Prenda's Latest Trick: Pretend There Are NO Defendants So No One Can Object

from the that-bag-o'-tricks dept

Back in December we talked about some of the many items in Prenda Law’s bag of copyright trolling tricks, focused on getting courts to allow discovery on IP addresses at any cost. The end goal, of course, is merely to get contact info for the purpose of beginning the intimidation campaign to get people to pay up to avoid the “threat” of a lawsuit from Prenda. That post listed a whole series of “tricks” that Prenda used to set up this ridiculous house of cards to try to both avoid having to name people as defendants (whereby they might defend themselves against such discovery), while also filing a ton of lawsuits that implicate the same IPs around the country, doing a bit of jurisdiction shopping.

The latest trick is that after being called on this, Prenda is seeking to deny the efforts to fight back by some of those who are associated with the IP addresses connected to these lawsuits. How? By arguing not just that these IP addresses don’t represent defendants in the case, but actually going so far as to argue that there are no defendants in the case because the case itself is filed against “John Doe.” The fact that the people associated with the IP addresses in question are still being sought as possible “co-conspirators” is completely ignored, as Prenda claims that makes no difference.

The lawyers at Booth Sweet representing those associated with a few of the IP addresses have hit back, pointing out just how silly these legal claims are, but also noting that if there is no defendant in the case, then there is no case and the whole thing should be dismissed:

If Plaintiff is the only party in this action, then filing suit was premature. “[A]n actual controversy must exist not only at the time the complaint is filed, but through all stages of the litigation.” … “With no defendant there is no case or controversy and thus no jurisdiction for this Court to act.” … Plaintiff’s solitary version of litigation has no place in the federal courts. As Plaintiff conceded in the prior action, “courts only have subject matter jurisdiction over justiciable matters, which are matters in controversy between an actual plaintiff and an actual defendant.” … The Court should order Plaintiff to show cause why its one-party suit should not be dismissed.

They also point out that courts have long rejected the ridiculous claim that as long as it’s a “John Doe” being sued, the target is not a party to the lawsuit until being named. Obviously that would make it impossible to object to being named, because you’d have no standing to object… until you were already named. Such a scenario makes no sense, but it’s one of the many crazy legal theories Prenda is now pushing.

As we’ve noted before, nearly every move by Prenda feels like a move by a cocky (and not very intelligent) lawyer who thinks he’s outsmarted the system via a whole series of loopholes, while all the various moves really do is raise even more awareness of an impressive level of incompetence. I knew a kid like that back in college, who thought he’d figured out every angle, and had a loophole planned for everything. It was the sort of thing where you just shook your head and though that if he’d only applied half the effort he’d put into finding loopholes to actually doing the work in question, he might actually be really successful. But, instead, it’s all about the loopholes that don’t impress anyone.

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Companies: prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Prenda's Latest Trick: Pretend There Are NO Defendants So No One Can Object”

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G Thompson (profile) says:


In one amazing leap Prenda have just removed 600yrs (yes it comes from the 14th century) of legal usage, precedent, statute, and jurisprudence.

That’s freakin awesome.. they must be scholars of amazing intellect and knowledge to have come up with the way to disallow this legal fiction though still allowing people unknown or who’s names have to be withheld (minors etc) to be sued.

Well there goes Roe v Wade guess!


G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s your problem…

see I live in a Democratic country where the religious nutters don’t have control of my every thought and where the right to choose is absolute with women up to 2nd trimester.

Also where tort reform stops the bullshit that Prenda does. You know a system where if a plaintiff brings action civilly and loses they actually have to pay all costs (not just legal costs) so though some troll like companies have tried to get something put into place our court system and general attitude within the community to fraudsters and barratry stops them before they can do anything

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Pretenda law in action.
There was a court in the US that did hold that Does had no rights to contest because they were not a party to the case seeking their information. DC Courts, Judge Beryl “I lobbied for Stroz” Howell.
Its a wonderful catch 22, you can’t do anything to stop them from getting your account information because your not named… but they can get your name and account information based on an IP address.

Ruggiero (sp) what a pile of *expletive deleted*.
His NY office is a post office box in a UPS store.
His name is associated with some sort of lending scam with mortgages.
He is on like 10 cookie cutter websites claiming lawyers in all 50 states to handle anything.
Oh and his claim to fame… he got someone satisfaction once in a lemon law case.
Hims not very bright.
Not to mention his last name brings up all sorts of search stories about a woman who framed her ex-husband for a whole slew of bad things and died in custody. He is linked because a member of the family with the same first and last name was facing perjury charges… never did see if it was this one or not… NH records aren’t googleable.

So thats the sort of toady that works for Pretenda.
I am still amazed they get any money out of people, but they do.
I’m REALLY amazed they are still operating when they are facing charges in at least 3 different courts as their scam collapses.
There is evidence before a court showing the plaintiff in the case had no standing to bring suit, and the case still is lingering… fraud upon the court should be punished swiftly I thought.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Oh and this just in…
Lutz is back working the phones for Pretenda.
Is this the final rush to shake the last of the cash before the hammer falls?

Funny he told a Judge he didn’t work for Pretenda…
And well Pretenda is not in good standing…
Funny how this travesty is allowed to continue in the country.

That One Guy (profile) says:

You know, if a judge was to give their attempt all the serious attention and consideration it deserves, that is, none, there seems to be an opening for some real hilarity here.

Judge: “Very well, your claim stands. Unfortunately, with no defendant, there can be no co-conspirators, which means your case is now without legal standing, and is therefor dismissed.”

And then the entire court gets to see Prenda’s lawyers scramble like mad to salvage their scheme, like chickens who just lost their heads, though much more entertaining.

Isaac the K (profile) says:

Alternate reality? Maybe...

This whole thing seems so poorly contrived and obviously fake.

I’m wondering if, at the end of the day, the curtain will pull back to reveal Prenda as a firm intentionally set up to troll the legal system into setting precedent AGAINST litigation trolls.

In other words, wouldn’t it be freaky if Prenda was just operating as a legislative “double agent” attempting to pull the rug out from under other copyright trolls?

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