'Defendant' In Prenda Law Case Reveals He Agreed To Take A Dive

from the incredible dept

Back in December, we wrote about one of Prenda Law’s latest tricks (or, rather, a whole bag of tricks) involving using shell companies (who appear to be controlled by Prenda itself, where the CEO may have been faked via identity fraud) to file cases against a single “named” defendant who settles quickly… but part of that “settlement” is that the “defendant” agrees to allow discovery of a long list of “co-conspirators.” Prenda argues that those co-conspirators cannot fight back against discovery, because they’re not “defendants.” And, thus, Prenda gets a big list of names/contact info of more people to shake down.

As we noted, there was some suspicion that the “named” defendants and their lawyers were somehow in on the deal — and the judge in at least one case flat out asked Prenda’s John Steele, and the defendant’s lawyer Adam Urbanczyk, if they “were in bed together” to come up with such a settlement. At the time, we pointed out that it was still a big leap to assume that, but now there’s a bit more evidence. In one of these cases, involving the likely-Prenda-shell-company Guava, one of the named defendants, Spencer Merkel, has filed an incredible affidavit in which he admits that Prenda had offered him a “settlement” in which he would be “named” in a lawsuit and agree to cough up his BitTorrent log files. And Prenda provided him with the lawyer who would then represent him thousands of miles from his home.

Michael offered me a settlement deal. The deal consisted of the following parts:

a. I would agree to be sued.

b. Prenda would ask for, and I would provide, a copy of the bit-torrent log from my computer. The excuse for gathering this log is that it would corroborate the IP address evidence that they had already gathered through the use of Prenda’s sottware.

c. Prenda would, upon receipt of the information, dismiss the case against me.

4. In discussion of the settlement, Michael stated that he did not know of any pro bono attorneys in Oregon, but could provide the name of an attorney who might take my case in Minnesota. Because I cannot afford to pay an attorney, I agreed to be sued in the state of Minnesota. I then retained my attorney, Trina Morrison, based on the information provided to me by Prenda Law.

Now, throughout all of this, he believed that Prenda was representing Hard Drive Productions, one of the porn companies that Prenda used to represent, but whose cases they dropped entirely not too long ago to focus solely on these questionable shell companies they claim to be “representing.”

5. Before the start of this case, I had not heard of Guava LLC. I believed that I would be sued by Hard Drive Productions, Inc. I believe that Guava LLC’s case against me is based on my admission to Michael that I downloaded the video at issue in the Hard Drive Productions case.

6. Before the case against me was filed, I had not heard of Alpha Law Firm. I believed that opposing counsel was Prenda Law.

7. Afier subpoenas were served in the case against me, I learned of Guava LLC’s and Prenda Law’s practice of finding one John Doc to be a named defendant, and then discovering the names of and requesting settlement money from other John Does by issuing subpoenas to ISPs.

Oh, and it gets worse. After all of this… Prenda went after him again, which seems to be why he’s now willing to speak out about the “deal.”

8. Last week, on 01/15/13, I was once again contacted by Prenda Law Firm. I received a voice mail from someone on behalf of Prenda Law stating that I needed to make payment arrangements or I would be sued.

At the very least this raises very serious questions about the conduct of Prenda Law and some of the lawyers who represented these named defendants. Given that Prenda is already dealing with serious questions in multiple courts about possible fraudulent activity, finding out that they may have effectively blackmailed a defendant into taking a dive, for the purpose of “agreeing” to discovery to find another batch of people to go after, can’t look good.

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Companies: guava, prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “'Defendant' In Prenda Law Case Reveals He Agreed To Take A Dive”

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Some Other AC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

From Merriam-Webster(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/queue)

1queue noun ˈky?
Definition of QUEUE
1: a braid of hair usually worn hanging at the back of the head
2: a waiting line especially of persons or vehicles
Origin of QUEUE
French, literally, tail, from Old French cue, coe, Latin cauda, coda

As stated previously, queue is also correct.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: (post parasite here)

something that occurred to me last night: the ‘mistake’ prenda, carrion (sic), etc are making, is that they are NOT part of the Big Boys Club…

IF this was Bigshots, Clubem & Taketheirmoney, Lawfirm Inc, then The Law would simply look to get their cut, one way or the other, and they would be allowed to continue extorting people and violating all the laws they want…
(see, MAFIAA)

and/or their kongresskritter fiends whose beak they have wetted, will simply make the illegal, legal (at least for a select few…)

no, it is because these guys are small, independent extortionists without the approval of the organized criminal puppetmasters that they are being kicked around some by The Law…

IF this were being done at the behest of the MAFIAA, or some other power elite players, then i’m sure they would find a much more accommodating reception with The Law…

no, these are just small timers trying to cash-in on the extortion racket that the MAFIAA, etc owns; and the REAL organized crime element doesn’t want anyone horning in on their action…

VERY much akin to the banksters, where THE major players who looted and crashed the economy skate away scot-free (WITH THE MONEY! in fact, we paid them off MORE), while a pitiful FEW, lowly henchmen get crucified for relatively nothingburger financial crimes…

just speculatin’…

art guerrilla
aka ann archy

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: (post parasite here)

The big boys lawyers aren’t dumb enough to try to pull the stunts these guys are trying. They have more effective ways of making money than extorting little fish. They use their connections to get giant tax breaks and ask the DOJ to take out those they don’t like. They can’t waste their time with petty crap like this.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Might I suggest ‘honoring’ Prenda by using their name as the new word?


1. To screw up the legalities of a case to such a degree, that the onlookers can only look on in awe at the incompetence and/or corruption of those involved.
2. To show such contempt for the legal system that it is clear to all and sundry that you just don’t care anymore.

Example: Man, his lawyer was doing so well, and then he totally prenda’d that case up when he ignored the orders the judge gave him and continued to question the witness in front of everyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just about the time you think you’ve heard the last new low in moral behavior, you get to learn a new one that resets the bar lower.

No wonder there are so many bad lawyer jokes. Apparently Prenda is looking to be the poster child.

I agree that this is no longer entertainment and now looks to be what it is, legal extortion, plain and simple. This needs plastered across the news nation wide. I would suspect after that, a new country of residence might be desired for those of this outfit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That just hasn’t happened yet. Besides, the judges may just be waiting for them to pile on enough crap that their licenses to practice law get revoked and they are never allowed to practice law ever again. They also may be waiting for them to exhaust their entire bag of tricks so that they can set precedent in killing all of them so that others don’t try to use them.

That One Guy (profile) says:

On the one hand, I’m glad that the guy is stepping forward with this information, as something like this should cause Prenda some serious hurt, and yet on the other I cannot suppress a serious case of schadenfreude over the fact that even after he threw his ‘co-defendants’ to the parasites(I won’t demean wolves by comparing them to Prenda) they still tried to shake him down later.

Mr. Pond says:


This would appear to be a serious abuse of the entire legal process. At what point does this stop being a sequnce of events that irritates judges (never a smart move) and start being a criminql investigation in to a conspiracy to seriously pervert the course of justice?

On the facts as known I would suggest that several people should be going to prison, and by that I certainly do not mean the hapless does!

arachne (profile) says:

Prenda Was OK Until Dots Started to Be Connected

All of the events in this case were spread across different courts in different parts of the country. It wasn’t until defendants started to get a look at the big picture– thank you to those who made the facts available– that any single judge would have known what was going on. Even so it is necessary to come up with a legal theory that would allow the evidence of misbehavior to be introduced. (I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, I just haven’t given it much thought. A party can’t just introduce evidence willy-nilly, it has to be allowed by the Rules of Evidence in the Court where the case is being heard.)

inOr (profile) says:


As I see it: Prenda’s behavior is criminal extortion. Whether you are guilty of copyright violation or not, requesting cash in exchange for silence is extortion (No, I’m not a lawyer. If you’re involved in such a case, ask a bona fide lawyer.) If they have evidence against a perpetrator of a crime, it’s their duty to report the crime to the authorities. Similarly, if you receive one of their letters, it’s your duty to report same. To your local DA, I guess. Understandably, if you think you may be guilty of their allegation(s), you may not want to involve the law immediately. But if you simply refuse their demands, the ball will now be in their court (Tennis, not judicial.). If they pursue a civil action, they will have to take you to court and convince a judge that they have the preponderance of the evidence on their side. As the TechDirt stories make clear, Prenda is having a hard time convincing judges (in more than one state) to award them any damages. If I understand correctly, you could have some success winning an award for your legal fees, if the presiding judge is convinced their suit is ill-founded, abuses the judicial system and you, and diverts the courts from doing their real job.

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