Former Righthaven CEO Fights Back; Claims As The Manager Of The Manager Of Righthaven He's Still In Power
from the popcorn dept
We recently wrote about how the receiver for Righthaven’s assets, Lara Pearson, was surprised to learn that Righthaven founder and former CEO Steve Gibson had gone out and hired lawyers in an attempt to continue the appeals court cases concerning some of its district court losses on key issues. Given that Righthaven had gone into receivership, and Pearson had effectively taken control while auctioning off what few assets there were, this was a problem. Pearson made it clear to Gibson that he no longer had anything to do with Righthaven, alerted both the lawyers he had hired and the court of what Gibson had done, and hoped that Gibson would go away. No such luck: he’s now filed an “objection to the receiver’s notification terminating” his job. You can see the whole thing below.
He makes a few points. First, he again reiterates that Righthaven’s key lawyer in many of these lawsuits, Shawn Mangano, had simply stopped responding to him back in February. He seems to want to blame the mess he’s in on that. Separately, he argues that the receiver did not have the right to take over the company, and that she did not follow specific court rules. Also, he appears to be trying to reclaim ownership of Righthaven, though the argument is complex:
Even if the Receiver’s termination of me as CEO was somehow within her authority and done within the parameters of permitted procedure, the Receiver’s position that that somehow divests me of authority would be wrong. A limited liability company is ultimately governed by its members and the members have chosen Net Sortie Systems, LLC (“Net Sortie”) as its statutory manager. I am the manager of Net Sortie. While the manager manages the CEO, in the absence of a CEO, the manager would assume management of all affairs of Righthaven…
He seems particularly upset that Pearson went out and hired another lawyer — one who fought against Righthaven — to help deal with the ongoing appeal, which likely means an effort to get the case closed as quickly and simply as possible. Gibson claims that it’s his right to make such hires, despite the dismissal from his job that appears to indicate otherwise. He also keeps suggesting that there’s a public interest in having the case heard at the appeals court — and insists that (the old) Righthaven would succeed on appeal and get a litany of district court rulings against it overturned.
The filing is also chock full of snide remarks directed at Marc Randazza, with Gibson suggesting that the fact that blogs and others in the press have been mocking him is all because of Randazza — and that the press’ interest in this case is somehow unfair to him. Gibson really does seem taken aback at the fact that no one seems to be on his side any more. His own lawyer won’t returns his calls. His job at Righthaven has been stripped away. He’s being investigated for all this. So you can understand why he’s lashing out and going legal, but this can’t end well for him.
Rather, it appears that the Receiver is following the agenda of Mr. Randazza who apparently has a very serious concern that the Ninth Circuit will rule in Righthaven’s favor and unravel, finally, his vigorous press campaign, his personal attacks and any right to legal fees he currently enjoys. Unlike Mr. Randazza, Righthaven generally has made a conscious decision to not litigate matters in the press, to not engage in personal attacks either before the courts or otherwise and to address the legal arguments in a clinical fashion.
Independently, as addressed more fully, infra, I remain the manager of the manager of Righthaven and I should have the right to hire or terminate Righthaven counsel.
In other words, this saga is simply not over yet.