from the about-time dept
Update: And... another one's gone too.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Nov 13th 2013 4:07pm
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 11th 2013 8:24pm
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 11th 2013 1:42pm
The plaintiff named in the Family Dentistry lawsuit is Lily Poss, a visually impaired woman from North Mankato. Poss said she supports the organization's mission statement. However, she's not sure she can support Hansmeier after learning about the tactics he's using.The article notes that Poss signed up for this after getting a call from a cousin she hadn't spoken to in years -- named Allan Mooney. You may recall that name from previous Prenda lawsuits, where it was spelled many different ways (Allan Mooney, Alan Mony, Alan Moony, etc), and who later told a reporter that he didn't know he was involved in these lawsuits. Of course, now you have to wonder about that if he's signing up his long lost cousins for the latest wacky scheme from Hansmeier to shakedown companies.
Poss had no idea that lawsuit, nor another one involving a business called Bancwest Investment Services, had been filed in her name. It was her understanding she would be providing information about websites that would be used to educate businesses, she said. She said it was possible that lawsuits would be filed if businesses didn't comply, but she didn't realize Hansmeier and Class Justice would be going after small businesses such as Family Dentistry.
"We consider ourselves to be an advocacy association more than we consider ourselves a law firm," he said. "With the porn reputation, I wanted to shift my focus and focus on something more positive. We're really focused on doing it right so anyone who hears about us says, 'Yeah. This is the right way to go about it.'"I know. Stop laughing. Of course, no one thinks this is the right way to go about it. The same reporter asked Ken Rodgers, the past president of the American Council of the Blind chapter in Minnesota, who agreed that websites that were hard for the blind to read can be a problem, but also made clear that he did not support what Hansmeier was doing at all, and, in fact, felt that it was just another way to squeeze money out of companies:
"Is he trying to make websites accessible, or is he just banking on the lawsuit revenue?" Rodgers said. "All this is doing is making the attorney wealthy, not fixing the problem. I would much rather have somebody make a business case to a business that has a website."Furthermore, for all of Hansmseier's claims of doing "advocacy" work, when the reporter asked him to detail what advocacy organizations he's working with, he couldn't name any.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 7th 2013 8:05pm
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Nov 6th 2013 7:29pm
Based upon Cooper’s side of these two conversations, Steele testified that it was his “understanding that he [Cooper] had given authority to Mark and his people if he wasn’t available, that he could sign the various documents as long as he understood what the document related to . . . .” Finding Steele’s testimony regarding his “understanding” of an agreement between Cooper and Lutz to be vague, the Court asked directly, “Did you hear Mr. Cooper give Mr. Lutz authority or permission to sign his name to documents?” Steele replied “yes.” The Court expressly disbelieves Steele’s testimony in this regard.Noel goes on to point out that AF Holdings failed to produce an officer of the company who was "capable of testifying to the authenticity of each copyright-assignment agreement." He doesn't make much of Lutz's not appearance (and subsequent disappearance) other than mentioning that Lutz did not appear.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 5th 2013 8:07pm
The litigation smacked of bullying pretense.Elsewhere, the judge notes that awarding attorneys' fees is appropriate "when counsel acted recklessly, raised baseless claims despite notice of the frivolous nature of these claims, or otherwise showed indifference to statutes, rules, or court orders," suggesting that he sees Team Prenda's actions as fitting into those categories.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 4th 2013 8:07pm
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 25th 2013 3:57pm
The e-mail further discloses information about the settlement demands in this case. Yet, Plaintiff’s settlement demands were filed under seal by order of the district court. The e-mail’s author appears to be in possession of non-public sealed information, which a reasonable person might conclude was furnished by the Magistrate Judge, even if it was not.Of course, the information on settlement demands by Team Prenda can be found widely online. Hansmeier leaves that bit out, of course.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 22nd 2013 2:35am
Second, the documents Mr. Godfread proposes to file are inadmissible because they are not authenticated. Mr. Godfread claims that the exhibits "appear" to be financial records of Prenda Law, Inc. Perhaps he is right, but I have not reviewed Prenda Law's financials and neither, presumably, has he. Until he can authenticate the documents, they are inadmissible;Seems like there's a pretty quick way to take care of that. Judge Noel can put one of the Prendaristas on the stand and ask them if the documents are accurate. Either way, claiming that they're not "authenticated" seems like pretty weak sauce at this stage of the game.
Third, the documents undermine Mr. Godfread's narrative. I have consistently stated—often to deaf ears—that I sold my law practice to Prenda Law in late-2011 and subsequently pursued other interests. That is what these documents show. I am labeled an "old owner" throughout the documents. With one de minimus exception, the only transfers I received from Prenda Law were in consideration of the sale of my practice;As Gibbs detailed in his filing, the use of "old owners" was clearly done to leave open exactly this excuse, but it does not seem even remotely credible given the massive amount that continued to go to both Steele and Hansmeier long after the sale. While it's certainly not unheard of for service businesses like law firms and accounting firms to include a percentage of ongoing revenue for a few years after sale, having this much go to Steele and Hansmeier suggests something else. At the very least, it's quite relevant for a deeper discussion into Hansmeier's and Steele's claims of having no relationship with Prenda.
Fourth, the documents have no relevance to the subject-matter of this case, which was filed as an action for copyright infringement. Although it has since morphed into a different matter, the day-to-day ledgers of a law firm are not relevant to either inquiry;Really? I mean, this one doesn't even require a response, since the "subject-matter" of the case is about whether or not Prenda and related companies and individuals were engaged in fraud. It seems highly relevant.
Fifth, if these documents are authentic, then they were stolen. No business would release sensitive financial documents to its adversaries. I understand that this matter is being investigated and will be reported to law enforcement, as appropriate.Again, as Gibbs explained, it appears these documents were placed in a shared Dropbox account, meaning they were given to him. Yes, at the time he was still part of Team Prenda, but that doesn't mean the documents were "stolen." Anyway, there's something kind of funny about Hansmeier saying that this 'theft' "will be reported to law enforcement." It seems quite likely that law enforcement already knows... and that's because there's an ongoing investigation of Hansmeier.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 21st 2013 3:54pm
The value of the plaintiffs name is not appropriated by mere mention of it, or by reference to it in connection with legitimate mention of his public activities; nor is the value of his likeness appropriated when it is published for purposes other than taking advantage of his reputation, prestige, or other value associated with him, for purposes of publicity. No one has the right to object merely because his name or his appearance is brought before the public, since neither is in any way a private matter and both are open to public observation. It is only when the publicity is given for the purpose of appropriating to the defendant's benefit the commercial or other values associated with the name or the likeness that the right of privacy is invaded.Of course, all of that is sensible law. It's not an invasion of privacy to merely mention someone's name or to talk about their public activities. But that's not what is alleged to have happened here. The accusation is that Steele forged Cooper's signature on legal documents. To pretend that's the equivalent of a mere mentioning of Cooper is ridiculous. From there, Steele argues that the signature is just a "coincidental" signature of someone named Alan Cooper, and since it might not even be this Cooper, it doesn't rely on his "persona," but is rather "a coincidental use of the same name."
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants used the name "Alan Cooper" without his express permission, but he does not allege that Defendants' use of the name leveraged Plaintiff's "reputation, prestige, social or commercial standing, public interest or other values of the plaintiff's name or likeness." Indeed, Plaintiff's own allegations express uncertainty over whether he is even the "Alan Cooper" referenced in the allegedly-offending documents. (See Compl. 91 41) ("Defendants have never identified another person by the name of Alan Cooper who could plausibly have signed the documents shown as Exhibit A or Exhibit B.") The reason why Plaintiff is uncertain whether he is the "Alan Cooper" referenced in Plaintiff's documents is the very same reason why his claim must fail: nothing in the documents containing the name "Alan Cooper" is linked to or otherwise leverages the qualities of Plaintiff's persona. Plaintiff does not allege otherwise. Plaintiff has no exclusive right to the use of the generic name "Alan Cooper." Otherwise, any person who signed a document, "Alan Cooper"--that is, even someone whose legal name was Alan Cooper--could be liable for invading Plaintiff's privacy. The Court should dismiss Plaintiff's Count I with prejudice.The chutzpah it takes to file something like that with the court is rather stunning. He's not denying that he signed Alan Cooper's name. He's just arguing that it's not a violation of Alan Cooper's privacy because Alan Cooper is a common name. That takes balls. Of course, if it really was just some other Alan Cooper, then that's got to come back to bite Steele as well. After all, in the Navasca deposition by Paul Hansmeier, Hansmeier stated that Steele had been the one who got Alan Cooper's signature. And, when Judge Wright ordered "the real Alan Cooper" to appear in his court room, the only one who showed was the one who's now suing Steele. At no point has Steele previously indicated that there was another Alan Cooper, yet now he's trying to get out of this case by shrugging it off and saying it could be any Alan Cooper? Damn. He really does seem to think that everyone else in the world is dumb.
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