didn't want to share money with real clients, but it is looking like it may have been a more desperate and pragmatic motivation, which is that it may not be possible to profitably and legally sustain the business. This is something Wright alluded to specifically in his sanctions order.

    In addition to taking money, real clients had other problems like not enjoying having their addresses published online, so that everyone could see they live in a state where porn production is illegal according to the AG, and that they are producing porn in very close proximity to several schools, etc. Or they may lose their nerve when there is a counterclaim or a lawsuit against them.

    But beyond that, as precedent was set against the easiest money, mass-Doe trolling schemes, I suspect it wasn't really profitable after all. And that is why we saw some pretty sad intimidation attempts from Prenda in the form of robodialer harassment and "voluntary discovery" requests. Steele never wanted to file against one Doe at a time and certainly didn't want to name anyone and follow through to trial, and that is why things fell apart so spectacularly in Wright's courtroom, they really never had a plan for what happens when they get to the point that they have to put up or shut up.

    Remember how even the RIAA couldn't sustain a litigation campaign against file sharers? They were doing it more to make a point than purely for profit, but even so, they had vastly greater resources and expertise than Prenda and they still gave up.

    I think after giving it a go in a reasonably legitimate fashion (although Paul Pilcher's claim that they didn't want him keeping records "in case something happened" is awfully suspicious), the easy money dried up and Steele got stuck having to decide to give trolling up or really work for it. It must have become clear that filing against each Doe, doing an investigation, possibly going through with discovery and even some trials, and then having to pay taxes on the settlement money just wasn't going to pencil, or at least wasn't going to sustain the lifestyle he wanted.

    So, with an obsessive inability to let it go and a sociopath's lack of a conscience he decided to go fully illegitimate, evade taxes, own the shell companies, use ID theft to build the companies, etc, etc.

    Right now, the only Troll left that superficially appears to be trying to do it legitimately is Keith Libscomb and Malibu Media. But even there there are some big questions, like their constant delaying of trials, refusal to produce discovery, etc. Apparently jury selection will begin June 6 for their bellwether trials, so we may soon crack open another trolling operation and get another look at just what it takes to make money in this business.

  396. That Anonymous Coward says

    Lipscomb and MM doing it legit?!
    *falls over*

    Your Honor we need 2 months so I can hire an expert to verify that the software we use works like I said….

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

    @Anonymous-I'm pretty new to the troll-busting blogs and am still catching up. There's so much reading to catch up on with these guys. :)
    By no means was that meant as an original observation, just a comment that came forth from my memories of business classes in college.

    I also noticed in the Exhibit K mentioned above that it looks like they were taking one pron file and putting different names on it. So same file, different names. The sheer chutzpah of those guys. One work, multiplied by however many names they slap on it, and then they send out the give us around $4,000 dollars and we'll make it go away letters. Wow.

    And seeding their own works for the taking. I could almost have some admiration for these guys if they weren't on the Dark Side.

  398. Jim Tyre says


    For those who don't regularly listen to NPR, This American Life covered a related topic this weekend, Patent trolling, in their show titled When Patents Attack…Part Two!.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama Administration will be announcing a series of executive actions aimed specifically at the patent troll problem.

  399. Anonymous says

    @Jim Tyre

    How about just aggressively and mercilessly prosecuting fraud upon the court, which is what lots of IP trolling is? Seems like there is a terrible reluctance to make lawyers obey the law.

  400. Basil Forthrightly says

    After reading Exhibit K, the phrases that came to mind where: RICO, piercing the corporate veil, the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege.

    I understand the first two fairly well as they apply here, but the 3rd doubtless has nuances.

  401. Jim Tyre says


    I'm feeling a bit lazy to go find the brief discussion of the crime fraud exception earlier in the 7 billion comments on this post. But it's more likely to apply in states which follow the American Bar Association Model Rules (many, not all) than in some states which don't.

    Here in CA, we have our own rules. The c-f exception is much more narrow here, and wouldn't apply here.

  402. Anonymous says

    @Jim Tyre and Basil

    That Exhibit K is from a Florida case. I know it's hard to keep track since Popehat's articles have been covering a CACD case, but Prenda's shenanigans are everywhere.

    The case was actually voluntarily dismissed by Prenda last December and Syfert is still working on a fee award. Seems like overachieving but it is great to get his investigator's analysis into the public record and hopefully it will fuel the fire for Prenda's BBQ. At the very least it would be great if he were able to provoke a response/denial from Prenda and Steele, I'm sure that would be a great work of fiction and full of more holes and perjuries.

  403. Basil Forthrightly says

    @Jim Thanks, your comment reminded me of the discussion on c-f, regarding Gibbs. Since the facts are exhibit K are "portable", applicable to every case and settlement in the country at least that involved the sharkmp4 files and as a colorable argument the whole enterprise, I wonder about the other local counsel, as well as the possibility of, say, immunizing Duffy and compelling testimony. Also, I don't know much about work product privilege, but I would assume that anything used in furtherance of a criminal enterprise would be at risk of losing privilege.

    And having slept, I've also wondered about those who've settled. I've not seen a Prenda settlement agreement, but I'm familiar with the idea that such agreements often have clauses precluding (re)-litigation by both sides. Naively, I would argue that such a clause ought to be "against public policy", void and unenforceable, when a party committed such egregious fraud to create the conditions leading to the settlement, but I'm clueless on the case law. Alternately, I suppose a class action by settlers could argue that Steele in his proper person committed a tort by inducing the situation, and that the settlement only binds the settler vis-a-vis the copyright holding shell.

  404. earthclanbootstrap says

    Since I know that he swings by here on occasion, just in case Delvan Neville happens to stop by:

    Huzzah! Accolades! Bravo, Sir, I say Bravo! A job well done, and with attention to detail and a pithy style. Reading all of that laid out in such detail made my afternoon, and thank you for your work in helping to call these sleazebags to account. Oddly enough, I remember you musing on the possibility of all of this a while back, and all that I can say, again, is thank you and excellent job!

  405. Nobody says

    > Alternately, I suppose a class action by settlers could argue that Steele in his proper person committed a tort by inducing the situation, and that the settlement only binds the settler vis-a-vis the copyright holding shell.

    That would be a hilariously awesome way to use the shells against them. I can only hope such a thing happens.

    In the mean time, we need Ken to write more about this. It has been too long…..

  406. Jim Tyre says

    Just in case folks have forgotten about the case before Judge Wright. '-)

    Morgan Pietz has filed a partial opposition to Duffy's motion for approval of the bond which was posted. He argues both that the amount is insufficient and that there should be additional conditions imposed on the bond already posted and a new bond to cover the deficiency.

    (For the other elements of the filing, substitute "175.0" with 175.1, 175.2 and 175.3, respectively.)

  407. Real says

    @Jim, I thought I read on Ars that Judge Wright already approved the bond. Am I incorrect?

  408. earthclanbootstrap says

    Just read the Pietz opposition filing and his descriptions of how the Prenda crew behaved during the whole bond issue…

    Wow, at the risk of sounding crass- It's like those boys really wanna piss gasoline on a bonfire.

  409. Anonymous says


    You mean responses like:

    "You had no substantive points. If you think of some and can articulate them coherently I would be glad to consider them. Thanks for thinking of me."


    "Thanks for your message Sir/Madam! Unfortunately, due to your inappropriate language and messages, which are within the access of my young children, I must place you in my "spam" filter. Unfortunately, I delete such messages daily without reading them. I wish you a speedy recovery, and make it a GREAT day!"

    Don't even know what to make of that. Sounds like someone took too many drugs and/or suffered a complete breakdown. Or Duffy is actually an android built by the same guys who made the Prenda robodailer and form letter generator that couldn't even insert the targets' names properly.

    I thought those might be some weird automated response but I googled the text and didn't get any hits for those responses. Maybe Steele has control of the "Duffy" email and is causing trouble.

  410. says

    I also received an email from TBP yesterday with the same log and one line : "Hope it can help to identify if sharkmp4 is Prenda!"

    It also had sharkmp4's email. I sent a greeting to John/Paul/Peter 5 min ago.

  411. Eric says


    Would love to know what you said and if they reply. This is just too much fun to turn away from. I have checked in on this page daily hoping for new shenanigans. I don't know if it will be a good or bad thing once this comes to fruition. I almost hate to see it end, it is too entertaining. But, then again to see these idiots get their just desserts will be awesome too.

  412. says

    That's the entire text:

    Ohai John/Paul/Peter!

    I saw you buying rolls and rolls of toilet paper recently. Why?

    Childish, isn't it? But I already did not grow up.

    Don't expect any reply, but if I receive one, of course I'll make it available.

  413. apauld says

    @SJD- I personally would've gone with something about buying lots of soap on a rope, but each to her/his own…

  414. Jim Tyre says

    Up in San Francisco, in AF Holdings v. Navasca, Nick Ranallo has just made a motion for approx $22K attorney fees and costs for Morgan Pietz and him. (Sorry, I couldn't RECAP it.) A lot of the usual stuff, and now the second use of the Delvan Neville declaration. Hearing before Judge Chen on July 18 at 1:30 pm

  415. earthclanbootstrap says

    @ Anonymous

    Yeah, that's the stuff alright. I mean, who does that? They have to know that's going to end up in the record. Have they just decided to go out in a ball of flame?

  416. Basil Forthrightly says

    Now I'm hoping that Neville has continued to monitor those hashes; I'm suspecting that with the cat coming out of the bag, Prenda will be dumb enough to stop serving the torrents, thereby confirming via macro-level traffic analysis.

    Ideally, someone would do micro-level traffic analysis before it shuts down, pulling torrents at intervals and comparing the traffic volume coming out the VPN nodes with the traffic volume at the suspected source IPs at 6881 and/or Prenda. Of course that would require ISP cooperation (subpoena), and if someone's getting that, they can look at traffic from the suspect IPs to the VPN ingress addresses too.

    Folks that think a VPN proxy hides them enough when their home IPs are likely to be scrutinized are grossly naive, ie ready for the big leagues.

  417. James says

    I know this has been discussed before, but I don't think there has been a clear answer. The secrecy of the various Prenda shenanigans are protected to some extent by application of the attorney-client privilege doctrine, but the privilege is a right of the client and not that of the attorney.

    So if Gibbs (or Duffy) were granted use immunity and were directed by the court to testify on all matter Prenda they could be compelled to do so absent an objection by the client. I assume that in normal cases a corporate or LLC client asserts privilege through an action directed by its CEO subject to their specified powers under the articles of incorporation and/or a board of director's resolution, or by the managing member pursuant to the operating agreement for an LLC.

    So how does a legal person assert privilege if they don't want to open the kimono and reveal the true owners? You can't have it both ways, or can you?

  418. Anonymous says

    @James, that would be awesome. I'd love to see Judge Wright do that.

    JW: orders Prenda attorney to do something.
    Prendator: Atty/Client Privilege!!!!
    JW: OK. Fine, get your client in here so I can ask him if he waives privilege.
    Prendator: Uh… uh…

  419. kyzer says

    @ Jim Tyre – thanks for the Navasca update. I have a hard time keeping up with everything going on!

    BTW, if anyone is interested, here are sharkmp4's files on pirate bay. Last one was back in February.

  420. Dan Weber says

    I'm not sure how trustworthy the court would take TPB's assertions. Are they willing to be deposed in court about their logs?

  421. anne mouse says

    James, the privilege can cover the identity of the client.

    Notice that Pietz hasn't had to reveal the name of his client, no matter how many times Prendateers accuse him of not having one.

    The difference being that there is actual *evidence* that Prenda is representing itself. Wright may not be able to compel Prenda to ID the client, but the unrebutted evidence can be (and was) used as a basis for various sanctions.

  422. anne mouse says

    By the way, you contradict yourself:

    the privilege is a right of the client and not that of the attorney.

    So if Gibbs (or Duffy) were granted use immunity and were directed by the court to testify on all matter Prenda they could be compelled to do so absent an objection by the client.

    No, assuming there is a client, a lawyer cannot spill the client's secrets unless they obtain the permission of the client. (with certain exceptions eg criminal-fraud in certain jurisdictions.) The lawyer's own fifth amendment rights are irrelevant.

    I think even if you promised criminal immunity to the client, the duty of confidentiality would still exist. (That would be a very unlikely scenario anyway. If you promised immunity to the lawyer and to the client, who could you prosecute?)

  423. James says

    Thanks for the replies regarding privilege. While this smacks a bit of the "it ain't fair" rule, I suppose if we want Joe Doe to remain anonymous you take the good with the bad. This could have been the perfect business model if they hadn't screwed it up so badly.

  424. Anonymous says


    I don't know, I suspect the reason they screwed up so badly is because the business model is not that good. At least once courts block nationwide joinder and then pretty much all joinder of Doe defendants.

    I think the fraud, tax evasion, etc. were desperate attempts to make it pencil. S&H seem to be a particularly sociopathic team, so they have likely taken it a bit farther than strictly necessary, but I don't think this business model will have legs.

    Malibu Media and Keith Lipscomb are a bit more interesting. They are not so blatantly stupid as Steele, but are still desperate to avoid going to trial and especially to avoid producing discovery related to any of their investigations or operations, which to me is a sign of Rule 11 problems like Gibbs got tripped up in and probably fraud. In a CO case that they eventually settled, they repeatedly just refused to produce required discovery, the defendant kept filing motions to compel and they just wouldn't produce, and of course there were zero consequences because lawyers get to break the law. If you are Plaintiff's attorney and desperately try to avoid showing your cards… Well… We saw what that mean for Prenda.

  425. Anonymous says

    Maybe I just missed this yesterday, but someone put together a collage of the Prenda RICO evidence, pretty damning that they have the same IP address hosting the website and seeding the torrents full of that site's "pirated" content.

    We may see some real fireworks once the feds get on this.

  426. says

    …and I replied with an exhibit. It's about the 1st IP address (Comcast MN) from the TBP list: all the comments on FCT made from this IP address.

  427. Jim Tyre says

    Here's a preview of a Prenda argument in Illinois tomorrow:

    ISPs’ motion to quash subpoenas in Prenda case to be argued Thursday
    June 5, 2013 2:14 PM

    Internet service providers (ISPs) seeking to prevent the forced release of customer ID information to a plaintiff in St. Clair County litigation will argue a joint motion to quash subpoenas on Thursday before Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson.

    Comcast, Verizon and CenturyTel and other ISPs say that a suit filed in January by LW Systems is “feigned” and want the Court to investigate possible collusion between the plaintiff and defendant Christopher Hubbard.

    Hubbard and his alleged co-conspirators are accused of hacking into LW Systems’ computer system that supplies content for adult Web site operators.

    An agreed discovery order signed by Chief Judge John Baricevic less than two weeks after the case was first entered has allowed LW Systems to subpoena the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and Media Access Control addresses associated with particular Internet Protocols (IPs) from more than 300 ISPs.

    Dozens of Internet users so far identified as “John Does” – alleged co-conspirators who have gained unauthorized access to adult content – have also formally challenged the subpoenas. Some of these John Does, who identify themselves in court filings by their IP addresses, say the litigation is “extortion” and a “shakedown” designed to coerce settlement.

    California attorney Morgan Pietz, who represents dozens of John Does in similar litigation filed by the same group of attorneys in California, also represents John Does in the St. Clair County case. Pietz said that up to 10,000 Internet users’ records could be subpoenaed in the LW Systems case because of the broad scope of the discovery order.

    That agreed discovery order – which on its face appears contrary to the interests of defendants – was reached between LW Systems attorney Paul Duffy of Prenda Law in Chicago and Hubbard’s attorney, Adam Urbanczyk, also of Chicago.


  428. Daniel Neely says

    SOmething I've been wondering about. Assuming the prednanistas keep acting the way they are now and are ultimately convicted of various crimes in federal court; who decides what prison they'll be locked up in? IF it's the trial judge, can he chose to send them to a nasty prison instead of the minimum security location that's the default for 1st time non-violent offenders because he lost patience with their repeated abuse of his court?

  429. ULTRAGOTHA says

    In my very strong opinion, we should not be using conditions in a prison as punishment. Any punishment should be meted out by the government in accordance with the law and constitution. Not by fellow prisoners and out of control guards.

  430. That Anonymous Coward says

    @Basil – That could have already happened. I've known about sharkmp4 for a while, didn't know what else was happening in the background. Sometimes you find a cookie and you share it with people and good things happen. I mean its not like it only appeared on TPB…

    Oh someone noticed the collusion happening?
    This is #2 or #3… I forget.

  431. mcinsand says

    A thought occurred to me, and please forgive me if this has already appeared and I've missed it, but Prenda looks to me to be in a Catch-22 situation, with regard to these latest filings. The evidence that Prenda's perps seeded the torrents is more specific and better fleshed-out than the 'evidence' that they collected on their victims. So, it seems to me at least, that wounding the credtibility of the case that they seeded their precious files would be to destroy their credibility in their filings against the John Does.

  432. James says

    @meinsand It would be a circus indeed if Comcast links the infamous IP to a residence belonging to one of the Prenda clan at which point they would have to argue that an IP does not prove which person within the household used the connection or else plead that the access point was unsecured and that an unknown neighbor must have hijacked their WiFi connection. The RIAA and MPAA would likely be apoplectic at that turn of events.

    In regards to the bellwether trial, I looked up the etymology for "bellwether". Back in the day people would tie a bell to a wether that would signal the location of a flock of sheep. What is a wether? A castrated ram. That sums it up nicely.

  433. That Anonymous Coward says

    @mcinsand and I think that creating an event solely to profit from it is a bad thing in lawyer circles.

    If it could be shown that many of their cases were defective in this way well there would be a line of very pissed off Does who settled these "claims" just to avoid damage to their reputation.

    Corporate veils are flame retardant, and well someones playing with matches and a can of gas…

  434. mcinsand says

    TAC, yes, this is a bad thing from beginning to end, and the Prenda crew seems determined to continually shoot new holes in the hull of their sinking boat. This was just one way I thought they might continue their pattern, to argue against the method showing that they seeded the files, thus helping the defendents arguing the inadequacy of the Prenda prosecutions.

  435. anne mouse says

    mcInsand, you've got to keep in mind that Prenda at this point is worried about saving its hide from criminal charges, and also from being sanctioned by various courts (which as they've pointed out before, can be viewed as a "quasi-criminal" proceeding). There's actually no inconsistency in their position. (Of course I'm guessing somewhat as to what their position is, they may yet increase the level of crazy.)
    To sue somebody, you just need some evidence, not absolute proof. All you need is a reasonable chance that you'll discover some more evidence. So: sue based on IP, demand the hard drive in discovery.
    If the hard drive has porn on it, that's still not absolute proof of who put it there, but it would often be enough to win a civil case, where the standard of proof is simply "more likely than not". In fact, in practice you'd usually win a criminal case too (say it was child porn), despite the theoretically higher standard of proof.
    The prendateers would say that all they did was (threaten to) start a lawsuit based on an IP address. Though there is now (thanks to folks like Prenda) a series of cases in various courts saying you've got to do *some* kind of sanity check before suing thousands of IPs (especially joined together in one lawsuit, which is a whole other issue), it's far from clear what The Law says about that in most jurisdictions, so it would be unfair (Prenda would argue) to sanction them for their reasonable interpretation of the law.
    Of course Prenda has done (it sure appears) lots of other sanctionable stuff. My point here is simply that there are different standards of proof for different purposes, and Prenda would be quite right to argue that an IP address, standing alone, would not be enough to identify them for criminal conspiracy purposes, *without* that argument having significant repercussions on their civil cases.
    If you're a defendant identified by IP, get an expert to demonstrate how to forge one and/or to discuss dynamic IP assignment by ISPs. Of course, if Prenda files such a declaration for you, use theirs, it's cheaper. :)

  436. whheydt says

    This whole "we can identify the computer that downloaded" has some real problems, totally aside from insecure wireless routers.

    I have 9 computers sitting next to my desk (5 of them are powered up and running). Two of them have multiple HDDs. Four of them can be run without what anyone thinks of as any form of "disk drive" at all (only one is operating that way right now, and the other three of them don't actually boot from the SSDs attached to them).

    The critical point is that one of the computers I have hooked up is a Raspberry Pi. It's "mass storage device" is actually an SD card, and that card can be swapped out. So, if I were download porn, I could have an SD card dedicated to that and another card with no torrent client and no porn on it. In other words, unless "caught in the act", there would be no evidence on that computer to show that I'd downloaded anything.

    If handed a subpoena to turn over any (let alone all) computer, I could turn that one over knowing that, for the intended purpose, it was clean.

    I rather doubt that anyone would have the presence of mind to ask for every SD card in the house, and if one were to make a serious effort, would even be possible to ensure that all SD cards had been located without quite literally tearing the building down?

    Another issue is see is this… Presumably, if there is a court order seizing a computer for forensic analysis, the owner will be absolutely forbidden to touch anything while said computer is shut down and disconnected to prevent any sort of destructive command being issued. I have no doubt that the average person used to do that can deal with Windows or OS/10, but how many of them know how to properly shut down a headless Linux system without risking corrupting the file system? If armed with a MAC address, how many of them would know how to identify the correct system if it isn't a Windows PC or a Mac? Are technically competent people sent along for such seizures?

    While my example is fictitious, I should point out that a Pi is capable of playing 1080p video at 60 fps on an HDMI connection, so running video on it is entirely reasonable.

  437. James Pollock says

    When seizing computer equipment, the FBI has been known to play it "safe" by seizing anything remotely connected to a computer, whether it's actually useful for forensic analysis or not.

    Now, it's possible that someone out there has set up an elaborate system where the illegally downloaded material is offline and kept in a well-hidden place… but that's not the way to bet, since if it's offline and well-hidden, it can't be viewed by the downloader. The whole mindset of doing things that are illegal is "I won't get caught"; the criminal who thinks "when I get caught, I'll have a perfect alibi/defense" is largely a hypothetical creature, popular in televised entertainment.

  438. WDS says

    @James Pollock,

    While I agree with you about the mindset of infringers in general, this is not a situation where you have to worry about the FBI coming to your door and taking things now. This is where the first warning comes when you get the notice from your ISP that someone wants your ID info. I would think that if someone had something they wanted to hide they could come up with a better plan than "Totally rebuild all my systems three days after I get the actual notice to preserve the data".

  439. AlphaCentauri says

    Anybody know how many posts/how many days before this comment thread will auto-lock?

  440. says

    Should I take an opportunity to buy a fake long white beard and organize exodus to …? (where threads never lock :) )

  441. says

    Not at all.

    I'm simply asking one of our oldest commenters, whose opinion I value, why it is that he thinks this thread should end prematurely when I can't see that it gives particular offense.

  442. anne mouse says

    Patrick Non-White,

    where in "will auto-lock" do you find grounds to infer "should lock"???

    I read it from the opposite bias: assuming auto-locking was undesirable in this particular case, it would be good to know how much headroom remains.

    (I have no idea whether Alpha was correct that auto-locking is in place on this forum…)

  443. says

    Simmer down anne mouse.

    I make the inference because Alpha Centauri and I, while we'll never meet, have been exchanging comments for years. I took his comment as a joke about how long and off-topic this beast has gotten, and replied with my own.

    And I do have it on good authority (my own) that this site auto-locks comment threads after a set number of days. It's a spam control measure.

  444. Anonymous says

    Arg, broken link tag, from his Ars Technica interview right after being sanctioned.

  445. Steve says

    I was also wondering about auto-locking. Since this post is over 2 weeks old, and there hasn't been a Prenda post since, we would have to invade Clark's random post about Kansas mash-ups, or Patrick's update of mid-20th century satirical literature.

    In short: this thing has over 550 comments, we need more Prenda posts. More Ken would be cool too.

  446. Trebuchet says

    And I do have it on good authority (my own) that this site auto-locks comment threads after a set number of days. It's a spam control measure.

    Sure hope Ken returns before then!

  447. That Anonymous Coward says

    I miss Ken, but I think its mainly because he isn't as deep into Pretenda as I am and I can enjoy his wide eyed wonder at seeing this all play out.

    None of the actions are shocking to me any more.

    The fact they are still walking the streets and halls of Justice while warrants are being executed to see if someone has a Guy Fawkes mask while they investigate the people who worked to expose the Stubbenburg rape case… yet don't seem to have looked to closely at the other reported rapes or adults covering these things up. Or the tacit approval of spying on American citizens as long as your 51% sure they might be bad… The system is broken.
    Be rich and be accused of committing crimes and you can still travel the country, be poor and caught with a joint and your on your way to jail then to prison. Most of my faith in the law is gone, it only seems to work against those who don't have the gold.

  448. James Pollock says

    "this is not a situation where you have to worry about the FBI coming to your door and taking things now. This is where the first warning comes when you get the notice from your ISP that someone wants your ID info."
    Actually, I rather strongly suspect that the FBI could find me without my ISP's help, in the sense that I'm not hiding.
    Additionally, until fairly recently, my ISP was Verizon, which, it has been recently disclosed, the NSA has been compiling information on for quite some time.

  449. Jim Tyre says

    @James Pollock

    Additionally, until fairly recently, my ISP was Verizon, which, it has been recently disclosed, the NSA has been compiling information on for quite some time.

    It's not just Verizon, it's all the telcos. We (EFF) have been litigating against NSA since 2006, this was just the newest revelation. And, amazingly, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, has confirmed that the FISC Order is real.

  450. That Anonymous Coward says

    I await the next whistle blower show trial to punish whoever let the cat out of the bag that its worse than anyone suspected.

  451. Basil Forthrightly says

    The whole NSA "news" has reminded me its time to watch Casablanca again.

    "I'm shocked to find gambling in this casino".

    Bamford's "Puzzle Palace" is over 30 years old.

  452. Nicholas Weaver says

    Basil: Thats partially why some of us are shocked. After the 70s, the NSA got religion due to the previous overreaching: "We spy on everyone else, not Americans", was a defining mantra.

    Yet the Verizon order specifically targeted known only-domestic communicatino, and specifically excluded ONLY foreign communication!

  453. mcinsand says

    I'm somewhat shocked that some of us are more than mildly surprised. The Patriot Act opened the door to warrantless snooping, and all of us that did not write our congresspeople to protest should be thoroughly ashamed.

  454. Jim Tyre says

    The following transaction was entered on 6/7/2013 at 10:40 AM PDT and filed on 6/6/2013
    Case Name: Ingenuity13 LLC v. John Doe
    Case Number: 2:12-cv-08333-ODW-JC

    WARNING: CASE CLOSED on 01/28/2013
    Document Number: 176

    Docket Text:
    ORDER DENYING IN PART AND CONDITIONALLY GRANTING IN PART PAUL DUFFYS MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF BOND AND ORDER STAYING ENFORCEMENT OF MAY 6 AND MAY 21 ORDERS IMPOSING SANCTIONS AND PENALTIES [175] by Judge Otis D. Wright, II: (1) The bond already posted with the Court is conditionally approved as security for this Courts Sanctions Order (ECF No. 130) subject to the following conditions, each of which shall be deemed a part of the bond itself: a. The bond shall be payable to and enforceable by John Doe or The Pietz Law Firm b. The bond is made joint and several and may be executed upon if any of the parties to the bond fails to reverse the monetary portion of this Courts Sanctions Order (ECF No. 130) on appeal as to him or it. In other words, if the fee award survives as against any party, the bond may be executed upon even if other parties prevail on appeal. c. The Prenda parties, as well as the surety, are estopped from arguing in any Court other than this one that execution on the bond shouldbe stayed, avoided or otherwise forestalled. This expressly includes an attempt to circumvent execution of the bond through bankruptcy proceedings. The only valid reason to prohibit executing on the instant bond (as amended) should be if all of the Prenda parties prevail on the monetary portion of all of their appeals, as determined by this Court.d. The surety, and each Prenda party relying upon the bond for security shall execute and acknowledgment recognizing the validity of these conditions. Any party who fails to execute and file such an acknowledgment on the docket within 7 days shall be deemed in violation of this Courts order.(2) Further, the Prenda parties shall be required to post an additional bond in the amount of $135,933.66 (which is the $237,583.66 total, minus the $101,650.00 bond that the Prenda parties other than Mr. Gibbs havealready posted) to cover costs on appeal, which includes attorneys feessince the underlying case is a copyright case. Azizian v. Federated Dep'tStores, Inc., 499 F.3d 950, 958 (9th Cir. 2007). The additional bondshall be subject to all the same conditions as the bond noted above.Failure to post the additional bond within 14 days shall result in theimposition of additional sanctions.Due to the unique circumstances of this action, which include the fact that underlying order below is a sanctions award for fraudulent conduct and the web of mysterious offshore entities controlled by the Prenda parties, the above conditions are necessary to effect justice.(lc)

  455. James says

    It looks as if this latest salvo from Judge Wright is precisely what Morgan Pietz asked for in his latest filing. The only thing he missed in this order was commanding "Mr. Sulu set a course for Chapter 7, warp factor 6."

  456. Steven H. says

    Hmm, reading that order, looks like it might be incumbent on the Prendateers to pull Gibbs out from under the bus now.

    All Gibbs has to do now is NOT appeal the sanctions, and the Bond(s) are forfeit, so Steele et al need to be making nice to him as quickly as possible.

  457. James says

    @Steven The way I read it is that both the original and the additional bond covers everybody EXCEPT Gibbs. If ALL of the other six parties win their appeal the bond expires worthless and Gibbs is on his own with respect to the original sanctions. If any party other than Gibbs loses on appeal, then the bond is forfeit and they can go after Gibbs in a contribution suit for his share of the original sanction amount. Gibbs is still twisting in the wind.

    Has Gibbs filed an appeal or is he precluded from doing so until he can post his own bond? I never saw a ruling on his motion to be excused from the daily sanction due to impossibility of securing a bond.

  458. Mike says

    This order is the one proposed by Pietz. Unfortunately, I don't think Pietz took the time to define the "Prenda parties," so there is some room for arguing ambiguity should further sanctions come down the pipe.

  459. Steven H. says


    If Gibbs is left hanging in the breeze, then he always has the option of getting on the stand and answering questions during the appeals by the others, eh?

    I'm sure it wouldn't bother Mr. Pietz if that happened….

  460. Regular Guy says

    There is no new evidence during an appeal. It is a review of the trial court proceeding, and not a new trial. Nonetheless, Gibbs could speak in other forums – of which there are many.

  461. Some Anonymous Brit says

    "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

    Marmion by Sir Walter Scott, 1808.

  462. AlphaCentauri says

    Ooops, I stop hitting "reload" for one day, and I return to find I have been misunderstood!

    No, I don't want the thread locked. I'm enjoying it a great deal, despite having had not particular interest in the topic before this. I was just afraid it would lock itself before we had a new post to move to. I was relieved that 500 wasn't the magic number.

  463. James Pollock says

    "If Gibbs is left hanging in the breeze, then he always has the option of getting on the stand and answering questions during the appeals by the others, eh?"

    That depends on who his client(s) is/are, and what matters they consider "confidential". A member of the bar is expected to maintain confidences of their clients, with very few exceptions.

    You might see him singing if he gets disbarred, though.

  464. says

    I stop hitting "reload"

    want the thread locked

    not particular interest in the topic

    I was just afraid

    This topic really seems to disturb you.

    I'd probably better lock the comments, before you're traumatized further.

  465. Nobody says

    We need Ken back :( I want him to read chapters 7-11 of the Prendateers to us.

  466. James says

    Ya know, a hundred thousand here and a hundred thousand there and pretty soon we will be talking real money.

  467. AlphaCentauri says

    Hey, maybe Ken's out shopping a book deal about the whole Prenda fiasco. ;)

  468. whheydt says

    Re; Alpha Centauri

    If so…Go Ken!

    Actually, since one of the last things he said was that he was in trial prep, I suspect we won't see anything more from him until said trial is over. After all, that should hold his whole attention to be fair to his client…and since he's not associated with the villians of these these threads, one hopes he comes out looking good.

  469. Steven H. says


    "That depends on who his [Gibbs] client(s) is/are, and what matters they consider "confidential"."

    True enough. What are the odds that Steele, Duffy, and both the Hansmeiers are Gibbs' clients? After all, since none of them have anything to do with the two shell companies (according to their own statements) in question, they won't be protected by Gibbs' relations to the shells….

  470. AlphaCentauri says

    But if they do have something to do with the shells and are lying, confidentiality prevents him from revealing that fact. I don't think it obligates him to repeat the lies, though. He might reveal something by failing to confirm something else — it could get very sticky.

  471. AlphaCentauri says

    And I did have a life, for the 24 hours I stopped hitting "reload," and see where that got me ;)

  472. htom says

    I'm not a lawyer, which will be obvious by my question: can lawyers set up rings or webs of clientness? A is B's client, B is A's client. C is B's client, B is C's client. A is C's client, C is A's client. A, B, and C, then, could conspire at will and be bound to not testify against each other.

  473. Joe Pullen says

    Today unless you’re sitting on a sanitized laptop behind a VPN hanging off the wifi of some business who has it turned up to high, and using a cash paid go phone with a call forwarding proxy, they probably know who you are. Whether they care or not, may be a different story but the door is open for abuse when it comes to whistleblowers.

    Nicholas Weaver wrote a neat article RE about security and leaking here –

  474. Jim Tyre says

    @ Joe Pullen

    Nicholas Weaver wrote a neat article RE about security and leaking here –

    Nice piece by Nicholas. However, where he writes:

    UPDATED May 15: There’s another option I didn’t originally mention here — leaking over mail. Investigative journalist Julia Angwin of the Wall Street Journal points out that physical mail, dropped in a random post-box with a bogus return address, is perhaps the best way for anonymous one-way communication. Though the U.S. Postal Service will record address information when asked by law enforcement, it doesn’t (at least currently) record this information on all mail. There’s no history. And even if there were, it can only be traced to the processing post office. So perhaps the best use of mail is simply to send the reporter a burner phone pre-programmed to only call your burner.

    One needs to be careful in how one uses the mail. See

    Ricin Suspect Was Tracked Via Mail Scanners
    Feds: Postal Service photographs every piece of mail it processes

    JUNE 7–A high-tech computer system that captures images of “every mail piece that is processed” by the United State Postal Service was critical in helping federal agents track the Texas woman arrested today for allegedly sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


  475. AlphaCentauri says

    The photographs of letters is only helpful at tracking letters to the place where they were bagged. She was in a relatively small town. I haven't heard details of how they made the jump from her post office to her and her husband.

    Trying to mail a burner phone would be a different matter, though. You can't mail packages from a mailbox. You have to take them to a post office, and that would definitely leave a trail.

    Honestly, I think the most anonymous thing would be to encode your message in a spam email and send it to two million people in addition to the one person you're trying to communicate with. It wouldn't even occur to anyone to try to decode it.

  476. James Pollock says

    AC, why not skip the journalists and just spam the information you're trying to leak?

  477. AlphaCentauri says

    You have been able to find all the same information for years on a thousand conspiracy blogs. Did you believe it then? This story is only important because of the provenance of the information.

    The spam-communication method only works because only the recipient knows which spam contains the information, and because "real" spam is still so voluminous.

  478. Eric says

    RE: Ricin case.

    I am not too far from the town (New Boston) in Eastern Texas. The wife actually pointed the finger at her husband. He was apparently wanting a divorce and to get away from the crazy. The cops arrested the husband first and eventually realized it was the wife that did it. I believe the wife is how they connected the dots, not so much the mail. Wow, something close to home gets mentioned on Popehat, lol. Waiting for new Prenda shenanigans.

  479. Jim Tyre says

    The Thread That Will Not Die! '-)

    (No, PN-W, I do not want it to die, at least not before Ken makes another PrendaPost(tm))

    Some small good news today for Alan Cooper and Paul Godfread. The libel suit by Prenda against them now has been transferred to a different district, the same one where the Duffy suit has been since it was removed from state court. See article at

  480. Jim Tyre says

    Judge Wright just now issued an amended order denying in part and conditionally granting in part Duffy's motion for approval of the bond, etc. At a glance, I do not see how it differs from the original order on June 6, but I don't have the time at the moment to scrutinize it closely.

  481. says



    Except for some punctuation and the word AMENDED, the only difference seems to be what I have bolded.

  482. James says

    For those who have not seen the latest order to show cause in the Arizona case, it is thoroughly covered over at DTD. Judge Snow is asking some very tough questions that make Judge Wright look positively friendly toward Prenda. Yeah, it is shaping up to be another fine, and deserved, judicial bitch slapping.

    Popcorn futures are already up again on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange but you can still play the market with a well-timed purchase of call options on melted butter futures.

  483. says

    Ha! Urbanczyk is one smart fellow: now I know why he opened his new office in the CME building last week ;)

  484. WDS says

    @James Among all the other things, like providing all the financial records of any case involving this particular swarm, I like that Goodhue has to bring a note from his doctor justifying the reason for the delay in the original hearing

  485. WDS says

    I also wanted to add, I really wish Harris would find himself a lawyer. While the judge more or less did much of what Harris asked for using his inherent power, he also struck all of Harris's motions because of their lack of civility.

  486. Jim Tyre says


    Your insults to spaghetti westerns in general, Sergio Leone in particular, cannot be tolerated! Govern yourself accordingly.


  487. Jim Tyre says

    @me (yes, I'm responding to myself)

    Judge Wright just now issued an amended order denying in part and conditionally granting in part Duffy's motion for approval of the bond, etc. At a glance, I do not see how it differs from the original order on June 6, but I don't have the time at the moment to scrutinize it closely.

    I now have a theory about that, which could be right as rain or all wet.

    The amended order was yesterday, June 11. On June 10, Paul H filed an emergency motion seeking clarification or reconsideration of the June 6 order, or, alternatively, a stay pending appeal. (It just showed up in the court's electronic system today because he has to file manually, and manual filings often take a few days to be docketed electronically.

    I'll not try to summarize the whole filing, but one of the things Paul H argues is lack of sufficient time for a reply in support of Duffy's motion to approve the bond, and that argument may have a (popcorn) kernel of truth to it. So, though this is just speculation, perhaps Judge Wright issued the amended order in effect to give more time.

  488. James says

    While the judge more or less did much of what Harris asked for using his inherent power, he also struck all of Harris's motions because of their lack of civility.

    Yes he did, but this judge is bending over backwards to help a pro se litigant have his day in court. He struck the motion due to lack of civility and gave Mr. Harris a well-deserved reprimand for lack of civility in his courtroom, both of which were fair and reasonable under the circumstances. However, he also granted Mr. Harris leave to refile his motion if he cleans up his act and removes the offensive language.

    That is about as fair and balanced as you can get.

  489. WDS says

    If I said anything to make you believe I disagree with you, I wasn't clear. Considering the tone of Harris' filings, as well as his failing to make some scheduling deadlines, the Judge could have easily entered a default judgement and left Harris swinging in the wind. If Harris can not control his emotions on this he needs to find someone to help him badly.

    He has a judge who smells a rat and is trying to do the right thing, Harris needs to dial it back and let the judge go about his business taking care of the big picture.

  490. That Anonymous Coward says

    One would hope that Mr. Harris can now see that the Judge is listening to him and that he doesn't need to yell to be heard.
    The court system is confusing to the average person, add to that the pressure trolls like to place on their targets and sometimes they get unruly feeling trapped in a system where it appears no one cares about the truth.

  491. James says

    @WDS Nope, you didn't say anything that confused me. I agree with you 100% that this judge is doing the right thing in the right way. Now if I could learn to use blockquote instead of strike when I have not had enough coffee before posting (or if WordPress would let you edit your brain farts) we would all be better off.

  492. Basil Forthrightly says

    Regarding Prenda's appeal of Wright's order setting a higher bond amount: the original order sets joint and several liability, but it appears that the gang have chosen a now-empty shell, Prenda Law, to push the appeal, filing that it has "negative cash flow" and that the additional bond amount effectively denies Prenda due process.

    I know the courts have processes for the truly poor to have access to the courts, and therefore must have a process for separating the fraudulent claims from the deserving. Anyone knowledgable care to illuminate about those processes, generally?

    In Prenda's case, it seems the appellant was carefully picked; a shell that can cry poverty, but not one whose ownership is questionable. In other words, from my perspective they're doing something analogous to forum-shopping, "appellant-shopping" from among the alter egos available to what seem to be the RICO co-conspirants. This tends to undermine the joint and several character of the liability. Clearly, if joint and several liability was applied to truly independent parties, the legal process should allow independent actions, e.g. One party carrying the appeal. However, when that independence is part of the matter under appeal, how is that handled?

  493. GrimGhost says

    @Basil: IANAL, but isn't there some judge-y way of replying, "You guys are liars and con artists, and how gullible do you think I am, pulling this shell game on me"?

  494. GrimGhost says

    I was referring to whatever judge is/judges are hearing this appeal that Basil was commenting on. Is he/they required to consider the Prendards' arguments "on the merits," as if every statement in those papers was God's Truth? Or can the judge(s) say, "I don't believe anything you shysters say; appeal denied"?

  495. AlphaCentauri says

    Poor Ken, having to concentrate on his clients when "Peg Leg Productions" is waiting for his next blog post. I hope he's not reading the internet to get distracted.

  496. James says

    There is a doctrine in some parts of the law (notably taxation) that allows the court to look through "liquidation reincorporation" schemes. If the principals, business activities, and other key parameters of the business remain unchanged but the legal person is slightly different then the new and old entities are considered as one (i.e. the court ignores the new entity and piercing the corporate veil becomes that much easier).

    Given that in most states incorporation costs just a few hundred dollars inexpensive collapsible corporations are the way to go if you want to perpetuate a scheme of this nature. However, it is also highly transparent so this is a dangerous game they are playing. Set phasers to kill.

  497. anne mouse says


    In general it depends on what stage of the trial you're at, and exactly what kind of motion the appeal is about. For example, on a motion for summary judgement, one party (the moving party) is arguing that even if everything the other party says is true, then the moving party still wins the case (or rather, wins the particular claim(s) at issue in the motion). At the end of a trial, it's difficult to argue that the jury (judge, if it's a bench trial) got any *facts* wrong, you can usually only appeal on the basis of the facts as the jury found them.
    I don't know about appeals of setting a bond, but considering that this order issued after a show-cause hearing at which the Prendites took the fifth, I assume they're estopped from raising any new factual contentions now. They have to argue based on evidence in the record, and they are going to have an uphill battle getting an appeals court to find any different facts than Wright did. Wright was there, his judgement as to whether they were lying liars who lie is going to carry a lot of weight even if it doesn't shut the door completely.

  498. says

    Pietz files a short response to Prenda's "emergency" appeal, and it mentions "Peg Leg." I updated my post.

  499. Anonymous says

    There's a new order from Judge Wright, dealing with a bunch of stuff at once.

    The Prenda Six are still required to post an additional $135k bond and agree to the new bond conditions, but the deadline has been extended to July 15th (and the court "will not consider any further motions to reconsider or stay enforcement in this matter"). The $1000/day sanctions are vacated, in light of the good-faith effort to obtain a bond (for the six who did) and Gibbs' inability to pay.

    The rule 62(d) bond requirement for Gibbs is waived, although he remains jointly and severally liable for the original sanctions, and Wright "takes no position with respect to the enforceability of the Prenda parties’ bond in the event Gibbs is the sole party ultimately found liable on appeal".

  500. Austin says

    Am I missing something in Pietz's appellate response addressing Rosing's legal arguments? Rosing's emergency motion seemed low on rhetoric and high im arguments and citations; Pietz's reply seemed high on narrative and context but low on argument and caselaw.
    IANAL, so it's certainly possible I'm missing something obvious. Rooting hard against Prenda, so looking forward to understanding what that something is!

  501. Eric says

    I would love to get an update on where the IRS CID and RICO (potential) investigations are going. I know that stays close to the hip, but would love to know if it is actually going on right now.

    I had a twisted thought of posting on the Anti-Piracy Law Group's FB page asking how the IRS and Feds are treating them…if it's any better than what Judge Wright did to them. I hope not, lol.

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

    Peg Leg Productions? Really? Not sure if they were going for the irony there or not.

  503. Eric says

    For future motions, they should write them as a pirate might. Bring a whole new meaning to talk like a pirate. That would make them an even bigger joke than they already are as lawyers, and give Judge Wright even more reason to benchslap them some more.

  504. James says

    "takes no position with respect to the enforceability of the Prenda parties’ bond in the event Gibbs is the sole party ultimately found liable on appeal".

    What does that mean? If a bonding agent agrees to indemnify parties A, B and C, but conspicuously excludes party D, how can the bond possibly be enforceable if A, B and C prevail on appeal but D does not? Can the defendant possibly collect on the bond via some theory of vicarious liability if the bonding agent has not explicitly provided for such eventuality?

    And how can Prenda plead poverty and still have Heather Rosen and friends engaged? I am sure she keeps a healthy retainer balance.

  505. Anonymous says

    I took wonder how the legal bills are getting paid.

    Of course, negative cashflow does not imply negative bank account balances. But assuming they have a limited amount of cash to work with, are them more obliged to pay their sanctions, or keep paying attorneys to fight the sanctions? Seems to me that especially as officers of the court they should be legally required to pay the court first and foremost, and spending the money on anything else should be considered fraud or contempt, but I would love to know what the truth is if anyone knows the law on this matter.

  506. James Pollock says

    "Seems to me that especially as officers of the court they should be legally required to pay the court first and foremost"
    Except that it's still their contention that they shouldn't have to pay the court anything. (Until the appeals fail. Not sure what the plan is then. Apply for cert?)

  507. Anonymous says

    @SJD: Shades of Welcome Back Kotter!!!

    Dear Judge Snow,

    Please excuse Goodhue from court.

    Signed, Goodhue's Mother

  508. Christenson says

    A while back, I think it was you who asked for adjectives to differentiate Prenda-type trolls from Lipscomb-type trolls. My suggestions: Clown-trolls describes Prendas ilk, and serious-trolls describes Lipscomb's ilk.

    Prenda clearly thinks they are smarter than the rest of us; Lipscomb isn't quite that stupid, and, so far, has picked his victims well.

    Hope you like the words, and you are welcome to repeat them in any form you like…as long as anything you represent as being from me fairly presents what I said.

  509. says

    I agree with clowns ("assclowns" to be precise), but "serious" is somehow positive, and I don't want to apply anything positive to Libscomb and his bandits. Although definitely not as reckless as Prenda, Lipscomb is different from assclowns quantitatively, not qualitatively. I don't consider Lipscomb a serious opponent. Clever, sneaky, deceitful — yes, but not "serious."

    Lipscomb picked his victims better than Prenda, but not that well. I know a dozen of clearly wrong targets. Can't name everyone at the moment, but from the top of my head — Fantalis, Manness, Vincent.

  510. Christenson says

    Less-than-totally retarded, then? Not-completely-silly, or not-completely clownish? Not-completely brain-damaged?

    I used serious in the sense of a serious threat…a serious troll is a serious problem.

  511. Jim Tyre says

    This just in.

    United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    Notice of Docket Activity

    The following transaction was entered on 06/19/2013 at 11:06:52 AM PDT and filed on 06/19/2013
    Case Name: Ingenuity13 LLC v. John Doe
    Case Number: 13-55881

    Document(s): Document(s)

    Docket Text:
    Filed order (MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS, RONALD M. GOULD and PAUL J. WATFORD) The court denies the motion by law firm Klinedinst PC and its attorneys Heather L. Rosing, Esq., David M. Majchrzak, Esq., and Philip W. Vineyard, Esq. to withdraw as retained counsel for appellant Prenda Law, Inc. in these appellate proceedings. The court also denies the motion to vacate the district court’s May 17, 2013 order denying the Klinedinst firm’s request to withdraw as counsel of record for Prenda Law in the district court proceedings. A corporation must be represented by counsel. See, e.g., Rowland v. Cal. Men’s Colony, Unit II Men’s Advisory Council, 506 U.S. 194, 201-03 (1993); In re Highley, 459 F.2d 554, 555 (9th Cir. 1972). There has been no request by appellant Prenda Law to substitute new counsel in place of its attorneys from the Klinedinst firm. This court will allow the Klinedinst firm to withdraw as counsel of record for Prenda Law in these appellate proceedings once substitute counsel has been identified and has sought to be substituted as counsel of record. Appellant Prenda Law’s emergency motion filed on June 14, 2013 shall be addressed by separate order. . [8673480] (TSP)

  512. James says

    @Jim Tyre

    Did Judge Wright at least have the decency to make his ruling with "Hotel California" playing in the background?

  513. Anonymous says

    I am very interested to see how this plays out between Prenda and Klinedinst. Prenda is counting on pleading poverty and has no respect for the law or ethics. I would not be surprised if Duffy and Co. were thrilled by today's decision as they now have Klinedinst trapped in the case and they don't exactly seem like the types to do the right thing and, you know, make a best effort to find replacement counsel so Rosing can GTFO. No, they seem likely to take maximum advantage of the situation and even try to put the screws on and get everything they can out of Klinedinst.

    Really funny to see this happen, as letting Prenda get this far was in part due to a systematic failure of attorney self-regulation nationwide, and of course specifically in California where Heather Rosing has served on a local bar association's ethics committee. It really says a lot about the profession.

  514. Jim Tyre says


    That's a ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, not Judge Wright, the District Judge.

  515. AlphaCentauri says

    I don't suppose the Prendarasts would recognize the difference between a vigorous defense and a half-hearted one.

    But given the fact that getting them out of the mess they've made would require a thorough knowledge of law, excellent rhetorical writing ability, and imaginative problem solving skills, they really don't want to be represented by lawyers with zero incentive to get them out of this.

  516. Jim Tyre says

    In other news, up in San Francisco, Duffy (not Paul Duffy, just Duffy, see upper left of first page of the doc I'll link to below) has filed his opposition to Nick Ranallo's attorney fees request. Surprisingly, it attacks just about everyone and everything. Duffy does say one thing with which I agree, however:

    But Federal litigation is not a game practiced by children.

  517. Anonymous says

    @Jim Tyre

    With that quote I think I have to assume writing credit for this goes to John Steele. The man has an uncanny knack for producing quotes that apply to his own schemes more that the people he directs them towards.

    Also love the attacks on Neville, I don't think they really want to go there because it may just draw attention to the fact that whether Neville is ultimately correct or not, some random dude just provided more useful information about how their tracking and "forensic" software works than they have ever done in two years and hundreds of lawsuits vs. tens of thousands of defendants. The declarations from MCGIP and 6881 Forensics "investigators" were worthless and devoid of factual contecnt or evidence, to my knowledge Prenda has never provided an example of any "evidence" collected by their forensics software, so it would probably not be wise to put themselves in a position where they get stuck being told to put up or shut up.