Bad News Is Contagious For Prenda

from the for-the-weekend dept

Well, might as well leave some folks for the weekend with some more bad news for Prenda as covered by Joe Mullin at Ars Technica. Yesterday there was another hearing in the case in Northern California, in the case where Judge Edward Chen appears to be a few steps behind Judge Otis Wright in understanding what Prenda is up to, but is catching up fast. This is the Navasca case, and Paul Duffy is so busy dealing with the collapse (and potential further problems) with Prenda that he apparently forgot the hearing was on at all. When the court reached him by phone, he was apparently confused, saying he thought the hearing had been cancelled. But the key point was that the Judge clearly is realizing that Prenda/Duffy are making claims that don't make much sense.
"Frankly I don't see why fees should not be awarded here, given the findings obtained in this court as well as other courts, including Judge Wright's," he said. "This case proceeded without proof of standing. There were also questions about identifying Mr. Navasca as an infringer without sufficient investigation. Other assertions, like improper spoliation, were never proven or supported. Then there's the whole question of motivation. There's a serious question raised about the whole business model here... [about whether] this is a business model to generate income through coerced settlements. If there's a case that warrants fee shifting, this certainly seems to be one of them."
Duffy tried to talk his way out of all of this, insisting (yet again) that Navasca "engaged in spoliation of evidence" -- a claim that's been tried by Team Prenda multiple times and failed -- in large part because it's silly. Navasca had a registry cleaner, CCleaner, installed on his computer, since well before the whole Prenda thing, and the app serves to keep a computer running efficiently and keep it from getting bogged down. Beyond having the app, there's no evidence that it was used to delete any form of evidence. The court has already rejected it, but Duffy couldn't let it go. But that's a pretty weak thread to hang from.

When asked about a variety of other things, Duffy did the usual "deny, deny, deny" move. In particular, Chen pointed out the whole lack of standing given the likelihood of Alan Cooper's signature being forged:
"Here AF [Holdings] didn't even prove standing," said Chen. The judge was referring to the disputed copyright assignment at the root of the case. It was signed by Alan Cooper, a former property caretaker for John Steele, the man pointed to as a key Prenda player. Cooper later denied having signed the papers.

"That's very much in dispute," said Duffy. "It's a 'he said, he said' about the individual who signed AF Holdings' [assignment]. The individual did not challenge the signature until Mr. Steele ejected him from his property, then all of a sudden repudiated his signature. There is a factual issue about whether the person who signed it actually signed it. We believe he did."

"I've not seen a case yet where AF Holdings has been able to prove to any court's satisfaction that this was not a case of either identity theft or forgery or something of that nature," said Chen. "I know you dispute this on behalf of your client. Is there a case where you have prevailed on this issue?"

"There's not a case where we have not prevailed," insisted Duffy,
When in doubt, go for the double negatives, I guess... Anyway, there's a lot more at that link. Duffy also tried to attack the credibility of Delvan Neville, the computer expert who presented incredibly compelling testimony that John Steele or someone closely associated with him was uploading the files Prenda was suing over themselves. As the judge pointed out, however, Duffy failed to actually file anything in any case that factually disputes Neville's statements. All he did was whine about Neville as a person and his credentials. The judge appears to find the lack of any such factual filings noteworthy.
"You take on his declaration... you argue about it. You say his opinions are worthless, et cetera, et cetera, purely conjectural, they don't make logical or economic sense. [But] I don't see any factual matter submitted. You had a full two weeks to respond.
We eagerly await Judge Chen's ruling.

Of course, there was also another Prenda hearing today down in Arizona, where Judge G. Murray Snow has also been expressing quite a bit of skepticism. There, Prenda red shirt Steve Goodhue filed "answers" to some of the questions Snow asked, which we've embedded below, but as of this writing no other details of the hearing have come about. I'm sure we'll find something out in the next week or so...

Meanwhile, back in St. Clair County, Illinois, where Prenda had focused a bunch of their state court actions, Charter Communications is now asking the judge to award it $5,000 from Team Prenda to pay for the costs of having to deal with Prenda's invalid subpoenas in one of the LW Systems (another shell) cases.
Charter attorney Robert Sprague of Belleville wrote in a motion July 11 that the company has asked for reimbursement from plaintiff attorney Paul Duffy of Chicago after Gleeson ruled June 6 that the subpoena was invalid, but that its requests have been ignored.

Sprague’s motion also claims that Duffy has not provided notice that customer information Charter inadvertently provided due to the invalid Jan. 31 subpoena has been destroyed.

“Charter customer information, including name and address information, is ordinarily confidential and subject to the protection under the Cable Act,” the motion states. “Customer information cannot be produced absent a valid court order requiring Charter to provide it.
It may be slow, but it seems like the world may finally start to be closing in on Prenda...


Reader Comments (rss)

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 5:48pm

    DULL.

    Now use up those "First Word" points in ad hom, kids!


    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Is there anyone lower or duller than a lawyer groupie? ... Mike just loves discipline at the bench: a real masnickist!

     

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      The Court thought it beat me, but I prevailed, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:03pm

      Re: DULL.

      You are an obvious shrill for the companies that doll out this extortion towards people; I'd love to see the IP address(es) you post from. Most likely you're Mr. Steele or a goon of his; trolling only for posts about Prenda.

      I've run a divorce without a lawyer, and it cost me dearly with a child involved; I've gone back to that same court and thrown in their face that I know have custody, and that they were wrong in their initial decision. Facts, evidence, morals, and ethics win out in the long run; stupid arguments about nothing at all should win you jail time, and hefty fees.

      Please, for the love of everyone that reads these (because I do check for updates on the stupidity of lawyers, especially these cases, cause it gives me a reason to eat popcorn and laugh at dumb people) give a reasonable argument as to what their claim is. I haven't seen anything in their filings, as of yet, that doesn't incriminate themselves of fraud. Please, for the love of man/womankind give me a valid argument. Keep in mind, people that read/interact with these stories and websites have "common sense" something almost all lawyers lack, and in today's society, almost everyone lacks.

       

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        Wally (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:08pm

        Re: Re: DULL.

        Actually...that's typical OOTB...no real shill...just a bit if a troll.

         

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          The Court thought it beat me, but I prevailed, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: DULL.

          Shrill, troll, aren't they pretty much the same?

           

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          Pragmatic, Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 6:06am

          Re: Re: Re: DULL.

          She's the Crazy Copyright Lady, who hates it when due process is enforced because it messes with her sense of authoritarian order.

          What she believes she achieves when she does this is anyone's guess. I see no evidence of anyone saying, "I have seen the light! Prenda stories are not entertaining at all, nor should we butter the popcorn in anticipation of an epic takedown by Judge Otis Wright or any of his esteemed colleagues, for lo! It is a waste of time we could be spending shilling for the MAFIAA."

          I think it's telling that she doesn't even get much support from the other trolls, even when they disagree with Mike or the other article writers.

          They just spout their own B.S. and leave her on her own. What does that tell you?

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:08pm

    My hair is on fire...

    At this point, we're well past Enough Already(!)/Not-Funny-Any-More and rapidly approaching Dude-I'm-Gonna-Hurl with these clowns. No criticism of the author intended, but until I see an article about Prenda et al. that contains the phrase "repeatedly and with extreme prejudice" prominently displayed in the first sentence (preferably with an exclamation point in close proximity), I will be rigorously applying the TL;DR rule variant that I customarily invoke for those ever-so-special occasions when I happen to deliberately sprinkle fire ants in my eyes while deconstructing the works of George W. Bush for the entertainment of my cat.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:44pm

      Re: My hair is on fire...

      Ah come on, where's your sense of schadenfreude? Personally I never get tired of watching this pack of extortionists dance and caper about, trying to avoid punishment for their actions.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Jul 20th, 2013 @ 9:35am

      Re: My hair is on fire...

      While you have my deepest sympathies for the tragic development that you are no longer amused by the comic antics of Team Prenda; these articles and the reality described by them serve a very important function.

      Team Prenda is managing to develop a significant amount of court precedent that can be used against other copyright trolls.

      The copyright trolls are beginning to realize this. Naturally they want to silence all mention of Prenda antics. The fewer people who know about it, the better for them, but the worse for everyone else.

      If you don't like a TechDirt article on Prenda, you can simply skip over it. You do not need to expand the article. You do not need to click through to read the full article or its comments. If it would benefit you, I could write you a HOWTO that describes the techniques to accomplish this ignoring of Prenda articles so that you can increase your enjoyment of TechDirt. I can use small words and I could write it for a 2nd grade reading comprehension level.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:16pm

    "There's not a case where we have not prevailed," insisted Duffy,


    Wow, he's taking a play right out of the playbook of the devil, adding only one word in a statement that otherwise would be true but now is a lie. It's the same word even. "Ye shall not surely die."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:38pm

    Paul Duffy and out_of_the_blue just hate it when due process is enforced.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:39pm

    I believe there are no cases atm that are concluded, so its probably technically correct, right this minute. Tomorrow is another day...

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:51pm

    "Prenda red shirt Steve Goodhue" made me smile.

     

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    James Burkhardt (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:08pm

    Question. given this quote from the Goodhue case:

    Cooper's apparent motivation for his involvement with Plaintiff was his desire to gain a foothold in the adult industry.

    Plaintiff understands that Cooper's prior entrepreneurial efforts in this area had mothballed and that Mr. Steele was attempting to help Cooper find a different path to greater financial security. Plaintiff found Mr. Cooper to be unreliable and declined to work any further with him.


    How can Alan Cooper NOT have a financial interest in this case? What compensation was he getting for being poster boy? If he was supposed to be building finanical security and gain a 'foothold' in the adult industry, how does he do so if he has no financial interest in the copyright?

     

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      Trelly (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:32pm

      Re:

      Not only that, but if they made him a manager (or CEO) as claimed then there would be a paper trail of some sort. Certainly some email or letters, contracts.

      But, no pay, no paper, no communications, website filings using an address Cooper claims he never heard of in a state he has never been to.

      And, he was discussing it with his father-in-law (a retired sheriff) since the start, according to his sworn testimony. He stated that they were waiting on hearing something further before taking it to the police. That is from page 25 of the transcript at:
      http://ia601508.us.archive.org/28/items/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.93.0. pdf

       

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    Trelly (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:22pm

    "There's not a case where we have not prevailed," insisted Duffy

    The context of that is regarding the identity theft of Alan Cooper. I thought Judge Wright did rule on that and found that Cooper's signature was forged, he had sworn testimony to that effect.

    That is more than not having prevailed in proof, it is now a finding of fact.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:33pm

    I am sure SJD or someone else will correct me if I am remembering this incorrectly but the DC case where they "identified" Mr. Harris has an "issue" IIRC.

    I am pretty sure this is the case where the Judge told them in no uncertain terms they were NOT to use the gathered information to pursue people after they dismissed the case. And funny they file a named case, one has to wonder how they obtained the name without violating the Judge's order in the DC case.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:42pm

    One other note:

    Paul Duffy is a MUGU.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2013 @ 2:49am

    it isn't just Prenda and those involved with that 'Law Firm' that the world needs to close in on. there have been far too many verdicts in favour of companies against various individuals with the flimsiest of evidence, if any bona fide evidence at all. the ones more at fault than even the dubious firms like Prenda, (and there appears to be a hell of a lot!) are the courts themselves! they have been handing out guilty verdicts on basically no evidence and the accused being unable to defend themselves because of the cost and the embarrassment, even when innocent. the situation itself may not have been the courts fault but they certainly did nothing to rectify it, preferring to just assume guilt because of the accusation. what a justice system! take the easy road rather than the correct road because it's quicker and more cases can be dealt with!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    I guess Mr. Steele will have to sell his expensive new car, the one he was bragging about.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    I find it hilarious that all of these judgments aren't being leveled specifically against Prenda Law or Team Prenda but rather against the individual attorneys themselves. It also makes it difficult for Duffy, Steele and the other to avoid paying those fees and fines since they can be pursued wherever they go.

    I have to wonder, unless they are setting up their own law firm, if any respectable law firm would ever hire these morons after all of this drama has played out.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jul 20th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      They are actually, something like 'We fight piracy' or some such rot, so when they say they are 'winding down Prenda's cases' to make it look like they aren't filing lawsuits everywhere, it's true, but only as a technicality, the ones behind the company are still quite busy in the extortion business.

       

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