Team Prenda Slammed Again, Found In Contempt; Judge Blasts Their Attempts To Plead Poverty

from the nice-try,-guys dept

It’s been a little while since we had a Team Prenda update, but suffice it to say, judges still don’t seem to be buying their brand of bullshit, even as they get more and more desperate. The latest is the followup in the Lightspeed case in which Team Prenda made the incredibly poorly thought-out move of dragging Comcast and AT&T into the proceedings. Not only did Judge Patrick Murphy find that Team Prenda flat out lied to the court, he hit them with an order to pay $261,025.11 in attorneys’ fees for wasting everyone’s time.

Team Prenda has been avoiding paying that ever since. There was an amusing hearing back in February in which they weakly sought to justify the non-payment, first quibbling with Judge David Herndon that the original order to pay up was a “money judgment” rather than an order, in the belief that this would give them more flexibility in paying. That ridiculous argument was more or less dismissed out of hand by Judge Herndon quickly. Following that, John Steele and Paul Hansmeier specifically tried to plead poverty, arguing that they simply couldn’t pay the amount. Judge Herndon said, effectively, okay: prove it. And while they filed documents that attempt to prove that, Judge Herndon is not buying it at all. In a ruling earlier this week finding Paul Duffy, John Steele and Paul Hansmeier in contempt, Herndon noted that even in filing financial statements, it appeared they were trying to deceive the court:

In the case where there has been no attempt to comply with the Court’s order, plaintiff’s counsel must show a “complete inability to pay.” … Plaintiff’s counsel, “stated differently, . . . [has] the burden of establishing clearly, plainly, and unmistakably that compliance is impossible.” ….

The Court finds that plaintiff’s counsel has not met its burden. They submitted incomplete, and to say the least suspicious, statements of financial condition. Attached to each statement was a letter from their certified public accountant (“CPA”). In these letters, the CPA indicates a departure from generally accepted accounting principles. He further notes that plaintiff’s counsel elected to omit substantially all of the disclosures required by generally accepted accounting principles. The Court finds these statements insufficient to establish plaintiff’s counsel’s inability to pay.

Given all that, he notes that Team Prenda “significantly violated an unambiguous order of the Court” and has tacked on an additional 10% to the original order, giving them until March 31st to pay up… or the amount will keep going up at $500 per attorney per day (so $1,500 more per day). After another 30 days, the amount will increase to $1,000 per attorney per day. Hansmeier is already begging for a reconsideration, but given how many times these guys have been called out for attempted deceptions in court, it seems unlikely he’s going to have much luck.





Filed Under: , , , , , ,
Companies: lightspeed, lightspeed media, prenda, prenda law

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Team Prenda Slammed Again, Found In Contempt; Judge Blasts Their Attempts To Plead Poverty”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
47 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

How the mighty have fallen...

From bragging about making hundreds of thousands on a yearly basis, to now desperately trying to get a court to believe that somehow all that money just ‘disappeared’.

Ah sweet schadenfreude…

And you know what, even if they were telling the truth(which I don’t believe for a second, and apparently the judge doesn’t either), tough.

They didn’t care whether or not their victims could afford their extortion demands they sent out, threatening people with paying up or being dragged to court and paying even more to defend themselves, so I have zero sympathy for them receiving the same treatment.

Dark Moe (profile) says:

Question for the forum

Assuming that contempt is the final word on this case, are they themselves required to notify their respective bars of it or is the judge more or less required to do it for them?

And what’s this comment that Steele made, trying to make it sound as though “Duffy has been cleared” in his own bar complaint. Which bar complaint was he referencing? Didn’t he have more than one?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Two reasons:

1) High-court/low-court, and lawyers always get high-court treatment.

2) As lawyers, they know all the little tricks and loopholes available to drag things out and avoid any real punishment as long as possible, and unless a judge is willing to risk them getting a case against them thrown out on appeal due to a technicality, they unfortunately have to play along and make sure everything’s done exactly right.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Two reasons:

First part of 2 is wrong. They think they know all the tricks. They aren’t very bright if you ask me.

“They submitted…Attached to each statement was a letter from their certified public accountant (??CPA??). In these letters, the CPA indicates a departure from generally accepted accounting principles. He further notes that plaintiff??s counsel elected to omit substantially all of the disclosures required by generally accepted accounting principles.”

The CPA attached a letter saying it was a bogus financial statement and they still submitted it. They are so fucking smart that they are stupid.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Two reasons:

>>First part of 2 is wrong. They think they know all the tricks. They aren’t very bright if you ask me.

This!!! a thousand times this!

Though they now have by submitting that CPA attached letter of non-endorsement on their own case ammunition in any mental competency hearing that they will probably plead next. Ah to be a fly on the wall in the judge’s chambers if that sort of gem of a defense ever gets submitted.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Two reasons:

how bright can they be?
A bunch of nobody’s from the internet laid waste to their ability to terrorize people and pointed people where the bodies were buried.
Then they sued the nobodys, and made our claims get way more attention… and we weren’t making it up or embellishing (well not to much, still think he is a manniguin.)

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Two reasons:

But in the grand scheme of things I am a nobody.
I am merely a nym, born to give a voice and hope to others.
I worked with the other nobodys – born of frustration, victimization, terror, fear – to try and change what was wrong.

I don’t use the term nobody’s to downplay what the community accomplished, just that we were supposed to be the powerless.

We could throw a party, and none of us would know each other.
We could walk past the important players in all of this, and we are just faces passing by.
Being a nobody has let me deflect a bunch of the standard attack the messenger gimmicks.

Remember that next time someone tells you the problem is to big for anybody to solve, sometimes it doesn’t take anybody – it takes nobody to fix it.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Two reasons:

I’d say it’s the difference between intelligence and wisdom. They know the tricks, it’s just their arrogance and ego’s get in the way of getting the most out of them, not to mention screwing them over when they do try and use them, like in this instance when they apparently didn’t check to make sure the guy working on their financial papers was as corrupt/incompetent as them.

It also doesn’t help that it’s apparently almost impossible to stop a lawyer on a rampage as long as they file the right papers and know the right phrases, with the fact that they are still ‘practicing’, rather than behind bars, as evidence of this.

scotts13 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Two reasons:

“2) As lawyers, they know all the little tricks and loopholes available to drag things out and avoid any real punishment as long as possible, and unless a judge is willing to risk them getting a case against them thrown out on appeal due to a technicality, they unfortunately have to play along and make sure everything’s done exactly right.”

Ever try to sue a lawyer? I once had one flat-out refuse to pay for IT services done. It seemed pretty clear, I had the order for the work to be done, approving the price, and the guys signature, saying I had successfully finished it. When it came time to pay, he didn’t want to, with all sorts of trivial complaints down to “disrupted office workflow by moving items on the secretary’s desk.”

Seemed open and shut, but three years later, MY legal expenses had exceeded the receivable from continuances, changes in venue, a judge recusing himself, etc. Worked the system and called in favors until I couldn’t continue.

Namel3ss (profile) says:

Manifest injustice?

“Manifest injustice”? HAHAHA

These assclowns didn’t seem to give a shit about “manifest injustice” while they were extorting thousands of $$$ from hundreds of people for downloading from their honeypot they set up to entrap people. With settlement figures that, as John Steele himself said, were just less than the cost of a basic legal defense.

If they “can’t pay”, then it’s time for asset forfeiture. Seize their cars, houses, bank accounts, whatever. But ESPECIALLY their passports.

Welcome to the big leagues, guys. Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it?

Punk bitches. I hope they rot, first in jail, then in hell.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Maybe the debacle has gotten to the point where letting them ‘practice’ (and I use that word very loosely in context with the Prenda attorneys) is doing the work for them since they would be, I’m guessing based on my own jurisdictions policies (not USA), teetering on criminality situations now.

Also it’s gotten to the point that it will be a HUGE PR disaster for any bars since the question will be now asked by a huge amount of areas (main stream media is but one) of “WHY THE HELL DID IT TAKE THIS LONG”. So maybe its a matter of “if we do nothing they will hang themselves for us”

Anonymous Coward says:

You had to know it was coming. They tried pulling the wool over the courts for far too long and now it has come home to roost.

Like the rest here, I have no sympathy at all. Just like they didn’t when they were demanding people pay up with very questionable tactics.

How the times have changed and a welcome change at that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The heroes of copyright, legends of average_joe, out_of_the_blue, bob, darryl and Just Sayin’.

It’s not a case of “how the mighty have fallen”. It’s a case of the idiots digging their own grave have finally managed to fall into it.

Hi. AJ here. I couldn’t care less about Prenda. It’s hilarious that you think they’re my heroes. Over-generalize much?

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

The Prenda gang once again trying to weasel their way out of paying an order of the court. It’s amazing to listen to these clowns whine and plead poverty.

I wonder how Steele will fair in his poverty plea with the court when he is doing a pool, spa and deck to his Miami home… must be tough scraping by and still be able to do reno’s ( A great find by SJD )

Have a look at Steele’s Notice Of Commencement permit of his renovations that were filed with Miami’s Dade county: and note the date of the permit was filed on: Jan 30 2014

http://fightcopyrighttrolls.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/steele-gets-a-new-pool-2014_redacted1.pdf

Gee, John how are you going to explain these reno’s when you are going to plead how you can’t afford to pay this courts order….good luck with that.

The Judge is smart not to believe these guys there seems to be more fiction in their filings with the court than you’d find in a Sci-fi novel.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes and no I’d say. The fact that he has a very nice house could be argued to mean nothing more than that he had, in the past, sufficient money to afford it, money that he no longer has. It would be quite the stretch to be sure, but I can see that argument being at least potentially valid in some other case.

Now, making renovations and/or improvements of the house, at the same time as he’s trying to argue that he’s just barely getting by, and couldn’t possibly pay the fines levied against him… yeah, that rather completely destroys the argument, as if he’s got money to be improving his already swanky house, he most certainly has money to pay his court fines.

Anonymous Coward says:

Caught once again in their own web. To be sure, someone who knows Judge Murphy is going to make sure he is aware of these acts of the impoverished.

I would not like to be part of this Pretenda team should they have to revisit the courtroom of this judge once again on lack of satisfying the court’s ruling.

In my opinion, the smartest thing Prenda could do is pay the bill and get out of this judge’s observation range before it really gets serious.

Anonymous Coward says:

I guess they just ordered their CPA to lie and make the bogus statements, and he then said to himself “Alright I’ll do this, but I will amend this with my explanation so I can’t be held liable for this cluster f-“.

If team prenda was really clever they would already have found some strawmen to put their belongings into. Family, associates or freshly created aliasses and trusts.

I would claim total poverty and pretend to live in a barrel and all current belongings (clothes, cars, rolexes) would just by on loan provided by some charitable persons/trusts.

The reno on the house seems plainly stupid, as if what happens in one state is the same as if it is another country with a different judicial system and no communication.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...