Asked To Explain The Disappearance Of Mark Lutz, Team Prenda Says They're Sure He Has A Good Reason
from the that's-not-what-they-asked dept
So we already covered the amazing disappearing act of Mark Lutz, the claimed “mastermind” of copyright trolling operation AF Holdings, though it appears almost no one (including courts) believe that Lutz is anything more than a patsy for John Steele and Paul Hansmeier, as was made clear quite early on in the infamous Sunlust hearing last year. Lately, Lutz has been missing a lot of things. He’s missed two court hearings and one deposition.
At yesterday’s hearing, apparently Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel gave Paul Hansmeier until today at 5pm to “explain the absence of Mark Lutz.” Hansmeier actually filed his declaration early, but it doesn’t appear to actually explain the absence. Instead, it goes on at length about how Lutz planned to be there (as was stated in court), but when it gets to the point where he’s supposed to actually explain where Lutz went, instead we get this:
Mr. Lutz was traveling with another witness to the Hearing. The witness indicated that Mr. Lutz was not on the flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I have attempted to contact Mr. Lutz but have been unable to reach him as of the time of this declaration. Based on my prior experience with Mr. Lutz, including Mr. Lutz’s prior in-person attendance before this Court on August 5, 2013, I believe that Mr. Lutz will be able to provide a good-faith reason for failing to make his flight to Minnesota.
Mr. Lutz has previously complied with orders to appear, including in Ingenuity 13 LLC v. Doe, No. 12-cv-8333 (C.D. Cal.); AF Holdings LLC v. David Harris, No.12-cv-2144 (D.Az.); and in this case, where he appeared in person at the August 5,2013, case management conferences
This is bizarre on multiple levels. First, Hansmeier filed this pretty early in the day, well before he was required to do so. You’d think, given the requirement to explain the absence, that Hansmeier would give Lutz at least some time today to get in touch. Saying he’s sure that Lutz “will be able to provide a good-faith reason for failing to make his flight” is not actually answering what the court asked.
Second, the fact that Hansmeier states that Lutz appeared at a few hearings, but then fails to mention that he has missed a more recent hearing and a deposition just seems to be purposely trying to mislead the court. It’s pretty clear that the lawyer on the other side, Paul Godfread, will point out those other recent absences, so it’s a bit wacky that Hansmeier seems to think that ignoring them will not reflect poorly on himself.
Finally, the declaration also gives the details of Lutz’s flight info:
Mr. Lutz also purchased a plane ticket from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Minneapolis, MN. His booked flight, US Airways Flight 1924, departed from Fort Lauderdale at 8:35 a.m. on Sunday September 29, 2013, and landed in Charlotte, North Carolina. His connecting flight, US Airways Flight 713 departed from Charlotte, North Carolina at 11:25 a.m. and landed in Minneapolis at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday September 29, 2013.
This, itself, raises some questions. First of all, if Lutz did, in fact, live in Miami, Fort Lauderdale is a little bit outside of Miami, so getting to the airport takes some time (I’ve done that trip a few times). In court, John Steele claimed that he drove around in the morning looking for Lutz and found some of his friends who said he’d turned in early to get ready for the flight. At what time was this? If the flight was at 8:35 am, even if they were aiming to get to the airport at ~7:30 am, Steele must have gone looking for Lutz by 6 am or so (even that’s probably pretty late). So Steele went randomly driving around Miami at 6 am and magically found Lutz’s friends, but not Lutz? Really?