Prenda Law Showdown Happening Monday: Judge Orders Everyone To Show Up In Court

from the get-yourself-some-popcorn dept

Okay… so I was just putting the finishing touches on a blog post about the latest filings from Prenda’s Brett Gibbs and his opponent in a series of cases, Morgan Pietz, ahead of the planned hearing on Monday concerning various Prenda Law cases. As in the past, it was full of more attempts by Gibbs/Prenda to tapdance, with more evidence presented by Pietz that Prenda is up to no good (understatement of the year).

And… just as I was getting set to post it, I discover that Judge Otis Wright has had enough of the tap dancing, and has ordered just about everyone to show up in court on Monday for the hearing. And I do mean just about everyone.

John Steele? Yes. Mark Lutz? You bet. Alan Cooper? Oh yeah — in fact, the judge ordered both Alan Coopers (the one claiming his identity was used by Steele and the one who supposedly “ran” AF Holdings) to show up, to see if there really are two of them. Paul Duffy? Yes. Paul Hansmeier. Yup. Of all the “players” from the latest filings, the only one missing may be “Allan Mooney” or “Alan Mony” or “Alan Moony” depending on which filing you’re looking at (more on that below).

Sometimes it’s difficult to actually get a sense of “tone” when you see some text, and that’s doubly true of a court filing from a judge. But… this time, you get the feeling that Judge Otis Wright is not happy about all of this.

I expect that there will now be a flurry of filings with excuses and attempts to get out of appearing. I don’t think that’s going to work.

And… because I hate to let a perfectly good post go to waste, below is what I had originally written, but which has now been pushed down by this bit of breaking news. Consider everything below some additional background info for the main event coming Monday.


Brett Gibbs, who both is and is not a lawyer working for Prenda Law (depending on which time you ask him), continues his tap dance routine as we get closer to the expected showdown in Judge Otis Wright’s courtroom on March 11th, in which sanctions against Gibbs, including the possibility of jail time, will be considered. The latest filing from Gibbs (filed by some lawyers he has hired to help him out), basically attacks nearly every statement in the declaration filed by the opposing lawyer, Morgan Pietz. It’s really quite a work of art. First, he tries to get various declarations concerning evidence that Prenda sought to have AT&T identify IP address holders after Judge Wright had already ordered that such discovery stop. Gibbs claims that these declarations are “untimely.” Then, pretty much every single statement from Pietz is challenged with a rotating list of claims, including: irrelevant, lacks foundation and/or personal knowledge, hearsay, improper characterization of evidence, assumes facts not in evidence, speculation and argumentative. Basically, nearly every single point that Pietz raises to show improper or questionable conduct by Gibbs and or Prenda should be ignored based on this filing. Given that Judge Wright hasn’t exactly been swayed by Gibbs’ arguments over the last month or so, I find it unlikely that he’s going to be swayed by all of this tap dancing.

Oh, and still no indication of who Alan Cooper is.

However, in the same case, Pietz has also filed another document presenting evidence that suggests that Alan Cooper may not be the only name that was “faked” as a part of all of these lawsuits:

First, there was Alan Cooper. Mr. Gibbs has no real explanation for the Alan Cooper situation, other than to disclaim responsibility and deflect blame for the apparent fraud, etc., to his supposed “supervising” attorneys at Prenda Law, Inc. Unfortunately for Mr. Gibbs, it is his name on the pleadings and “counsel can no longer avoid the sting of Rule 11 sanctions by operating under the guise of a pure heart and empty head.” Smith v. Ricks, 31 F.3d 1478, 1488 (9th Cir. 1994). Hopefully, Mr. Cooper himself can address theses issues at the March 11 hearing.

Now, there is also “Allan Mooney” a/k/a “Alan Mooney” a/k/a “Alan Mony.” Newly discovered facts suggest that Alan Cooper may not be the only person who has had his identity misappropriated by Prenda in connection with its shell companies. Although some details are still hazy, suffice it to say that undersigned counsel (and many others) would very much like to question the real “Allan Mooney” on the record, under oath. Similarly, there is widespread interest in a subpoena to obtain testimony and records from the Minnesota bank that employs the notary who supposedly notarized Mr. Mooney’s signature on legal pleadings filed in other jurisdictions. Then, of course, there is also Anthony “Salt Marsh” Saltmarsh. In short, “Alan Cooper” was not a mistake; there appears to be a pattern.

Furthermore, Pietz points out, the “rotating case” of characters that Prenda uses, seems to involve constantly switching roles so they can’t be pinned down.

Another pattern with Prenda is that all of the persons involved constantly change hats; who is acting in what capacity seems to fluctuate to suit whatever the instant legal predicament happens to be. Inconsistencies include:

  • Mr. Gibbs is counsel of record for AF Holdings, LLC (e.g., C.D. Cal. No. 2:12-cv-5709, ECF No. 1) (7/2/12); Mr. Gibbs is “in house counsel” for AF Holdings (N.D. Cal. No. 3:12-cv-4221, ECF No. 22, p. 2) (1/30/13)3; Mr. Gibbs is not in house counsel to AF Holdings, and has never been anything other than AF Holdings’ “independent contract attorney” (ECF No. 49, p. 3) (2/19/13).
  • John Steele is “of counsel” to Prenda (Exhibit D) (4/20/12); John Steele is “not an attorney with any law firm” when questioned by Judge Scriven (Exhibit N, p. 135)(11/27/12); John Steele is back to being “of counsel” to Prenda in the St. Clair County Guava case (Supp’l. Dec. 15 (ECF No. 53)) (2/13/13).
  • AF Holdings copyright assignment is executed by Alan Cooper (e.g., C.D. Cal. No. 2:12-cv-5709, ECF No. 1) (12/20/2011); “Salt Marsh” is the “AF Holdings Owner” (Exhibit R) (7/20/12); AF Holdings is owned by a mystery trust, and never had any other members or employees other than its manager Mark Lutz (ECF No. 52, p. 28) (2/19/13, 11:00 a.m.); AF Holdings is owned by Livewire Holdings, LLC (ECF No. 49, fn. 1) (2/19/13, 6:00 p.m.).
  • Guava, LLC files a petition supposedly verified by client “Alan Mony” (ECF No. 51-1) (11/20/12); Prenda confirms “Alan Mony” is the client’s name (Exhibit FF, p. 5) (2/12/13); Prenda files new verification, now spelling the purported client’s name as “Alan Mooney” (Exhibit GG) (2/21/13); however, the real name of the “client” (who may or may not have agreed to lend his name to Prenda’s efforts) is probably “Allan Mooney” (ECF No. 52, pp. 15–16).
  • Pietz has even spent the time to put together a graphic in which he tries to map out the various characters at play here.

    Given all of this, it seems likely that Judge Wright isn’t going to simply agree that everything Pietz has to say is “irrelevant” and “lacks foundation.” At some point, Gibbs, or someone else from Prenda is actually going to have to produce Alan Cooper and/or possibly Allan/Alan Mooney/Mony/Moony/etc. Watching Prenda’s lawyers continue to try to tap dance their way out of this is really quite an astounding thing.







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    Comments on “Prenda Law Showdown Happening Monday: Judge Orders Everyone To Show Up In Court”

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    84 Comments
    Ninja (profile) says:

    OMG! We are approaching the climax rapidly! Spectators hands move frantically from their popcorn buckets to their mouths as mysterious Alan Cooper is about to make it’s appearance and have his true identity revealed (he’s probably John Steele everybody anticipates anxiously).

    Ladies and gentleman, brace yourselves for this apotheotic ending!

    DogBreath says:

    Re: Re:

    Then all we would need to do is see which party in the courtroom “mouthed the words” as the judge read the note aloud, to find out who really wrote it.

    Relevant:
    Welcome Back Kotter

    Epstein’s catchphrase

    * “Hey, Mr. Kotter, I got a note!”
    (The phony notes, excusing Epstein from classes and other sundry functions, were always written by Epstein himself, though he claimed they were signed by, as written, “Epstein’s Mother.” Epstein would lip-synch the wording of the note while Kotter would read it aloud, usually proving the note was written by Epstein himself.)

    Anonymous Coward says:

    And next monday:

    Judge: Ok, I have verified that both Alan Coopers are present. Finally this mess is starting to make some sen…

    Suddenly, a man bursts through the courtroom door.

    Man: Stop this charade. Those two man are impostors!

    Judge: Who the hell are you?

    Man: My name…is Alan Cooper.

    Judge: Aww f***.

    Anonymous Coward says:

    Re: Re: Re:

    The truth is that they are all clones of the same man, named Alan Cooper. Unfortunately, some came out with horrible genetic defects in their names.

    Physically they all look fine and are perfectly healthy, but, since the cloning technology they used wasn’t perfect, they were born with terribly mutated names.

    (Put on your seatbelts ladies and gentleman, this story isn’t going to start making sense any time soon)

    silverscarcat says:

    Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

    That’s nothing, just wait till you find out that Mr. Lutz accidentally was sent back in time and slept with his grandmother on the day his father was conceived, but it turns out that the woman he slept with wasn’t his grandmother at all, however, impossibly so, Mr. Lutz still ended up with his grandmother for a short period of time before finally being sent to the present, where he meets his future son from an alternate timeline who wants to hurt him for running out on his mother.

    DogBreath says:

    Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

    Totally plausible, but only if Mr. Lutz has a motorcycle.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timerider:_The_Adventure_of_Lyle_Swann

    Lyle Swann (Fred Ward) is a well-known dirt bike motorcycle racer who is in the desert competing in the Baja 1000, a multiclass vehicle cross-country race. Swann has a reputation for being a great rider but is plagued by technical problems from the high-tech gadgetry he incorporates into his C and J framed XT500 Yamaha. When Swann accidentally goes far off course, he stumbles across a time travel experiment that utilizes “maser velocity acceleration” to send objects (in this case, a simian subject by the name of Ester G) back in time.

    Swann rides through the field and gets sent back to November 5, 1875, The scientists soon realize what has happened, but Swann rides off moments before the system can return him to the present.

    Skipping ahead…

    In a final showdown, Reese’s band of outlaws faces Swann, the last survivor of the posse, and Claire atop a plateau. When a helicopter shows up (sent by the builders of the time travel experiment) to take Swann home, Reese’s men run away in fear, but Reese stays behind and fires at the helicopter, killing one of the pilots. The helicopter begins spinning wildly as the surviving pilot tries to maintain control, knocking the dirtbike off the side of the plateau. Reese gets mangled by the helicopter’s tail rotor, leaving only a pair of bloody boots behind. The helicopter manages to land on the plateau and extract Swann. Just as the helicopter pulls away, Claire snatches a pendant from Swann’s neck that was handed down from his great-great-grandmother, who had stolen it from his great-great grandfather as a reminder of “one incredible night they had together.” Swann realizes that he is his own great-great-grandfather.

    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

    Re: Re:

    Here is how my screenplay goes:

    Judge: Welcome Mr. Cooper. Thanks for joining us. Now is the second Alan Cooper, President of AF Holdings, present?

    (crickets)

    Gibbs lawyer: Your Honor…

    Judge: Are you Alan Cooper?

    Gibbs lawyer: No, I was just going to sa..

    (Judge Wright raises his hand)

    Judge: Silence! I wan’t to know if the Alan Cooper, President of AF Holdings is in the courtroom. Nothing else.

    (silence)

    Judge: Of course, not. Because Alan Cooper, President of AF Holdings is really…MEEE!

    (courtroom gasps…a woman shrieks and faints…Gibbs pisses his pants)

    Trails (profile) says:

    Re: Re:

    Man crashes through window. He has clearly just rappelled down the side of the building, is filthy, and shows signs of trauma

    Second Man: Hold everything, your honor!

    Judge: Who are you?

    Second Man: I’m Allan Cooper… Mooney! I just escaped from the Steele Hansmeier LLC prison in Cambodia, and I’m here to stop their plans to use a “laser” to blow up the moon!

    Judge: I quit.

    G Thompson (profile) says:

    “In light of the parties’ recent representations” is the gist of the order..

    In other words the court is PISSED and wants to shine their own flashlight into this sordid mess so it needs all the actors in this drama on the stage so that one can blame anyone else who isn’t there under oath without the court then asking them the pertinent question of “So does X state the truth when they say it was all your doing”

    The one thing I find interesting is that the court has not given much notice for the appearance. Only 4-5 days (and two of them are non business days). I personally would balk at that if I wasn’t an actual primary party to the case, though in this instance it seems by their own behaviour they are all primary parties.

    Anonymous Coward says:

    Re: Re:

    If I were the real Alan Cooper, I would be pissed at only having a weekend to arrange a trip to California. Assuming of course that he is still currently trying to take care of his own business in Minnesota and not already, for whatever reason, close enough to be on hand for this hearing.

    out_of_the_blue says:

    You're a cartoon, Mike. A caricature with a DULL mania.

    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up at same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Prenda Law! A staple in the “At The Bench” series. Mike sez (short version): “Wow. Wow. Wow. … The story is gripping.”
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130303/23353022182/prenda-law-sues-critics-defamation.shtml

    Ninja (profile) says:

    Re: Re: You're a cartoon, Mike. A caricature with a DULL mania.

    That. It reminds me of an article that basically associated trolling with alcohol (no kidding). It basically stated that the environment (online, anonimity) made people lose their usual logics, restraints and that it’s as addictive. I’ll try to find it. It’s an interesting read. I wonder if he fits that type of troll. Or maybe he has developed some sort of pathologic obsession with Mike?

    PaulT (profile) says:

    Re: Re: Re: You're a cartoon, Mike. A caricature with a DULL mania.

    Who knows? I just love the fact that a couple of the regulars here have run out of things to attack with anything resembling a counterpoint, and are now just whining that Mike isn’t writing about the stories they want. I can’t think of any sane person who would visit a website just to whine about how they’re not writing the articles they want.

    ootb is just more impressive in that he literally has nothing else to say. The ACs tend to at least claim there’s a conspiracy because (story that supposedly interests them X) hasn’t been covered yet, but ootb literally has nothing.

    Lurker Keith says:

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think you just found the reason for the short notice. Prenda has shown they like to twist things & think they have an answer for everything, so perhaps the Judge got wise to this & decided if they had too much prep. time they might try to commit Fraud on the Court, again.

    Also, lol @ “Salt Marsh”‘s pic. I can’t believe that’s being handed to a judge. Wonder how his sense of humor will work w/ that, considering the rest of the “case”.

    Mr. Applegate says:

    Anyone taking bets on who shows up?

    Here is my prediction for Monday’s proceedings.

    Judge: ” I see Mr. Alan Cooper (Isle, MN), Mr Pietz and Mr. Gibbs are here. Mr. Gibbs, where are the rest of the people I ordered you to serve?”

    Brett Gibbs: “Your Honor, I made every effort to serve your order on John Steele, Mark Lutz, Alan Cooper (AF Holdings), Paul Duffy, and Paul Hansmeier, unfortunately I have been unable to serve them. I would respectfully request a continuance until all parties are able to appear.”

    Judge: “Request Denied! Mr Gibbs, I find your contempt for this court quite upsetting and you are hereby ordered to be held for contempt, without bail, until all parties named above appear at one time before this court and these proceedings have concluded. Mr. Gibbs, I also order that you pay the sum of $1,250 per day while you are held in contempt, as there is no reason to burden the people with the cost of your incarceration.

    Since John Steele, Mark Lutz, Alan Cooper (AF Holdings), Paul Duffy, and Paul Hansmeier also appear to have no respect for the court system in general, and more specifically including this court, I am issuing bench warrants for each of the above named persons. I also order all of their financial accounts frozen until such time as they appear before this court and all of the outstanding questions and issues surrounding this cesspool of a case have been answered to my satisfaction.

    Since the owners of, Prenda Law, Steele Hansmeier PLLC, Anti-Piracy Law Group, Alpha Law Firm LLC, LiveWire Holdings, Ingenuity 13, forensics LLC, and Guava LLC seem to be unavailable to manage their businesses I order each of the named companies into receivership and place Mr. Allan Cooper of Isle, MN to be the receiver for these companies.”

    [Gavel Falls]

    DannyB (profile) says:

    Re: whooo

    This is but one example of something more general.

    It took until the internet to show us that real life can be more interesting and amusing than anything Hollywood can create.

    In the immediately preceding millennia, now long forgotten and swept away in the sands of time, one might encounter a story of something unusual that sounds plausible but improbable. In the internet age of information and communication we find that such things, while rare and unexpected, really do occur.

    Why do we learn such things? Because we now have instantaneous access to almost all of human knowledge.

    Lurker Keith says:

    Re: Re: whooo

    Uh, the internet didn’t reveal that Life/ Truth is Stranger than Fiction. Bad Religion knew that before the internet was surfable to find all that knowledge.

    Some people have known that “Somtimes Truth is Stranger than Fiction” even before then. I can’t think of an old book to cite right now, but I know some interesting non-fiction books exist. It just took until the 80’s to write the song.

    special-interesting (profile) says:

    Re: Re: whooo

    ?In the immediately preceding millennia, now long forgotten and swept away in the sands of time, one might encounter a story of something unusual that sounds plausible but improbable. In the internet age of information and communication we find that such things, while rare and unexpected, really do occur.?

    Kind of romantic.

    The obvious problem is that although the Internet does have the capability to bring us the entirety of all human knowledge but not the capacity. This will never happen because of the rate of capacity increase of the Internet (admittedly exponential) has never approached the data growth rate (possibly an exponent of an exponential rate).

    Even if we did have the world on a pinhead (storage drive) and instantly recallable how would we disseminate it? Without social discussion, which is also possible on the Internet, education enough to understand it and time enough to do all that… it would be wasted.

    The question of what is important is easily lost in all the You-tube entertainment fuss. It comes to me that forums, blogs, sharing files and new aggregation sites serve a great dissemination function of this deluge of information.

    And of course life is an endless fascination for anyone not caught up in war or a fascist, communist or otherwise, government that would limit the important cultural significance of this dawning Internet age with some mistaken form of content management (otherwise known as censorship). Life loses its fun when it’s hell. In such a situation an anonymous Internet connection is a lifeline.

    My nail lately has been the eternal copyright nonsense. Wham! -nail driven just a (tiny) bit deeper- All hail for the demise of copyright. (something else please)

    DannyB (profile) says:

    Judge Otis Wright is merely giving guidance

    Judge Otis Wright is merely giving guidance to others with the copyright troll business model.

    Similar to the advice given to Righthaven wannabees.

    As we’ve seen with those obsessed with copyright, facts and reality don’t get in their way. Advice is not considered. Change is out of the question.

    alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

    Re: Re: Judge Otis Wright is merely giving guidance

    I don’t see it as sad. I see this with great joy. Because this one is epic in its stupidity proportions, a feat I hadn’t considered possible until it came about.

    And the more stupidity, the more attention such cases inevitably bring to the underlying framework that even allows these to get this far.

    Anonymous Coward says:

    Objection!

    If I were the judge, I would probably not put up with objections to 181 items, almost all with multiple objections but with no explanations for them. And while I am not a lawyer, some of these are so ridiculous that they will probably be found frivolous and a waste of the court’s time.

    Consider the following statement that was objected to:

    “I have not thereafter received any information or communication from Prenda Law, Inc. concerning the Subpoena to AT&T or the 5725 Lawsuit.”

    “Objection! Hearsay!” Huh? He’s saying he personally did not receive communication. How can that possibly be hearsay?

    “Objection! Argumentative!” How is that argumentative? He’s stating a fact, and rather dryly at that. Anyone looking at this would not even know whether he liked Prenda, hated them, or was neutral towards them.

    “Objection! Improper characterization of evidence!” Um… it might help if you said HOW?

    “Objection! Irrelevant!” What, the fact that he did not receive further information isn’t relevant? What if he HAD received more information?

    And what is the POINT of objecting to this particular statement? How would striking this help Prenda in any way?

    The judge should order them to produce at least a paragraph for every single objection. That should keep them busy for a while.

    Anonymous Coward says:

    I wonder if it were possible to procure the Alan Cooper signature somewhere and learn it before Monday, show up in court and convince them that you are Alan Cooper. Then you take over the whole business as Alan Cooper, dissolve it and give the money to charity. That would of course mean that they stayed out of jail, but as it is I don’t even think the real top guys behind this are going.

    Would anyone besides Pietz even protest if an Alan Cooper showed up, I wonder 😀
    I AM ALAN COOPER!

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