Randazza Files For Contempt Of Court Against Righthaven

from the you-knew-this-was-coming dept

This won't come as much of a surprise to anyone following the ongoing battle between Righthaven and Marc Randazza, representing Wayne Hoehn (Randazza is also representing other clients fighting Righthaven, but much of the "action" is in the Hoehn case). The latest is a filing (embedded below) for the court to declare Righthaven in contempt of the court for completely ignoring a court order from December 12th to produce certain documents to Randazza as part of the effort to collect the attorneys' fees that the court has already ordered:
Righthaven has failed to respect this Court's lawful order. On December 12, this Court entered an order granting Hoehn's motion to conduct a debtors examination in the presence of a U.S. Magistrate Judge (Doc. # 67). Righthaven did not oppose Hoehn's motion seeking a debtors exam, and therefore consented to this Court's entry of an order scheduling one (Docs. # 60, 64). At this time, there is no stay in place to inhibit the debtors exam from proceeding (Docs. # 56, 57).

In order to ensure his debtors exam was efficient, targeted and fruitful, Hoehn moved the Court to order Righthaven to produce certain documents in advance of the examination (Docs. # 60, 60-4). The Court granted this request by adopting Hoehn's proposed order, and instructed Righthaven in clear, unambiguous language, to produce to Hoehn all of the following at least one (1) week before the scheduled examination:
Any and all information and documentation identifying real property, vehicles, bank accounts, bank deposits, company securities, intangible intellectual property and all other assets that may be available for execution to satisfy this Court's judgment and writ of execution, including money owed to Judgment Debtor by others, and other information of the like;
and
Any and all information and documentation identifying purchases, transfers of funds, or other dissipation of assets from Righthaven to yourselves or any other third parties commencing on or about April 15, 2011. (Doc. # 67 at 2)
By obtaining these documents, Hoehn hoped to prepare for the debtors examination with specific, narrowly tailored questions about any unexplained or suspicious assets or transactions. Righthaven has refused to produce these documents, to discuss their production, or to even acknowledge that the Court ordered the Plaintiff to produce these documents...

One week after the Court's order instructing Righthaven to produce the above-described documents, December 19, Hoehn's counsel sent a facsimile message to Righthaven's counsel inquiring about the production of those documents, as Righthaven had not contacted Hoehn about their production.... Righthaven's counsel had previously requested that all correspondence occur exclusively via U.S. Mail or facsimile, and Hoehn's counsel honored this request .... Sensing that Righthaven may not comply with the Court's order, Hoehn's counsel subpoenaed several banks doing business in Las Vegas for any financial records they may have for Righthaven LLC .... Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(b)(1), Hoehn's counsel provided a notice of these subpoenas to Righthaven's counsel .... Since bank records were just a small portion of the documents the Court ordered Righthaven to produce, Hoehn's counsel specifically reminded Righthaven of its duty to produce these documents in advance of the debtors exam, despite the subpoena .... To the contrary, the subpoenas heightened the need for Righthaven's records, as they were needed were needed in order to check for discrepancies against the bank-issued financial records.

Having received no reply from Righthaven with respect to the December 19 letter or December 21 notice, Hoehn's counsel sent another letter to Righthaven's counsel via facsimile on December 26, 2011.... Righthaven's counsel did not respond to this communication.... After the close of business on December 29, 2011, one week before the scheduled debtors examination, Hoehn's counsel again sent a letter to Righthaven's counsel via facsimile and U.S. Mail, seeking production of these documents ... To date, Righthaven's counsel has not responded to this communication
I would suggest that Righthaven's strategy of trying to completely ignore Randazza is not likely to be successful.

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  • identicon
    anonymous, 3 Jan 2012 @ 5:51am

    what makes me laugh about this whole escapade is, if it had been an ordinary person doing what Righthaven is doing, there would have been no pissing about by the court. the person would have been tracked down, arrested and thrown into jail. if the copyright industries were involved, that person would have been bankrupted, then jailed, had his/her life totally ruined in such a way that it would be unrecoverable. but because it's a company that's involved, all be it a supposed 'shady' one, it's ok to behave like this. typical double standards of courts in general and US courts in particular!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 5:55am

      Re:

      what makes me laugh about this whole escapade

      I'm not sure laughing is really appropriate....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      average_joe (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 6:38am

      Re:

      but because it's a company that's involved, all be it a supposed 'shady' one, it's ok to behave like this. typical double standards of courts in general and US courts in particular!

      Huh? What makes you think Gibson is not about to have a bench warrant issued for his arrest?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Jay (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 6:42am

        Re: Re:

        I don't think it's just that. Compare Bryan McCarthy's case with the Righthaven's. The rules are certa.inly different for lawyers to a certain degree.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          average_joe (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          McCarthy, with criminal intent, set up a website dedicated to infringement and profited off of it while violating other people's rights.

          Righthaven, with good intent, was set up to vindicate people's rights that were being violated. It's apples and oranges.

          God knows why they didn't turn over documents last Thursday, but violating a court order should lead to a contempt charge and a warrant. They'll get what's coming to them (as they have been all along) so I don't understand the notion that they're getting special treatment. They're not.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Berenerd (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Righthaven, with good intent, was set up to vindicate people's rights that were being violated. It's apples and oranges."

            Umm, exactly what is the intent to break the law to try and force people who did nothing wrong to try and pay for something Righthaven didn't own to begin with? I am curious about how this apple is more like an orange...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              average_joe (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I don't think I'm up for rehashing the whole thing, but I believe that Righthaven was created for the purpose of vindicating rights that were being violated. That shysters and bad lawyering became the story there is just a shame. I actually think Righthaven had the right idea. I know you all disagree, and I'm fine with that.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Mike C. (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Not to quibble, but you might want to watch your terminology. You seem to be stating a fact ("purpose of vindicating rights that were being violated" - emphasis mine) that the courts have not upheld in a majority of the cases.

                /just sayin'

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  average_joe (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 8:10am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I think a majority of the cases settled, in fact. And the ones that did go to court were either thrown out on a procedural point (standing) or lost on a fair use defense (which was only a couple cases if I recall correctly, and even then the reasoning was very spotty at best). Generally speaking, if a person cuts and pastes an entire copyrighted work into their blog or message board, that's going to be infringement. But you're right, I shouldn't imply that it's always infringement. It's certainly fair to say that it usually is, IMO.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    keiichi969 (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 10:02am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:


                    I think a majority of the cases settled, in fact. And the ones that did go to court were either thrown out on a procedural point (standing) or lost on a fair use defense (which was only a couple cases if I recall correctly, and even then the reasoning was very spotty at best). Generally speaking, if a person cuts and pastes an entire copyrighted work into their blog or message board, that's going to be infringement. But you're right, I shouldn't imply that it's always infringement. It's certainly fair to say that it usually is, IMO.



                    Actually, doing so, as I just did, is completely legal. I'm using your words to inspire discussion, which is protected under the first amendment.

                    Righthaven's whole tactic was to shakedown people for money, on rights they didn't even own. Which isn't legal to begin with, because you can't transfer the rights to sue without transferring the rights themselves.


                    Also "I think" does not constitute a fact. And sure, many would settle, since settling is much cheaper than going to court and fighting it out. That's one of the big issues with how out system works today. It's much cheaper and easier to just pay up than it is to fight it court. And Righthaven knew this. In fact, it was their entire strategy.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Richard (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Righthaven was created for the purpose of vindicating rights that were being violated.

                That could(/should?) have been undertaken by the original rightholder(s) themselves. Righthaven was created for the purpose of shielding those rightsholders from fallout if it all went horribly wrong. All of which sort of suggests that those who created Righthaven knew they were planning something dodgy all along.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  average_joe (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 8:12am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I think it was set up to monetize on widespread infringement, which wouldn't be possible in the first instance if lawbreakers weren't so prevalent.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2012 @ 9:10am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Or to put that another way,
                    "..it was set up to monetize on widespread infringement, which wouldn't be possible in the first instance, if" the applicable laws did not criminalise people for behaving normally and reasonably.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2012 @ 9:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You're the only one that still believes that, sadly. Righthaven was set up to make money; they care exactly not at all about vindicating rights.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Richard (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's apples and oranges.

            AJ - are you aware that the apples and oranges argument has been refuted?
            The paper is here:

            (by Scott A. Sandford, NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California)
            "We have all been present at discussions (or arguments) in which one of the combatants attempts to clarify or strengthen a point by comparing the subject at hand with another item or situation more familiar to the audience or opponent. More often than not, this stratagem instantly results in the protest that "you're comparing apples and oranges!" This is generally perceived as being a telling blow to the analogy, since it is generally understood that apples and oranges cannot be compared. However, after being the recipient of just such an accusation, it occurred to me that there are several problems with dismissing analogies with the comparing apples and oranges defense.

            First, the statement that something is like comparing apples and oranges is a kind of analogy itself. That is, denigrating an analogy by accusing it of comparing apples and oranges is, in and of itself, comparing apples and oranges. More importantly, it is not difficult to demonstrate that apples and oranges can, in fact, be compared.."

            read the link to see the rest of the refutation.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Keroberos (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Righthaven, with good intent, was set up to vindicate people's rights that were being violated.

            Bull****, Righthaven was set up to use the court system to illegally extort money from people who didn't have the ability to defend themselves, as has been proven by the few who went to court to defend themselves instead of just paying up in settlement. Now that they've lost, Righthaven is just stalling and trying to hide all of their assets to avoid paying judgments to the people who's rights they were violating.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              average_joe (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 8:16am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I dunno. If their plan was to "illegally extort money," then it doesn't seem likely that they would us the federal court system to do it. Most criminals operate outside of the courts, I should think. You're right that they're just stalling and trying to avoid the inevitable. It's sad to watch. I will point out though that they have several appeals pending, and I'll be completely blown away if the appellate courts agree with the fair use holdings or even the standing analysis. I say analysis because even if finding that they don't have standing is the right result, I don't think the reasoning to date has been correct.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Chris Rhodes (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 11:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Most criminals operate outside of the courts
                The biggest criminals operate inside and around the courts.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                ltlw0lf (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 2:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If their plan was to "illegally extort money," then it doesn't seem likely that they would us the federal court system to do it.

                I don't think anyone believes that they were in it to "illegally extort money," especially since the federal court system kinda allows them to "legally extort money." However, the fact that they didn't follow the right procedures and the fact that they didn't really own the copyrights they were using to extort money from folks with makes their efforts to "legally extort money" using the federal courts illegal. Right?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            bordy (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 9:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Righthaven, with good intent, was set up to vindicate people's rights that were being violated.

            Gibson went on record a few years ago stating that the market for prosecuting online copyright infringement was in the "gazillions." Combine that with the haphazard way the agreements with Stephens Media and the Post were executed and the arrogant manner in which Righthaven went about extorting settlements, it's very difficult for many of us to see their intent as an altruistic vindication of newspapers' copyrights. This has all the earmarks of a cash grab with little to no regard for motivating creativity as intended by copyright law.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Dave Zan, 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: average_joe

            with good intent


            That's debatable, considering that Righthaven turns out not to have had sufficient rights from their clients to pursue those copyright infringement claims. Unless that was meant in sarcasm, maybe.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re:

        Huh? What makes you think Gibson is not about to have a bench warrant issued for his arrest?

        Don't think we're at that stage yet - it does seem to be a long and tangled process for these trolls to receive their come uppance - but I would agree with AJ that it IS likely to happen sometime if he continues along his present line - courts may be more lenient to copyright trolls than to pirates - but they are generally pretty draconian against people who ignore the court - regardless of who they are or why.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          average_joe (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 8:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And I think this Thursday he and Drizzle are supposed to appear in person before the judge. Should be interesting to see what bullshit excuse they have for not handing over the documents to Randazza last week. Watch Gibson not even show up this Thursday. They'll send out Tommy Lee Jones and the U.S. Marshals at that point, I'm sure. ;)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2012 @ 6:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            They got a new date instead.
            See? even you are surprised at the astounding patience,
            kindness and tolerance of this judge.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        anonymous, 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re:

        to average_joe

        the point being made is the speed with which a case goes to court and gets actual action taken when it's an ordinary citizen compared to a company. whether Gibson is about to have a bench warrant issued or not is irrelevant.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Pitabred (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      Totally going grammar nazi here, but the word is "albeit", not the phrase "all be it"

      I do agree, though. Companies seem to have more rights than the average citizen, which is scary.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Loki, 3 Jan 2012 @ 6:05am

    Righthaven is simply doing the honorable thing and letting the court provide plenty of guidance for future cases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mike allen (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:20am

    Could not happen to a nicer company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:28am

      Re:

      but surely every other company is nicer...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:46am

      Re:

      Only thing that comes to mind is that a significant portion of their staff must have jumped ship and the remaining are drowning under the workload.
      Just doesn't make sense to let stuff default without replying.

      I agree with the sentiment tho, and as someone else put it (but about the RIAA that time iirc) "I'm sorry you're drowning, please accept this anvil as a gift."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Loki, 3 Jan 2012 @ 9:08am

        Re: Re:

        I'm guessing that when they set up this sham, they goofed up somewhere, and since the idea that things would get turned around on them like this, they didn't realize the extent of their error until too late. Now I think they are just trying to buy time until they can figure out how to fix their screw up because it is likely to get them in much more serious doodoo then what they are already swimming in. I can't think of any other reason that even the most arrogant of lawyers thinking they can thumb their noses at judges indefinitely without some serious blowback.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2012 @ 10:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm guessing they are trying to figure out how to keep from getting disbarred. They are probably setup as a shell company for Stephens Media or have some other type of undeclared partners who were not disclosed as interested parties in the original lawsuits.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thomas (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 9:17am

    Wonder where...

    the Righthaven people have moved their cash to? Offshore bank?

    They are probably scrambling to hide any assets they own or transfer them out of the country.

    They won't go to jail - courts almost never do that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), 3 Jan 2012 @ 1:09pm

      Re: Wonder where...

      I suspect that by the time we track down all the people behind Righthaven we'll find they're presently located in countries without extradition treaties with the US.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2012 @ 6:59am

        Re: Re: Wonder where...

        Aren't those the countries where the US uses drones instead?

        Actually, no, I am wrong about that, it uses them even with countries that it has extradition agreements with.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Overcast (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 10:57am

    And the trolls get trolled..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2012 @ 11:21am

    I'm, surprised, yet not shocked that the Bar Association of multiple states have not started to investigate the attorneys involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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