Techdirt Sued For $10 Million In A Frivolous Lawsuit For Posting An Earlier Frivolous Lawsuit

from the surprisingly,-defendants-not-accused-of-racism-by-acknowledged-racist dept

Publisher’s note from Mike Masnick: As you can see in the story below, we were sued. While we get an average of about one legal threat per month (though, always in bunches, rather than evenly spread out), until this case, we’d never actually been sued (we were once named in another filing, but it was procedurally rejected by the court, and when the plaintiff refiled later, he left us out). On advice of our lawyer, we had been waiting to see if Kenneth Eng actually bothered to have the filing served on us, as is required to move forward with the lawsuit. For rather obvious reasons, as you can see below, we had little fear that this lawsuit would last very long, but a failure to serve us would have been even more fatal to the case. Thankfully, it appears that Judge Vitaliano didn’t even think it was worth waiting to hear from us to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice. No matter how confident you are in prevailing in a lawsuit, getting sued is still both a waste of resources and a massive distraction. Thus, we’re quite pleased with Judge Vitaliano’s handling of the case in this manner.

Roughly a month ago, I wrote about Kenneth Eng’s doomed copyright lawsuit against author L’Poni Baldwin for allegedly stealing his techno-dragon ideas. As was pointed out by the judge in the lawsuit’s dismissal, copyright doesn’t apply to ideas — only to the expression of ideas. And Eng’s ideas (and expression thereof) weren’t sufficiently distinctive from a host of other technology-meets-mythology creations. The judge did, however, allow Eng to re-file his complaint, both to refine his copyright claims and to actually make some sort of actionable claim.

Eng did amend his complaint. Here’s the entirety of that amendment, in all of its ignorant, racist glory.

Furthermore, Baldwin copies from Japanese anime. This is copyright infringement that proves that coons cannot come up with their own ideas. In addition, she mentions that the dragons in her story came from Pre-Cambrian Earth. I also had a similar history in my story, in which dragons evolved from the dinosaurs.

Eng is a self-described racist and “Asian supremacist.” In his mind, this is the smoking gun his copyright lawsuit was missing. It wasn’t enough that his previous complaint basically stated that the “copying” of his ideas was racially-motivated because L’Poni Baldwin is “black,” at least according to Eng’s “research.”

Cue dismissal with prejudice and further instructions that Eng will not be allowed to appeal this decision in forma pauperis.

That was only part of Eng’s many legal filings during a very busy month. Here’s another, filed June 19th:

I. Plaintiff Kenneth Eng resides at 4266 Saull Street, Flushing, NY 11355

Defendant Tim Cushing resides at Floor64, Inc., 370 Convention Way, Redwood City, CA 94063
Defendant TechDirt resides at Floor64, Inc., 370 Convention Way, Redwood City, CA 94063

II. The jurisdiction of the Court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S. Code 4101.

III.
Journalist Tim Cushing published my address and other personal information on two websites (at least). Please see the following:

[links to documents uploaded to Document Cloud]

He did this for the purpose of harassing me and writing this slanderous article:

https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=kenneth+eng

Cushing and his publisher TechDirt have been reported to the police*. I have contacted “documentcloud.org”, and they told me that they would not remove the material; that it was the journalist’s responsibility.

IV. I am seeking $10,000,000 in damages from Tim Cushing.

[*Eng actually emailed Techdirt to inform us that he had “called the police” on me. If he did in fact do this, presumably the NYPD told him that Redwood City, CA is a bit out of its jurisdiction. {Not to mention the fact that I don’t actually “reside” at TD HQ.}]

Beyond the fact that Eng fails to state a claim, there’s the underlying wrongness of his entire premise: that the contents of public records aren’t actually public and that people can be sued for making public documents public.

Within a few days of this filing, Eng sued PACERMonitor, a site that (duh) monitors PACER for new filings. Once again, Eng asserts his mistaken belief that information contained in public records can’t be published.

Defendants PacerMonitor.com, which is owned by Joe Rosen of Harros LLC has unlawfully published my address on their website:

https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/3746119/Eng_v_Captain_Blue_Hen_Comics

The above link has my address under the tab labeled “Parties.”

I wrote them two emails instructing them to remove this information. They did not comply. Ergo, I am filing this lawsuit.

I am seeking $10,000,000 in damages from all parties named above.

While these lawsuits alleging the civil violation of “publishing public records” sat awaiting a judge’s review, Eng sent letters to the courts (Eastern and Southern Districts of New York) he was filling with frivolous filings the following letter asking for the redaction of his personal information. Here’s the one that was filed on the Techdirt docket:

Vitaliano/Bloom:

I would like to redact my address from all of my lawsuits. Someone has posted my address on the internet after having acquired a copy of a few of my lawsuits. I was instructed to list the case numbers of the lawsuits in question, but upon attempting, i realized that I do not have the numbers to certain cases I recently filed.

This means that I would also like to redact my address from lawsuits I filed in the past that have been sealed/closed. I would also like to redact my address on this letter.

Well, Mr. Eng, there are things you’d “like” and things that are actually permitted. Please see the following screenshot for further clarification:

The court isn’t going to redact information unless you can give them a legitimate reason to do so. See also: the following lawsuit filed by Kenneth Eng against “Officer X.” [Complaint states the “X” is not a stand-in, but actually the officer’s given name. It is also filled with derogatory terms for African-Americans.]

It didn’t take long for Eng’s lawsuit against Techdirt to get thrown out. In a short but pointed decision, Judge Vitaliano of NY’s Eastern District Court tossed Eng’s suit against Techdirt, along with his complaint against PACERMonitor… with prejudice.

Eng’s solitary gripe in these cases is that defendants have publicly reproduced copies of some of the many frivolous civil action complaints filed by him in recent months. These complaints and accompanying cover sheets are, of course, official court documents, and matters of public record. As is expected in a court filing, Eng’s address — as well as the mailing addresses of those he has attempted to sue — appears on the face of these court documents. That defendants have distributed copies of these documents in the media is a practice that is by no means unusual or a violation of Eng’s right to privacy. Put simply, he has no privacy interest in such publicly-accessible records.

So, who’s really hurting Eng here? Vitaliano states it plainly: Eng is the biggest threat to his own privacy.

In short, it was not defendants that thrust Eng’s home address into the public record: it was Eng, himself, and he has done so repeatedly.

If you don’t want your name, address and phone number in public records, stop filing frivolous lawsuits. Public records are public. By filing a lawsuit in a federal court, you create a nationally-accessible document that will contain both the information of the plaintiff as well as the information of the defendant(s). Both are exposed by this action, but Eng somehow feels only his should be redacted.

Defendants, by merely reproducing Eng’s court filings and reporting on his legal antics, have committed no impropriety, and plaintiff can state no claim against them on those grounds.

Vitaliano is obviously tiring of Eng’s numerous in forma pauperis filings, most of which state no claim and load up on racist language.

For the foregoing reasons, Eng has failed to state claims upon which relief may be granted, and his factual allegations make clear that, even if amended, his pleadings could not possibly state any valid cause of action. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), therefore, Eng’s complaints are dismissed in their entirety with prejudice.

The judge also warns that Eng’s days as a free-riding serial litigant are coming to an end.

Eng has, the Court’s records reflect, filed a spate of these meaningless lawsuits in recent weeks. In light of his ongoing practice of filing lawsuits of this frivolous nature, the Court again reiterates its warning that, should he continue to file such lawsuits, he will face a filing injunction and/or monetary sanctions, upon notice and opportunity to be heard.

Eng’s remaining open lawsuits are being closed down rapidly. Three recent copyright infringement suits were simultaneously dismissed for the usual reasons: inability to state a claim and the attempt to claim ownership of ideas.

Eng, however, appears to be determined to abuse the in forma pauperis rules until slapped with sanctions or asked to cough up a filing fee. He’s also been busy filing lawsuits in the Southern District court, perhaps to avoid running into Vitaliano again. His most recent infringement filing in that court targets an internet meme:

There is a website called “The Philosoraptor” http://www.philosoraptor.com that infringes upon one of my characters, Philosoraptor. My character appeared in my book The 0th Dimension, written in 2003 and published in 2007 by FurNation, and published again by Double Dragon Publishing in 2012. Both characters, mine and the adversary’s, are anthropomorphic raptors.

I am unable to ascertain any personal information about who created the website in question. There appears to be a copyright notice dated year 2000; but I cannot verify the validity of this.

I am seeking $200,000 in damages from the creator of the Philosoraptor website.

“Adversary.”

Well, then.

I’m not sure how many dismissals it will take before Eng realizes that public records are public records, and generic ideas/expressions aren’t protectable under copyright law. My guess is it won’t be the dismissals that stop him but the courts’ decision to start charging him filing fees. Notably, no case dismissed has ever been appealed because each dismissal comes with the same warning attached: you’re paying for the next round.

[More documents from Kenneth Eng’s lawsuits can be found here, including a lawsuit against the college he used to attend, which sheds some light on his general attitude towards anyone who isn’t Kenneth Eng.]

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Companies: floor64, pacermonitor, techdirt

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Comments on “Techdirt Sued For $10 Million In A Frivolous Lawsuit For Posting An Earlier Frivolous Lawsuit”

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58 Comments
Nerdz Inc. says:

I think the root problem is that certain individuals think blogs like this have a greater audience and influence than they actually do, and so they attempt to nip this influence “in the bud” legally. Of course, in reality, it’s just a tiny sub-set of nerds, out of hundreds of millions of people, who’ve made TechDirt, etc., a part of their day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t think that’s Kenneth “All I Said Was I Worship Hitler!” Eng’s root problem… No, I think that Kenneth “I Have A Deep And Unrelenting Hatred For White People And Their Coon Servants” Eng’s root problem is clear for all to see. Kenneth “If I Wasn’t Anti-Semitic Before, I Certainly Am Now” Eng doesn’t try to hide it.

GMacGuffin (profile) says:

Sua Sponte?

I’m not clear on how some of these cases are getting dismissed without even being served. Most courts don’t even look at a Complaint until the defendant brings a motion to dismiss, etc.

If they’re being dismissed sua sponte (on the Court’s own motion), it further indiates that they really have his number.

(… the overt racism … ouch, cringe)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Sua Sponte?

I think that because he was asking to proceed “in forma pauperis”, the court had to look at the complaint in order to approve that request (the lawsuit couldn’t proceed at all until the filing fee was taken care of one way or another.) And when they looked, they saw the obvious problems.

On another note, the court “again reiterates” its warning that it could impose sanctions. If you are reiterating your warning again, that may be an indication that your warnings are being ignored, and maybe sanctions should actually BE imposed instead of just threatened. Just saying.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don't hold your breath

I’m not sure how many dismissals it will take before Eng realizes that public records are public records, and generic ideas/expressions aren’t protectable under copyright law. My guess is it won’t be the dismissals that stop him but the courts’ decision to start charging him filing fees. Notably, no case dismissed has ever been appealed because each dismissal comes with the same warning attached: you’re paying for the next round.

From the college lawsuit:

In your own words, you stated that, “I learned pratically nothing”, and I would concur with that assessment. In fact, I don’t think you’re capable of learning anything from anyone.”

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Funnier than Prenda!

I have always relished articles about Prenda. I have laughed my ass off so many times as I read about their steady downfall. Until they finally were exposed for their fraud they actually were often successful in extorting butt loads of money. This idiot has never filed a lawsuit that had any chance. His copyright suit against Baldwin at least made it to court but these recent suits just show he has really gone off the deep end. Great comedy though.

Anonymous Coward says:

NYPD jurisdiction not covering California

If he did in fact do this, presumably the NYPD told him that Redwood City, CA is a bit out of its jurisdiction.

Based on other NYPD activity, I don’t see why being in a different state should protect Tim from the jurisdiction of the NYPD. They may only be a city police department, but they clearly think they have jurisdiction anywhere they care to go on Earth.

Anonymous Coward says:

I just got sucked into his college-days lawsuit. I thought I’d be amused, but ended up just being sad. Laughing at him just feels wrong. Sure, his lawsuits are comically bad–and his views on race reprehensible–but making fun of him almost feels like laughing at the guy with Tourette Syndrome at the bus station. This guy clearly needs help, but probably won’t get it.

DannyB (profile) says:

Officer X's checkbook

Would Officer X actually be able to just pull out his checkbook and write three checks:
1. $200 Million – to Hong Kong govt.
2. $200 Million – to Vietnam govt.
3. $5,000 to Kenneth

I suppose my question is, if one is delusional, then why stop at Four Hundred Million Five Thousand Dollars? Why not a billion? Heck, don’t be outdone by the RIAA’s seventy five TRILLION, why not go for one quadrillion dollars?

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Completely aside

In addition, she mentions that the dragons in her story came from Pre-Cambrian Earth. I also had a similar history in my story, in which dragons evolved from the dinosaurs.

Both of these ideas are pretty hilarious. When the attempt to explain ruins the suspension of disbelief, it tends to crash a story. (Unless suitably ridiculous explanations are are part of an author’s style.)

Sheogorath (profile) says:

I repeat, Mr. Eng

I invite you to sue my ass.
Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC, Dragonworld ETC.
Go ahead, waste attorneys fees in attempting to sue me over something that’s too short to have a copyright on it.

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