Team Prenda Gets Even More Ridiculous: Mark Lutz Files Bar Complaint Against Brett Gibbs

from the this-won't-end-well dept

Team Prenda has a history of doing the classic troll move: accuse the other side of doing what you're actually doing. Just recently, we've seen various members of Team Prenda -- John Steele, Mark Lutz, Paul Hansmeier and Peter Hansmeier -- accuse the lawyers who helped expose their practices (Morgan Pietz and Nick Ranallo) of being worthy of sanctions when it was actually Team Prenda itself who is facing significant sanctions. This sort of "I know you are, but what am I" tactic appears to be a popular one with Team Prenda. When Brett Gibbs was a member of Team Prenda, he engaged in exactly that, trying to get Judge Wright thrown off the case for bias, while also claiming that Pietz deserved sanctions, and even claiming that there was no proof Pietz really represented anyone.

Of course, now that Brett Gibbs has switched sides, and has been willing to provide depositions about how Team Prenda is lying, it appears that he's now the latest target. There were some rumors yesterday that Mark Lutz had filed a bar complaint against Gibbs, but now it's been confirmed in a filing by John Steele in the case before Judge Wright (we'll have more about today's hearing in that case in a bit).

As you may recall, in a different case in Northern California, Team Prenda had been ordered to produce the actual signature of "Salt Marsh" as was signed to a court filing. Mark Lutz then claimed that Gibbs regularly sent him "certifications to sign on behalf of AF Holdings" and he signed them Salt Marsh, as that was the name of the trust that owned AF Holdings. Gibbs responded by pointing out that none of this was true, and he never even knew Lutz was even affiliated with these companies until months later. In other words, Gibbs very clearly said that Lutz was lying to the court.

So, now, we see the response: Lutz has filed a bar complaint in California against Gibbs, claiming that Gibbs is the one who's lying.
My name is Mark Lutz and I am the manager of a company, AF Holdings, LLC, ("AF") that until July 3, 2013, was represented by Mr. Gibbs. The thrust of this complaint is that AF's attorney, Mr. Gibbs, is actively assisting AF's adversaries in exchange for his own personal financial gain.
By the way, I'd suggest you compare the language Lutz used in his filing for sanctions against Pietz and Ranallo, with the bar complaint against Gibbs. It's a guess, but I find it unlikely these two were written by the same individual.

That said, the bar complaint is particularly ridiculous. The more you read, the more ridiculous it gets.
In February, 2013, Judge Wright issued an order to show cause solely against Mr. Gibbs with respect to a case where he was representing AF. (Exhibit G) Mr. Gibbs did not inform me of this hearing. I later learned that at the hearing, Mr. Gibbs repeatedly lied to the Court, making such claims as he was "essentially a secretary" and that other attorneys that I had never spoken to about that case were AF's attorneys. (Exhibit H) As a side note, I would like to inform the California bar that Mr. Gibbs has filed and supervised hundreds of cases on behalf of AF all across the country. Mr. Gibbs was the only attorney I EVER spoke with about the case before Judge Wright. After the March 11, 2013, hearing, Judge Wright issued another order to show cause and scheduled a hearing for it on April 2, 2013 (Exhibit I) Because of Mr. Gibbs' testimony at the March 11 hearing, AF was now a defendant in the new order to show cause. In other words, my own attorney transformed an OSC against him into an OSC against my company based on complete lies to the judge.
The complaint goes on and on about how Gibbs was doing all this stuff without ever contacting Lutz. Of course, given Gibbs' clear testimony that he had no idea Lutz was even associated with these companies until later, that would make a lot of sense, wouldn't it? Similarly, given Lutz's close connections to John Steele, the idea that he hadn't spoken to Steele (who Gibbs has noted was directing much of the litigation effort) is particularly difficult to believe.

I'm certainly not as familiar with how the bar complaint process goes, but one hopes that the California state bar will at least take the time to read through the rulings in the various cases, including Judge Wright's ruling against Prenda, in order to understand who is credible here and who is not.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Scote, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    The CA State Bar may well screw Gibbs

    Although State Bars are often slow to investigate or discipline attorneys, as evidenced by the fact that JS still has a law license and the fact that Righthaven skated along without a single disbarment, the CA state bar often puts attorneys through the wringer even when it is clear the client has a trumped up vendetta. I have little doubt that Gibbs is potentially in serious trouble with the State Bar, and for all the wrong and bogus reasons claimed by Lutz. In CA all a client has to do is make plausible complaints.

    The Lutz complaint smells like JS vindictiveness to me, who has, AFIK, literally no shame.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

    Wow...

    How much bigger is the bus going to get?

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    I have dealt with the CA State Bar several times regarding disciplinary proceedings (not about myself). They are way overloaded with (usually unfounded) complaints, and don't tend to countenance bull*** -- not having the time.

    My take: They'll look first for the bull, and they should find it rather rapidly.

     

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

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Mike Gets Even More Ridiculous Every Prenda Item.

    To theoretical readers just dropping in first time: yeah, he's serious, actually thinks this is "gripping" stuff. The Prenda series has been going at least a year.

    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    ZOMG! Yet another item on Prenda Law! A staple in the soporific "At The Bench" series. Mike sez (short version): "Wow. Wow. Wow. ... The story is gripping."
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130303/23353022182/prenda-law-sues-critics-defamation .shtml

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    guyver, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    Have a look at [url="http://ia601508.us.archive.org/28/items/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.218. 3.pdf]Exibit G[/url] (34ff). On page 35, why did they black out the signoff ("Thanks, -----"), if this is supposedly a mail from Gibbs account?! Hmmm...

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    shuffle, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    I highly doubt Lutz wrote the complaint to the state bar. The way this was drafted has all the hallmarks of Steele all over it.

    Since Steele has thrown Gibbs under the bus since the Prenda scheme was exposed and Gibbs has stated to give Prenda some blowback.

    Steele is feeling a little butt hurt because Gibbs has decided to not be the sacrificial lamb Steele expected him to be

    The fact that they submitted a complaint could backfire on them. Gibbs was already facing a bar complaint from Judge Wright's ruling.

    Gibbs though may have thought enough of being the fall guy. Gibbs I am sure would have kept some correspondence with whoever at Prenda was giving the orders on litigation and strategy...I would bet Gibbs would have phone records as well to prove who he was speaking with (for instance like Steele's mobile number or home number)

    Steele is making a grave error here in trying to have Gibbs sanctioned by the bar. If There is a grand jury RICO investigation, Gibbs is going to make an excellent witness especially if he feels scorned...the same applies in an IRS criminal division investigation.

    Now lets turn into a hypothetical here...If Steele was using Gibbs SBN # to draft, and submit court documents in Prenda cases Steele could be in a world of trouble.

    Steele could be in trouble as well if he was practicing law in certain states without a licence, that would be a serious issue with the ABA and certain State AG's.

    Of course thats hypothetical. I would have to think tgat if Gibbs testified to the inner workings of how this scheme works the Prenda gang is in serious trouble in not only california but elsewhere.

    I also love were Lutz says he is the "manager" of AF Holdings...really?? I thought Lutz was the owner and CEO of these companies.

    Poor Lutz so many hats to wear while working for free he cant recall what he does at all his companies.

    Also notice Steele isnt using or supplying a phone number on his documents to the court

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Delvan (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Mike Gets Even More Ridiculous Every Prenda Item.

    To theoretical readers just dropping in first time: yes, out_of_the_blue hates Prenda articles but takes the time to read and comment on hating them every time. Take a loopy tour of Techdirt's Prenda articles! You always end up with an out_of_the_blue complaint!

    Wow, these comments are gripping. Just wow.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Mike Gets Even More Ridiculous Every Prenda Item.

    Troll, if you find the topic uninteresting skip it. I enjoy the continued Prenda coverage.

    Your name wouldn't be John Steele would it?

     

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

  9.  
    icon
    Delvan (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:16pm

    Re:

    Exactly my thought, guyver. I'm hoping the original author (I'm sure you can guess who) hasn't changed the password on Gibbs gmail account so Gibbs can fire back with a copy showing who actually signed that email.

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Mike Gets Even More Ridiculous Every Prenda Item.

    While mostly correct, blue doesn't bother to read the articles before commenting, both to save time, and because doing so might conflict with what blue imagines the articles say, and thereby require coming up with comments that deal with what's actually in the article.

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re:

    Steele is well know to troll DTD & FCT as I am sure he does here at Techdirt and Ars. You will never see any real point to their comments just the usual bashing under different handles

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike Gets Even More Ridiculous Every Prenda Item.

    No, he doesn't read the articles for one reason: he's here purely to troll the readers of this site, and he can accomplish his trolling without it.

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:39pm

    Re:

    Steele alos never put an e-mail address on his documents as well. I would assume this is to make it harder to serve him with documents to any related actions.

    More of the games Steele and Prenda play with the courts, but yet Steele likes to complain how he hasn't been served and feign knowing anything about anything to do with these cases.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 3:02pm

    how are any of these guys still showing up in court to do anything. If I lied and misled the court I would be placed in jail or charged with obstruction.

    Totally broken system.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    Steele filed the bar complaint with Judge Wright's courtroom, who brandished it at today's hearing and basically asked "why the hell do you think this is relevant to these proceedings?"

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 5:24pm

    Re:

    You must not be a lawyer

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    "Cuuuuuuurse you, Brett Gibbs!" John Steele roared as he grabbed the phone in his stubby hands. There were calls to make to a few publicists; perhaps he could convince them with a gift of another fake evil mustache made out of the pubic hairs of rare Arabian yaks.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Mike Gets Even More Ridiculous Every Prenda Item.

    Of course it's gripping stuff. It's copyright law's best and brightest enforcers.

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    JohnnyRotten (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:28pm

    So, Lutz is the patsy that has replaced Gibbs. I wonder if Lutz knows how much trouble he's getting himself in for whatever pittance Steele is throwing at him.

    Also, isn't the wording by Lutz "I am the manager of a company, AF Holdings, LLC" a bit misleading? I don't remember exactly, but isn't the current claim by the Prenda crew is that Lutz the owner of the company?

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:59pm

    Re:

    Manager, CEO, CFO, mail-sorter... he'll be whatever he needs to be to take the heat off the others, though if he's smart he'll pull a Gibbs and start returning the favor by throwing the others under the bus to save his skin as well.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    apauld (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 12:10am

    The Questions I have:

    I think most of us might agree that Steele is some sort of sociopath. So at this point what is Lutz? Is he just some stupid dupe, or is he another sociopath? Might Lutz be another sociopath that just isn't smart enough to know what is happening? I really don't get what this paralegal expects to gain by continuing down this path.

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 12:34am

    Re: The Questions I have:

    Well it is possible that Lutz is just Steele's prison bitch.
    I mean if someone got me out of a Mexican prison, I'd owe them a solid.

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 12:59am

    Re: Re: The Questions I have:

    Going along that line of thought, perhaps Steele made 'being the fall guy at some point in the future' a condition to getting Lutz out.

    'Sure I'll get you out of the mess your actions got you in, but in return you have to do the same for me at some point in the future...'

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    apauld (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 1:18am

    Re: Re: Re: The Questions I have:

    'Sure I'll get you out of the mess your actions got you in, but in return you have to do the same for me at some point in the future...'

    So you think that they are assuming that their prison terms will run consecutively rather that concurrently?

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This