Another Day, And Another Smackdown For Righthaven: Told To Pay Up For Misleading The Court
from the on-the-ropes dept
Yes, another day and another judicial smackdown for Righthaven. In the case before Judge Roger Hunt, where he dismissed Righthaven for its sham copyright assignment claims and threatened sanctions against the company, it appears that Judge Hunt was not convinced by Righthaven’s grovelling, that it was all the fault of former in-house attorneys, who failed to disclose that Stephens Media had a 50% stake in the outcome of any of these lawsuits.
Hunt has gone forward with the sanctions, telling Righthaven to pay $5,000 for misleading the court. It seems that defendants in the 200+ other lawsuits now have reasons to ask for similar sanctions against Righthaven as well. In fact, part of this ruling was to get this information attached to every other Righthaven case:
Besides the $5,000, Hunt ordered Righthaven to disclose its original lawsuit contract with Stephens Media in active lawsuits over R-J material. He also ordered that a transcript of today?s hearing, in which he made several negative comments about Righthaven?s conduct, be posted on Righthaven court dockets.
Separately, Judge Hunt publicly bolstered the chances of the attempts to file racketeering charges against Righthaven, under the theory that the company was involved in the unauthorized practice of law:
?In the court?s view, the arrangement between Righthaven and Stephens Media is nothing more, nor less, than a law firm ? which incidentally I don?t think is licensed to practice law in this state ? with a contingent fee agreement masquerading as a company.?
The judge also blasted the arguement from Righthaven that forgetting to disclose Stephens’ Media’s interest in the cases was a mere oversight, by specifically calling out Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson:
Hunt noted it was Righthaven?s CEO, Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson, who drew up the lawsuit contract between Righthaven and Stephens Media. Defense attorneys have said it was Gibson who signed off on some of the false disclosures and that Gibson is behind the entire Righthaven litigation campaign.
I wonder if Steve Gibson is still trying to peddle his line about how the judges think that Righthaven is “genuine,” and that all these rulings are really about giving guidance to Righthaven copycats.