Prenda Law Tries The 'I Know You Are, But What Am I' Legal Strategy

from the legal-childishness-at-work dept

Ah, Prenda Law. As you may recall, there’s been an ongoing fight over some Prenda cases in California, with the key players being Prenda lawayer Brett Gibbs, lawyer for some John Doe defendants Morgan Pietz, and judge Otis Wright. Oh yeah, and the possibly mysterious Alan Cooper, who may or may not be Prenda mastermind John Steele’s property caretaker. As you may recall, the caretaker Cooper had a lawyer file some documents in some Prenda cases involving shell companies AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13, suggesting that he was worried that Steele had faked his identity and claimed that Cooper was the CEO of those two companies, when they were really controlled by Steele.

While Cooper’s claims were not made by him in the California cases, Pietz brought them up in those cases, leading to a series of hissy fits from Gibbs. At first he refused to answer a simple question about who Alan Cooper really is, and then when ordered to do so by Judge Wright, asked that Wright be removed from the case for bias. If you thought that was the end of things, you don’t know Prenda Law, apparently. The latest filing from Gibbs takes legal childishness to altogether new levels, more or less trying to flip things around and claim that it’s really Pietz who is making up people who he represents. I’m not joking.

Thus far, Attorney Morgan Pietz has submitted filings in approximately twenty cases in the Central District on the basis of the fact that he represents the putative John Doe in this case. However, Mr. Pietz has not offered a single shred of evidence to support this assertion. As it stands, Mr. Pietz could very well be intervening in all of these cases for his own ends, with no real client that he is defending. If Mr. Pietz wishes to contest the plain, unambiguous evidence of bias that Plaintiff has demonstrated in its Motion for Disqualification, then Mr. Pietz should have to submit evidence that he is, in fact, representing the actual individual he claims to represent, and not merely inserting himself into cases on the pretense of representing that individual.

Every time we see another story about Prenda law, it seems to involve someone associated with the firm doing something incredibly unprofessional and childish, in a manner suggesting they think they’re a hell of a lot smarter than everyone else and are actually pulling something over on the world — when the reality is that all of their moves seem ridiculously transparent.

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Companies: af holdings, ingenuity 13, prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Prenda Law Tries The 'I Know You Are, But What Am I' Legal Strategy”

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47 Comments
Any moose in the cow herd? says:

Re: Prove you're John Doe's lawyer

From a psychology standpoint, this appears to be a classic case of projecting. Here we have lawyers who are willing to do anything to subvert justice without any care for honesty or legality and automatically assume all other lawyers must be the same. It’s also an attempt at misdirection, to get eyes looking where you want them instead of where they should be, typical sleight of hand tricks one expects from a magician, not lawyers. They don’t seem to realize that it’s far too late for that. The judge has already seen the man behind the curtain.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’d just like to point out Mr. Lutz Pretenda’s debt collector/1099 company representative who knows nothing about the companies he’s appeared in court representing has already sold off most of his possession from his FL home and fled to Mexico.
It might be high time that someone freeze the assets of Pretenda and the new company name, grab some passports, and start demanding answers to very serious questions.
Mr. Steele publicly stated he was making millions, and I am willing to bet most of that money is in St.Kitts/Nevis where the shell companies are set up.

Another AC says:

Re: But that does raise the interesting question...

If he’s doing a good job defending, does it matter? 🙂

But seriously, I suspect the court would take his word that he is actually defending the John Doe as sufficient.

I also suspect that they would probably take Gibb’s word as sufficient as well that Alan Cooper is a different Alan Cooper then John Steeles’ caretaker – the problem is that he won’t come out and say it which is probably why he is being pressed on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: But that does raise the interesting question...

The problem for Gibbs is, John Steele’s caretaker has filed statements saying Steele told him to call if anyone contacted Cooper asking about John’s fake companies… Now why would a property manager need to be in the loop on the property owner’s extortion scam? It sounds super-suspicious, and the bottom line is if there is a real Alan Cooper in Saint Kitts and Nevis it should be easy enough for him to file even just a statement saying he exists, especially if he expects to enjoy the use of the US courts. Forget invasive discovery or document filing requirements, why isn’t there some person who will least claim to be the Alan Cooper at issue? Think of how stupid this defendant’s attorney would look if Gibbs just busted out some simple proof the real Alan Cooper exists and made all of these accusations disappear. The fact that he won’t do this when it would only be to his and his plaintiff’s advantage and the defendant’s disadvantage says it all.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: But that does raise the interesting question...

Maybe the defense counsel can identify their anonymous client to the court and only to the court. The client can remain unknown to the plaintiff. That could satisfy the court that the defendant is indeed real.

The plaintiff in this case wants to discover the identify of the defendant. If the plaintiff can stop playing games like “where’s the CEO?” and “I know you are . . .”, then they could get on with starting a real litigation against the defendant and then discover defendant’s identity during actual litigation.

Alas, the plaintiff never had any actual intention of litigating.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: But that does raise the interesting question...

Also, “where’s the CEO” isn’t a game.
It’s a very VERY serious issue which could get a lot of Prenda’s lawyers disbarred and in deep deep shit with the IRS, the SEC and a bunch of others…..

I say we combine the forces of today’s modern evil and have a TSA agent do a full cavity search of Steele to see if Alan is hiding up there…..

That One Guy (profile) says:

Of course the part that kills me the most about this circus act, is that despite apparently being smart enough to make it through law school, Prenda’s lawyers actually seem to think that all this song and dance is doing anything other than making everyone even more sure that the ‘mystery CEO’ is in fact a complete fabrication.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No its keeping the doors of their extortion mill open another day.
The new company name they moved onto after not filing the yearly report with IL for Pretenda, has been sending out demand letters under the new name to unmasked Does.
Mind you some of the names they hold are from a case where they Judge told them they could not use them… and funny those names have been used.

The money rolls in, is quickly offshored, and the empty husk of the company will have nothing for anyone to pick over.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Thats the problem. They are getting the names in cases scattered across the country. They dismiss the cases, and just run the settlement machine. No oversight, no one to complain to (who will bother to listen), and the people making all of this public are all hiding behind nyms because we can’t afford the hassle of Pretenda launching a campagin against us.
Its so very hard to get a Judge to accept someone filing anonymously, let alone get them to consider the facts reported to them.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s the old legal strategy of …

If the law is on your side, pound on the law.
If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.
If neither facts nor law are available, pound on the table.

… with a new twist:
If you’re in way, way, waay over your head, and the stress has blown most mental fusing, pound that career to bits on the rocks.

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