Prenda Lawyer Hires His Own Lawyer, Tries To Tapdance His Way Out Of A Jail Sentence By Throwing Prenda Under The Bus

from the it's-not-me,-it's-them dept

A few weeks ago, we noted that not only did Judge Otis Wright not buy Prenda Law's Brett Gibbs' ridiculous claims concerning the mysterious Alan Cooper, but that Gibbs was facing sanctions, including the possibility of jailtime for his actions in the case. Gibbs did the smart thing and found himself a lawyer of his own to respond to these allegations, though the response raises a lot more questions than it answers, and seems primarily focused on throwing Prenda itself under the bus, basically arguing that Gibbs was just a lawyer hired by Prenda, doing whatever the client asked. There's also the admission that he's never met Alan Cooper, and so cannot comment on which Alan Cooper is in charge of AF Holdings, and whether or not there really is an Alan Cooper at AF Holdings at all (which does little to explain Gibbs' silly response to being asked about Cooper earlier in the case):
I have never met Alan Cooper, and do not know what the extent of Mr. Cooper's role is in A F Holdings aside from seeing a signature from an "Alan Cooper" on the copyright assignments and pleadings. Based on the assignment agreement, A F Holdings held the valid and exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute the film Popular Demand. I was not present when the assignment agreement was executed. I also never had any direct contact with either Raymond Rogers or Alan Cooper. I have never executed a document as "Alan Cooper." I did not play a role in or have knowledge of the assignment transaction at issue. Senior members of S & H provided the assignment agreement to me and informed me that the copyright assignment was a true and correct copy of the copyright assignment and to include it as an exhibit in complaints filed on behalf of A F Holdings L L C . Before filing any such complaints, I confirmed that A F Holdings L L C was in fact listed as the valid copyright holder.
But, really the key point of Gibbs' filing seems to be blame Prenda, not me:
I have never had a financial or fiduciary (i.e., ownership) interest in A F Holdings. AF Holdings was a client of S&H and then Prenda. The face-to-face and direct interactions between S&H and later Prenda with A F Holdings were handled by the senior members of the law firms and not me.
As for the fact that he "verified" that Cooper had signed stuff? He says he either saw it, or maybe someone at Prenda just told him it was signed:
I confirmed the existence of the client-executed verification either by seeing a copy of the signed verification, or at the very least, being informed by a representative of S&H or Prenda that a signed verification was in the possession of S & H or Prenda.
Oh, and he also claims that he asked Prenda for the original copy of Alan Cooper's signature... but Prenda claims that it no longer has it. Uh huh.
In Case No. 84, Mr. Pietz first asked for a copy of Mr. Cooper's verification to the petition to perpetuate testimony on or about December 2012, well after the petition had been discharged. Given the length of time since the case was discharged, I was informed and understand that S&H (and later Prenda) no longer has a copy of Mr. Cooper's verification to the petition to perpetuate testimony.
Law firms (real ones, that is) tend not to throw out things like original documents with signatures on them.

Gibbs' filing then goes on to respond to the other issues raised by the court pointing out that Prenda needed to have more proof of people's involvement beyond just an IP address, trying to explain that they really did do more research. However, as the folks at FightcopyrightTrolls have been pointing out, his explanations are highly suspect. For example, Gibbs claims that he had evidence to believe that one of the people he demanded payment from was the likely infringer by looking at Google Maps and determining that his household WiFi was unlikely to be accessible by neighbors. But, a commenter at FCT quickly did the same Google Maps search and points out that there are probably 10 to 30 households in range for a typical WiFi router.

Opposing counsel Morgan Pietz wasted little time in responding in great detail, reiterating all of the details of the game that Prenda and Brett Gibbs have been playing. It's a good read.
What seems increasingly clear though is that Prenda, and its “of counsel” here, Mr. Brett Gibbs, have crossed the Rubicon in these cases, by resorting to fraud, which includes identity theft, sham offshore shell companies, and forged documents.
Pietz also points out that Gibbs apparently directly lied to the court. The court had ordered Gibbs to stop discovery (i.e., trying to uncover details of those they were trying to track down information on, in order to send shakedown letters), but Gibbs continued to do so. When confronted on this Gibbs claimed he interpreted the order to only mean that he couldn't do "formal discovery efforts such as pressuring the ISPs to respond to the subpoenas that had been served." The problem there was twofold. First, the court's order clearly precluded much more than that and more importantly, Gibbs didn't even stop pressuring ISPs, even though he directly claims he understood the court's orders to mean he had to stop.
Yet as confirmed by at least one ISP—AT&T—notwithstanding this representation, Prenda did in fact “pressur[e] the ISPs to respond to the subpoenas” notwithstanding Mr. Gibbs’s interpretation of the stay order.
One gets the feeling this is not going to end well for Gibbs or Prenda Law.




Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    *Grabs popcorn* this is getting good!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    It just keeps getting better every time I see ‘Prenda’ in the title of a post here.

    Network TV wishes it could keep me this entertained.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    alanbleiweiss (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    One hack attorney repeatedly pulls crap out of his ass and dumps it on the bench. Finally gives up when judge gets tired of all the crap piling up. Said attorney hires another hack attorney who in turn only has enough skill to pull crap out of his own ass...

    #JusticeInAmerica

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Scote, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 2:42pm

    Except he didn't really through Prenda under the bus...

    Gibbs didn't really throw Prenda under the bus. Heck, he didn't even *name* the "senior lawyers" at Prenda given that naming John Steele would give the lie to the claim that Prenda's sole principal is Paul Duffy.

    Instead, Gibbs is still appears to be working with Prenda, but under the guise of working for a company he claims has bought AF Holdings, even though at the AF Holdings depo Gibbs attended, AF Holdings asserted it is owned by a Nevis based trust.

    So Gibbs is still in the thick of it. Throwing Prenda under the bus would look a whole lot different, but I think anybody might be wary of throwing an apparent sociopath like John Steele under the bus :O

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 2:52pm

    Wasn't Mr. Gibbs on the Pirates of the Caribbean?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Except he didn't really through Prenda under the bus...

    An after-the-fact investigation will reveal (to no Prenda-watcher's great surprise) that what was apparently thrown under and run over by the bus was merely a shell. And that the owner of the bus in question is one Alan Cooper. Further, John Steele will be found to have been nowhere in the vicinity at the time the aforementioned event occurred.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Scote, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Except he didn't really through Prenda under the bus...

    "Further, John Steele will be found to have been nowhere in the vicinity at the time the aforementioned event occurred."


    :-) I'm sure John Steele will produce an affidavit that he was in India signed by, um, someone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 4:21pm

    Re:

    If we get the big size, can we get free refills? This could take some time...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the heroes of average_joe, bob, out_of_the_blue and hurricane head! Glorious, righteous and shining symbols of copyright enforcement!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    Sure beats watching the telly. Great plot twists and riveting byplay with real consequences.

    Lets get them all together on Montel Williams show for a good starting shouting match fight then bring out the house caretaker.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 8:39pm

    Re: Re: Except he didn't really through Prenda under the bus...

    Are you sure he wasn't hiding out in a Salt Marsh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2013 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Except he didn't really through Prenda under the bus...

    Alan Cooper the Second?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Beech, Feb 23rd, 2013 @ 1:02am

    Solution

    the judge really just needs to slap prenda right now. Something along the lines of "Alan Cooper has 7 days to appear in this court or Prenda Law, and every individual who works for them, will be fined $10,000 per day. and whoever they are pretending to represent will be fined all their copyrights. Cooper doesnt show his client loses all those precious porn copyrights. Clearly prenda wants to do everything possible to keep everything they can about themselves hidden, time for a speedy resolution

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2013 @ 6:26am

    "Law firms (real ones, that is) tend not to throw out things like original documents with signatures on them."

    And if the originals can't be located for some reason, there darn well better be a paper trail telling where the originals went (and there's still usually a photocopy of the signed original in the client file or on the firm's electronic file system).

    IANAL - just work for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Frankz (profile), Feb 23rd, 2013 @ 7:06am

    What's going on with the real Alan Cooper's lawsuit against Steele and company, or whoever it is? Couldn't he make that a criminal complaint of identity theft, probably with the FBI since the incorporation was based offshore?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Feb 23rd, 2013 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    It would be a noble act of Mr. Cooper to trigger a criminal investigation, but there is no money in criminal lawsuits, so understandably it is a civil one.

    Steele's deadline to answer the complaint expired on 2/14, but I did not hear about the result yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    davnel, Feb 23rd, 2013 @ 1:47pm

    Why, oh why, are these people allowed to perpetrate this kind of fraud on our court system (I'm thinking of Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Steele, and Mr. Gibson, in particular), seemingly with impunity. If the average citizen tried to pull even a small part of this crap on any court, he would find himself in jail for contempt so fast he wouldn't know what hit him. We need some reforms making lawyers responsible for their actions, immediately.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 23rd, 2013 @ 7:06pm

    Re:

    Because courts operate under the assumption that lawyers aren't stupid enough to lie to them... and even when caught the still keep giving them the benefit of the doubt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2013 @ 9:23am

    How do people like this find work? Are law firms this stupid? I feel sorry for law students, high cost of loans combined with stupidity like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re:

    > If we get the big size, can we get free refills?

    Free is not a business model.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    > How do people like this find work? Are law firms this stupid?
    > I feel sorry for law students, high cost of loans combined with stupidity
    > like this.


    The law students who spent significantly on their education are probably not the ones that do stupid things like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    special-interesting (profile), Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Dodging court served papers does happen. Keeping in mind how abused the court system can be its not always a bad thing. However here we have a case where the court itself has recognized abuse and is ready to ferret out the exact details, to identify the source(s), and the process has already started.

    If they don't show it would be bad and look bad for any lawyer who, by just being a lawyer in good standing, are unavoidably available just dealing with normal client business. Not being able to respond quickly to the usual demands from new clients, defense or prosecution staff and typical timely court filings would ruin any law firm. They either have their shingle out swinging out on the front lawn (and active phone numbers, web address, etc.) or they don't.

    It would seem they are counting on only daily fines being levied for a no show on April 2nd. Its possible that they want to attend a smaller hearing, by suffering a few days of fines and criticism for lame excuses, rather than the likely three ring circus on the 2nd.

    They may even be counting on the O'l boy network by trying for a private meeting in the judges chambers. However harsh the judge might treat them it would still be out the the public eye. This would also give the advantage of not having to show up with everyone else. (whom some are obviously hostile parties)

    Of course if warrants are issued for contempt of court they might show up the very next day or so and in the morning also so as to assure a prompt hearing possibly/hopefully avoiding incarceration. This would also allow some to escape the wild party on the 2nd but only at such a cost.

    Then again of course they could always try to run...

    Or they might try a scapegoat. “It was all his idea!”, “take one for the team boy” (just a few possibilities of course)

    Ultimately there will likely be a trial date. The charges are still being examined. This could take months maybe even years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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