Another Judge Figures Out What Prenda Is Up To, Reopens Closed Case, Demands Information On Settlements

from the well,-look-at-that dept

It would appear that yet another federal judge has taken an interest in what Prenda Law was up to for the past few years. Over in Minnesota, US Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel has reopened a case that Prenda had dismissed and ordered Prenda’s local counsel, Michael Dugas, to supply an awful lot of information about the settlements they collected from people during the shakedown. The court points out:

In light of Mr.Cooper’s letter and Judge Wright’s order, it appears to the Court that the plaintiff has relied on forged documents in securing multiple court orders authorizing the discovery of information that, in turn, led to settlements in the above-captioned cases.

Because of that, it’s reopening the case:

The Court agrees with the reasoning of Pino and concludes–based on its own interpretation of Rule 60(b)(3) and Rule 60(d)(3)–that it has jurisdiction to strike a plaintiff’s notice of voluntary dismissal, reopen the case, and award appropriate relief when allegations of a possible fraud on the court come to its attention. This interpretation of Rule 60 is necessary to preserve the integrity the of judicial system.

All three elements of the Pino test are met here: (1) the plaintiff attached a fraudulent document to the complaint; (2) the Court relied upon that document in authorizing the discovery of internet subscriber information–information the plaintiff was not entitled to receive absent a court order; and (3) after obtaining the discovery (which–at least as far as the Court is aware–is the only relief the plaintiff ever seeks in these cases), the plaintiff settled and voluntarily dismissed all of these cases.

Given that, the court has ordered Dugas to supply the details of everyone in the case who settled, including their contact info, their attorneys’ contact info, the exact terms of the settlement agreements, “including to whom any money was paid and the manner of payment” while also saying that Dugas needs to supply all of those who settled (and their attorneys) with Judge Wright’s order in California describing Prenda’s scheme. Given the identifying info, this will be filed under seal, but Dugas has only five days to do so. Either way, it seems that more and more judges are aware of what happened, and they’re even going back into old cases to explore…

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Companies: prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Another Judge Figures Out What Prenda Is Up To, Reopens Closed Case, Demands Information On Settlements”

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31 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

what a shame that judges still seem to think that the same measures, when used by the entertainment industries and their various ‘aids’ are perfectly fine. they are doing the exact same shakedown operation that Prenda and others were/are/will be doing! perhaps if Prenda had ‘oiled the correct palms’ they would have been able to carry on unscathed?

Anonymous Coward says:

Poor defendants...

I’m sure most of the defendants who were identified during the discovery would rather *not* have their names released to the court – but sadly, they chose to settle with criminals in this case.

It’s important to contact them and figure out how badly Prenda has been abusing this discovery process.

I just hope Prenda receives some serious punishment when the full extent of their extortion is revealed.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Poor defendants...

The court would have to provide each of them with protection from Prenda. 99.99999998% of all settlement agreements in these cases have NDA’s with all sorts of bad things if they reveal anything.

There is no discovery, its is letters, robocalls, calls, emails with mentions of the news making the papers, or neighbors finding out…

One can only hope one of them still has all of those records to share with the court so that courts finally have “proof” enough of the bad acts.

Spectator Sam (profile) says:

Re: Re: Poor defendants...

I believe that the fraudulent nature of the filing would negate the NDA in these cases. If push came to shove the court would side with the individuals, after all, the only reason the trolls obtained their personal information was because the troll lied to a court in order to show they did something illegal. Prenda may argue that the “Alan Cooper” signature was not significant nor required to be on the declaration but by submitting it to the court they still represented a fraudulent document.

The fraud is not in the signature but in the submission of a document with a signature that they knew to be false.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Poor defendants...

The concern needs to be for the Does.

They have already had the nightmare of Pretenda on the attack against them, they settled to make it stop and protect themselves, and a “mistake” in filing a supposed to be sealed document (amazingly finding an emergency number for a court clerk is really hard… Why yes, this stunts happened before) can devastate these people to a degree more than the empty coffers of the empty shell can compensate.

The court could also ask questions about sharkMP4, the statements of 6881, the “expert” certification, the mythical magical super software that is never wrong unless the press asks to many questions.

Hell I’d be happy if someone in power finally seized the property rather than allowing them months to clean up the records of their actions. But then the ‘Wheels of Justice’ seem to move slowest against its own parts.

Baldaur Regis (profile) says:

Postulated

The Prendanistas will file an emergency pleading asserting AF Holdings had no direct contact with Does inasmuch as AFH uses a third-party collection company to handle initial dunning calls. This unnamed company is run by Mark Lutz, who is not the same Mark Lutz who controls the trust behind AFH. Mark Lutz (but not THE Mark Lutz) will be the next person tossed under the bus.

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

While I like that this Magistrate Judge has smelled the stench coming Prenda’s various cases, Prenda and Steele are going to appeal or not comply with the Magistrate Judges order.

More courts are becoming aware after Judge Wright’s ruling how Prenda lawsuits are not really about suing anyone but more of a shakedown to collect settlements.

This will be another case of a lawyer Prenda hired thru Craiglist to be on the hook for Steele, Duffy and Hansmeier’s misdeeds.

Prenda I doubt will turn this information over to Dugas, they will more than likely try and delay turning this over or they will file to try and stay this Magistrate Judge order.

Can you imagine if Prenda let this stand and turned over the information. Steele would be quaking in his shoes that an avalanche effect might start and there is no way they are going to want to give people they made pay a settlement their money back.

Steele, Duffy and Hansmeier not only have to deal with this but they are still on Judge Wright’s radar and still have Judge Snow’s questions to answer in the AZ case and also have to deal with Mr.Harris who is being a thorn in their side since they made him a target in their lawsuit in AZ case.

It will be interesting to see how they handle all the collateral damage they are receiving since Judge Wrights order.

It will be interesting to watch what unfolds with their new cases under their latest re-incarnation that they have been filing, I would bet Lawerys for the clients being sued will quite pleased to inform the Judge of Prenda’s past.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re:

Start an avalanche effect? No, no. It seems you haven’t been paying enough attention. Judge Wright already started the “avalanche effect”, as you put it. Now we’re just waiting for what you described to come to pass… & that will be more of a total cascade failure.

An avalanche can start slow, & end up mighty destructive in a limited area.

However, a total cascade failure also starts slow (usually w/ a single node), but as each part of the system fails, the damage becomes worse & worse, w/ the next failure more damaging than the previous, until the entire system collapses.

As more judges become wise to the scam, look into it & require sanctions, they’ll draw the attention of even more judges, some of whom will require more sanctions, & they’ll draw even more attention, w/ a larger number of judges sanctioning (& w/ prior findings & sanctions, those multiple additional sanctions could be larger), & so on. Eventually, enough judges will be aware that the scam will collapse on itself, not only making the scam unworkable, but unsustainable as the sanctions pile up. Hopefully, this collapse will include jail time & refunds.

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