Courts Start Demanding Actual Answers From Team Prenda

from the and-on-and-on dept

The saga of Team Prenda continues, as courts in two of the Prenda cases we’ve been following have shown that they’re getting pretty tired with Team Prenda’s attempts to dance around the issues. First up, we’ve got the various AF Holdings cases up in Minnesota. If you don’t recall, these cases had been dismissed, but after the court learned about some of Team Prenda’s antics, it reopened the case with an eye towards determining if Team Prenda was guilty of fraud on the court in coaxing settlements out of people on a faulty or illegal basis. Amusingly, late last week, Paul Hansmeier, sticking to Team Prenda’s ridiculous strategy of “whenever we’re completely backed into a corner, charge!” filed a notice claiming that AF Holdings intended to reopen the original cases. That is, he’s now claiming that because magistrate judge Franklin Noel is investigating them for fraud in the original cases, they now want to continue to “sue” people for infringement to show how “legitimate” their cases really were. The notice is worth reading, mainly for the comedic value. Hansmeier claims that Alan Cooper is mentally unstable and was trying to extort money from John Steele. Also, that there was no forgery of Cooper’s signature, but rather Cooper “repudiating” his association with AF Holdings.

Of course, the main reason for making this filing isn’t to reopen the cases, or to make laughable claims about Alan Cooper, but rather this:

However, Plaintiff has reached the outer-limits of what it can learn without the coercive power of formal discovery. As such, Plaintiff respectfully requests the Court to issue an order scheduling a Rule 26(f) conference so it resolve this matter as quickly as possible.

Basically, it’s Paul Hansmeier asking the court for a fishing expedition against Cooper and his lawyer Paul Godfread. It’s hard to see this as anything more than an attempt to be a nuisance.

However, it seems highly unlikely that magistrate judge Noel is buying anything that Hansmeier is selling. Instead, his latest order shows that he’s getting pretty damn tired of Team Prenda’s runaround. It makes no mention of Hansmeier’s filing, denies the local counsel Michael Dugas’ request to be dropped from the case (noting that he signed the forged papers), repeats the findings of Judge Wright in California, and then orders AF Holdings/Team Prenda to explain why Judge Wright’s findings shouldn’t apply equally to these cases:

The plaintiff shall file a memorandum of law on or before August 26, 2013 showing cause as to why Judge Wright’s factual findings are not binding against it in these cases under the common law doctrine of issue preclusion. See, e.g., Bechtold v. City of Rosemount, 104 F.3d 1062, 1066-67 (8th Cir. 1997) (issue preclusion appropriate under Minnesota law if (1) the issues are identical; (2) the prior adjudication ended with a final judgment on the merits; (3) the plaintiff was a party to the prior adjudication; and (4) the plaintiff was given a full and fair opportunity to be heard on the adjudicated issue).

The Clerk of Court shall correct the docket to reflect that Mr. Michael K. Dugas remains counsel of record for the plaintiff. Although he filed a notice of withdrawal and substitution, his withdrawal was not effective upon filing under Local Rule 83.7(b) because it would delay the progress of this case. He signed the complaint to which the forged documents were attached. If Mr. Dugas wishes to withdraw as counsel of record for the plaintiff, he must proceed in accordance with Local Rule 83.7(c) and establish good cause to do so.

In other words, Team Prenda’s can’t just ignore Judge Wright’s ruling here, and it certainly sounds like Judge Noel has no time for Hansmeier’s plans to play discovery games.

Meanwhile, back in the Navasca case in Northern California, it appears that the recent sanctions against Team Prenda that Judge Edward Chen awarded have been ignored by Team Prenda, and a magistrate judge in that court, Nador Vadas, would like to know why. Oh, that’s not all Judge Vadas would like to know. It appears that Judge Vadas is now taking a special interest in the now-infamous Paul Hansmeier deposition from this case, which was one of the key documents that convinced Judge Wright that Prenda was up to no good. Judge Vadas has some questions he’d like AF Holdings to answer, and they are the kinds of questions that Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, John Steele and Mark Lutz probably don’t want to answer about who actually is behind AF Holdings and the various “trusts” such as Salt Marsh:

Hansmeier testified that AF Holdings was owned by a trust, but he could not testify about the name of the trust…. In a May 2, 2013 filing, Mark Lutz, who identifies himself as someone who “manage[s] various adult content related companies, including AF Holdings LLC,” declared that “Salt Marsh is the name of the trust that owns AF Holdings”…. At the hearing, AF Holdings should be prepared to identify the name of its owner and any entity or person having a financial interest in the outcome of this case, beyond Salt Marsh.

AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why it represented that there were “no known persons, associations of persons, firms, partnerships, corporations (including parent corporations), or other entities (other than the parties themselves) that may have personal or affiliated financial interest in the subject matter in controversy, or any other kind of interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding other than the parties.” Doc. No. 2 (Certificate of Interested Entities).

AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why Paul Hansmeier was designated as its 30(b)(6) deponent instead of Mark Lutz.

Paul Hansmeier was unable to testify about “the exact mechanisms by which the money goes from” to AF Holdings from the law firms that represent it…. AF Holdings should be prepared to explain these “exact mechanisms” at the hearing, and also should be prepared to provide an accounting of the funds it has received from persons it has sued or threatened to sue for copyright violation based on allegedly illegal downloading of its adult titles.

Those all seem like important questions. Questions that would be easy to answer if there were nothing nefarious going on, but which Team Prenda has avoided answering in any meaningful way for months. The hearing at which they need to have such answers ready will be on August 28th. I imagine it will be quite interesting.

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Companies: af holdings, prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Courts Start Demanding Actual Answers From Team Prenda”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: They said I could be anything... So I'z economist.

Out_of_the_blue is an immoral douchebag who supports the exploitation of women in the Porn industry and the fraud perpetrated by Prenda.

If you want to know how Out_of_the_blue got their name, google ‘Blue Oyster’ (NSFW)

Out_of_the_Blue is as bright as a blown light bulb. So yes, you are the dullest idiot in the room

Andrew Norton (profile) says:

Lutz deposition

And to go with the ‘AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why Paul Hansmeier was designated as its 30(b)(6) deponent instead of Mark Lutz.’ Mark Lutz was due to be deposed at 9am this morning at the state bar of Georgia (

He didn’t show. Judge O’Kelley’s not going to look favorably on it. Of course, maybe the reason he didn’t show was because the deposition order was worded to specifically name Lutz, and state that 30(b)(6) substitutions are not acceptable as he is the material witness, not ‘the company’.

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

Re: Lutz deposition

I think we all know why Lutz didn’t show, there is no way Lutz will make it through a Q&A session.

The Prenda gang will go into damage control mode here and deny, appeal and make motions to dismiss this Judge from re-opening this.

We have all sen how Team Prenda works and the usual tactics they employ when they are in trouble. That being said can anyone here see Steele letting Lutz answer any question regarding anything to do with these trusts and entities that were set up.

Now way is Steele going to let Lutz answer anything, especially after Lutz Q&A session with the Judge in the Sunlust case where Lutz bumbled his way through and Steele had to feed him answers from the gallery before he got caught.

It is the same reason Hansmeier went and answered the questions in the deposition and not Lutz, they know Lutz will get trapped and it will be entered as a matter of record with the court.

I find it highly amazing that Hansmeier who claims to no nothing of these cases much like Steele keeps popping into them and submitting documents to the court about them, now why would that be?

The Prenda gang will do everything they can to keep Lutz away from this, look for Lutz to be unable to be reached for the next while (I am sure John is running out and buying Lutz an airline ticket to Mexico right now).

Lutz will never be able to keep all the stories straight about who and how he owns this and all these different entities and who Salt Marsh and what type of trust these are.

Lutz plain and simple isn’t smart enough, and neither is the Prenda gang apparently for a bunch of guys who know nothing about any of this, but yet are submitting documents to the court on it…lol

Should be interesting to say the least, don’t sell those popcorn stocks just yet people.

Anonymous Coward says:

How does our system let something like this go so far? Why do our courts give such leniency in the face of such shenanigans? If I was on trial, why do I think I would be severely punished for [not showing up to depositions, committing fraud, ignoring court orders, etc…] but it seems like these people get a slap on the wrist, a continuance, and another chance? I will let my lawyer friends know they don’t have to wear pants to court next time…

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That is because the Prenda gang for so long has used the gaps in the system to take advantage of it. These guys have looked for antiquated pieces of legislation and statutes to sue people.

They have done this time and time again, and when it is lucrative and that easy cash is coming in, it is easy to forget your oath to uphold the laws as an officer of the court.

Judges calendar are usually so full they don’t notice stuff like this, and the Prenda gang when they faced a Judge that did simply withdrew the cases from that court and re-filed elsewhere.

The Prenda gang Judge Shopped as part of it’s strategy and loves to file in states that are overburdened and is troll friendly.

It is only because of opposing counsel and the internet community that started to get word out to the people and the courts that there was something very wrong going on here that Prenda is now finding it self accountable to a degree.

It’s just Judges are now turning a skeptical eye to how these guys have played the justice system for ill gotten gains.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Maybe because they aren’t on trial? First, Prenda has only been involved in civil suits, not criminal ones. Second, they have been the plaintiff’s lawyers, though maybe also the plaintiff – okay, almost certainly the plaintiff. But this whole thing is not a trial, nor does it involve a participant in a trial (maybe, sort of). It is effectively a administrative investigation – and they may not have actually broken any laws (as opposed to some lawyering rules) Now, we follow it obsessively, but this is deep weeds administrative stuff. Sending law enforcement to wrangle up their children so that said children can be raped to death by super-max inmates as an object lesson is considered just a wee bit overkill at this point (even for the bizarrity of this situation). When – and I really do believe that “if” is not on the table at this point – they are actually charged with a crime, then yes, their children can be served up to the Blood God. But we’re still at the point of a meter maid watching a car to see if the meter dings; they generally do not send SAT out to round you up so you can watch her wait for you to be in violation (though I apologize if I just gave some city’s SWAT team ideas).

JohnnyRotten (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

John Steele, is that you?

Seriously – pretending that the whole Prenda saga is about them forgetting to dot an “i” or cross a “t” is ludicrous in the extreme.

A bench warrant for missing a deposition without cause isn’t some sacrifice to a “Blood God” or inviting “rape” by “super-max inmates”, nor is it unusual or exceptional.

Wait – are you OOTB in disguise?

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