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Team Prenda Smacked Around Again, Ordered To Pay Another $94,000

from the punching-bags dept

It appears that the courts are now just piling on when it comes to Prenda Law. In the case of Lightspeed v. Anthony Smith, the court that was one of the first to call out team Prenda for “flat-out lies” and then blasted their weak attempt to plead poverty — leading, instead, to holding Team Prenda in contempt — has struck again. Having lost badly on appeal, the district court slammed the lawyers again, arguing that Team Prenda lied to the court and obstructed the discovery process concerning where they hid their money. It ordered sanctions of $65,263 and asked Smith’s lawyers at Booth Sweet to submit their costs to be added on to the total. Those costs came out to $94,343.51 — and Prenda lawyers John Steele and Paul Duffy complained that the number was unfair.

Not surprisingly, the court is not buying what Steele and Duffy are selling:

Steele objects to the submitted expenses…. Steele?s objections are not well taken. As is customary for Steele, his objections minimize his misconduct and distort the facts of the case. For the reasons discussed herein, the Court finds that all of the submitted expenses are reasonable and recoverable. The Court awards sanctions against Steele and Duffy in the amount of $94,343.51, apportioned equally between Steele and Duffy. The sanctions shall be paid on or before August 10, 2015.

Note that this filing came out on August 10th. So the judge, David Herndon, basically said pay up now.

This litigation has been entirely frivolous. Moreover, Lightspeed?s counsel?s falsehoods and obstructionist tactics have created significant costs for Smith. The Court agrees that the submitted expenses, costs and fees are eminently reasonable given the history of this litigation and the more than a year Smith spent defending against obstructionist tactics and engaging in extensive discovery to obtain proof of Duffy and Steele?s misconduct.

Of course, with more and more of these types of rulings piling up, it still raises questions as to how the lawyers of Team Prenda are still allowed to practice law — with both Steele and Paul Hansmeier having moved on to a very similar scam in shaking down small businesses over seemingly trivial ADA violations.

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Companies: lightspeed, prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Team Prenda Smacked Around Again, Ordered To Pay Another $94,000”

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25 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

... and?

It really doesn’t matter if the sanctions are $1, $1,000 or $100,000, good luck getting them to pay any of it. They don’t seem to be facing any penalties for refusal to pay, so why should they care what the amount is? Just ignore the sanctions, and move on to the next scam.

Now, as funny as it would be to see them have their property repossessed and sold off to pay off their outstanding debts, until something like that happens it really doesn’t matter how high the sanctions are, because they don’t actually have to pay any of it, and they know it.

Shawn (profile) says:

Re: ... and?

Well, I’m guessing that the other party in these cases could apply to the judge for a lien on both personal and business property and sell it off at auction until the judgement is satisfied. I have heard of it being done in a mortgage case.

http://business.time.com/2011/06/06/homeowner-forecloses-on-bank-of-america-yes-you-heard-that-right/

Stephen May says:

Re: No -- They Are Facing CONTEMPT

Seems to me the Courts have been increasingly clear. These are facing contempt — which as I understand it could include indefinite jail until the amount is paid in full.

They have run out of appeals unless they want to try a long-shot to the U.S. Supreme Court (ROTFL!).

I think it’s clear this Judge means business. They have until the day the Order was entered to pay. Not 30-days, not even 10-days. Until the close of business the day it was signed or they are in contempt (again). If that doesn’t scream PAY IMMEDIATELY they are fools to get brought back before that Judge!

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

Remember that the Judge had Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy submit to the court their financials from an accountant when they were pleading poverty.

While Steele was whining how he couldn’t pay, he somehow managed to have the funds to add a pool, spa and deck to his Miami area home.

Funny how someone who couldn’t afford to pay up could afford to do a renovation like that.

Anonymous Coward says:

can someone please tell me the point of keep fining ‘Team Prenda’? it’s got no money, so it says and from what i’ve read, none has been found. these fines are like spitting in the wind, it just ends up in your face! put the fuckers in jail, kick them off the lawyers list and never let them practice law again, anywhere!!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Oh they have money, in the past they’ve even bragged about how much they were pulling in, it’s just ‘conveniently’ all in offshore, totally-unrelated-strictly-for-other-things-honest accounts. And as some of their other actions have shown, even when ‘broke’ they seem to have no trouble finding enough funds for personal use, like redecorating houses.

However, I do agree that fining them is pretty much pointless, because as I pointed out above, they have no reason to pay. They can ignore financial sanctions as much as they care to and suffer absolutely no penalty from doing so, so tacking on more is just a waste of time.

No, if judges want to really punish them, hit it where it hurts: Their ability to continue with their scams. Issue rulings that lay out, clearly and concisely, just what they are doing so anytime they try and drag some poor sod to court, any judge looking into the matter will know exactly the sort of tricks they’ll try and use.

Refer them to the various state Bar organizations for their courtroom ‘shenanigans’ like lying and falsifying records. That may not do much, but if enough judges in enough states do it the Bar associations might start considering cutting them lose just to save face.

Probably potentially most effective, set time limits on the sanctions. Give them a set amount, maybe 6 months, maybe a year, to pay out, otherwise the ones the sanctions are meant to repay are allowed to take it to court again and have property repossessed to make up the difference. Pay in money, or pay in goods, make them pay regardless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Why not?

They do have money, they pretty much boasted about it to the anti-troll groups. Now it’s time for them to pay the piper.

More than anything else, it serves as an example to the trolls, extortionists and other criminal arms of the copyright maximalists: “Pick the wrong victim and it might be YOU getting shafted.”

When the RIAA started this extortion scheme, they wanted to make an example of the filesharers they lied about.

Well, now it’s time for the good guys to make an example.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

These guys aren’t in jail because the pro-IP network runs very deep. It’s a very deep network of kickbacks that gets them out of things. Even if Prenda itself doesn’t individually have a lot of influence for them to get quickly and properly punished would set a message that those who do have strong ties and an interest in the matter don’t want. The dominant message should be that those who wish to offer competing services, like Megaupload, would face an unfavorable legal environment for doing so because those services compete and defy the wishes of IP extremists to be the only possible content distributors in town. Those who want to make things more difficult for competing content distributors will be strongly favored both by the laws and the legal system. For Prenda to get properly and strongly punished for their actions would defy this message and may potentially scare copy protection trolls away from making life difficult for content distribution services. The message is clear. Even if Prenda and others like it do something wrong the legal system will be very light on them when compared to how it treats competing content distribution services when they are accused of doing something wrong.

Heck, look how deep El Chapo ran. With paid off judges and a network deep enough to instil fear in people as high as the wealthiest presidential candidates and other very prominent people what this briefly made more publicly apparent is that there is an entire underworld of deeply embedded undemocratic influence behind many important political and judicial decisions.

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