Alan Cooper Sues John Steele, Prenda Law And The Shell Companies He Supposedly 'Runs'
from the other-shoe-drops dept
Well, well. It was really only a matter of time, but the Alan Cooper saga has moved into its next phase. If you don’t recall, this story all starts with John Steele, who had been a divorce lawyer until he discovered copyright trolling, and suddenly went absolutely crazy filing copyright trolling lawsuits with the sole purpose of trying to scare people into paying up (of which he got a huge cut) rather than actually taking people through the judicial process. As a bunch of his lawsuits start flopping (even as enough uninformed people coughed up lots of money to Steele), he began shifting strategies. He claimed to have shut down his law firm, only to pop up again in Florida with Prenda Law doing the same thing (and ran into some troubles for not being licensed to practice law there). Late last year, it appeared that Steele hit on a new strategy of using shell companies to try a whole bunch of tricks and loopholes for getting around the reason his cases kept getting thrown out. There were suspicions that the shell companies, going by names like AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13 and Guava, were nothing more than Steele and/or his partners, but there was little evidence at the time. That’s quickly changing.
Back in December, a guy named Alan Cooper, who had been hired by Steele to be the caretaker of some of Steele’s property in Minnesota, intervened in a few AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 cases to point out that it had come to his attention that both companies were claiming that a guy named Alan Cooper was managing those companies, and he had reasons to believe that Steele had simply used his name. While a few courts ignored the letters, some judges have started asking questions, and no one associated with Prenda seems to want to answer the simple question: which Alan Cooper runs those companies?
Apparently Prenda’s silence on the matter has been enough for caretaker Cooper (and his lawyer) and they’ve now sued Prenda, John Steele, AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13, directly claiming that Steele is in charge of all of those and forged Cooper’s signature. In fact, in the exhibits, Cooper presents the caretaking agreement he did sign with Steele, and then suggests that documents showing a signature for Alan Cooper regarding AF Holdings or Ingenuity 13 are really attempts to forge the same signature in that caretaking document. Cooper is charging Steele and Prenda with invasion of privacy (via appropriation), deceptive trade practices and civil conspiracy, as well as arguing that the corporate veil should be pierced for all three companies, as they’re nothing more than shells for Steele to hide behind.
Of course, if this keeps up, Steele may be facing a lot worse than civil charges. Forging someone’s name and lying to the court aren’t things that tend to go over well in criminal cases.