Prenda Lawyer Hires His Own Lawyer, Tries To Tapdance His Way Out Of A Jail Sentence By Throwing Prenda Under The Bus
from the it's-not-me,-it's-them dept
A few weeks ago, we noted that not only did Judge Otis Wright not buy Prenda Law’s Brett Gibbs’ ridiculous claims concerning the mysterious Alan Cooper, but that Gibbs was facing sanctions, including the possibility of jailtime for his actions in the case. Gibbs did the smart thing and found himself a lawyer of his own to respond to these allegations, though the response raises a lot more questions than it answers, and seems primarily focused on throwing Prenda itself under the bus, basically arguing that Gibbs was just a lawyer hired by Prenda, doing whatever the client asked. There’s also the admission that he’s never met Alan Cooper, and so cannot comment on which Alan Cooper is in charge of AF Holdings, and whether or not there really is an Alan Cooper at AF Holdings at all (which does little to explain Gibbs’ silly response to being asked about Cooper earlier in the case):
I have never met Alan Cooper, and do not know what the extent of Mr. Cooper’s role is in A F Holdings aside from seeing a signature from an “Alan Cooper” on the copyright assignments and pleadings. Based on the assignment agreement, A F Holdings held the valid and exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute the film Popular Demand. I was not present when the assignment agreement was executed. I also never had any direct contact with either Raymond Rogers or Alan Cooper. I have never executed a document as “Alan Cooper.” I did not play a role in or have knowledge of the assignment transaction at issue. Senior members of S & H provided the assignment agreement to me and informed me that the copyright assignment was a true and correct copy of the copyright assignment and to include it as an exhibit in complaints filed on behalf of A F Holdings L L C . Before filing any such complaints, I confirmed that A F Holdings L L C was in fact listed as the valid copyright holder.
But, really the key point of Gibbs’ filing seems to be blame Prenda, not me:
I have never had a financial or fiduciary (i.e., ownership) interest in A F Holdings. AF Holdings was a client of S&H and then Prenda. The face-to-face and direct interactions between S&H and later Prenda with A F Holdings were handled by the senior members of the law firms and not me.
As for the fact that he “verified” that Cooper had signed stuff? He says he either saw it, or maybe someone at Prenda just told him it was signed:
I confirmed the existence of the client-executed verification either by seeing a copy of the signed verification, or at the very least, being informed by a representative of S&H or Prenda that a signed verification was in the possession of S & H or Prenda.
Oh, and he also claims that he asked Prenda for the original copy of Alan Cooper’s signature… but Prenda claims that it no longer has it. Uh huh.
In Case No. 84, Mr. Pietz first asked for a copy of Mr. Cooper’s verification to the petition to perpetuate testimony on or about December 2012, well after the petition had been discharged. Given the length of time since the case was discharged, I was informed and understand that S&H (and later Prenda) no longer has a copy of Mr. Cooper’s verification to the petition to perpetuate testimony.
Law firms (real ones, that is) tend not to throw out things like original documents with signatures on them.
Gibbs’ filing then goes on to respond to the other issues raised by the court pointing out that Prenda needed to have more proof of people’s involvement beyond just an IP address, trying to explain that they really did do more research. However, as the folks at FightcopyrightTrolls have been pointing out, his explanations are highly suspect. For example, Gibbs claims that he had evidence to believe that one of the people he demanded payment from was the likely infringer by looking at Google Maps and determining that his household WiFi was unlikely to be accessible by neighbors. But, a commenter at FCT quickly did the same Google Maps search and points out that there are probably 10 to 30 households in range for a typical WiFi router.
Opposing counsel Morgan Pietz wasted little time in responding in great detail, reiterating all of the details of the game that Prenda and Brett Gibbs have been playing. It’s a good read.
What seems increasingly clear though is that Prenda, and its “of counsel” here, Mr. Brett Gibbs, have crossed the Rubicon in these cases, by resorting to fraud, which includes identity theft, sham offshore shell companies, and forged documents.
Pietz also points out that Gibbs apparently directly lied to the court. The court had ordered Gibbs to stop discovery (i.e., trying to uncover details of those they were trying to track down information on, in order to send shakedown letters), but Gibbs continued to do so. When confronted on this Gibbs claimed he interpreted the order to only mean that he couldn’t do “formal discovery efforts such as pressuring the ISPs to respond to the subpoenas that had been served.” The problem there was twofold. First, the court’s order clearly precluded much more than that and more importantly, Gibbs didn’t even stop pressuring ISPs, even though he directly claims he understood the court’s orders to mean he had to stop.
Yet as confirmed by at least one ISP—AT&T—notwithstanding this representation, Prenda did in fact “pressur[e] the ISPs to respond to the subpoenas” notwithstanding Mr. Gibbs’s interpretation of the stay order.
One gets the feeling this is not going to end well for Gibbs or Prenda Law.