John Steele's Property Caretaker Intervenes In Copyright Trolling Case, Alleging Identity Theft
from the prenda-law-comedy dept
Remember the comedy routine that really was a copyright troll court hearing involving notorious copyright troll lawyer John Steele and a bunch of lawyers who all denied representing the plaintiff? We hoped that people would take that transcript and turn it into a movie, and now, apparently, we may have Act II. Ars Technica and Fight Copyright Trolls both have the odd story of a man named Alan Cooper, who just happens to be employed by John Steele... but as a "caretaker" for some property Steele owns in Minnesota. And, well, I'll let his lawyer explain the details:
My client had for several years acted as a caretaker for a Minnesota property owned by an attorney by the name of John Steele. When visiting his property, Steele had on numerous occasions bragged to my client about a plan involving massive copyright legislation in multiple jurisdictions. He also specifically instructed my client to contact him if anyone asked about various corporations, that Cooper was to call him. When Cooper confronted Steele about that, Steele told him not to worry about it. Needless to say, my client was suspicious, but did not know what to make of this situation. Upon learning about the many lawsuits filed by AF Holdings and learning that AF Holdings has a CEO with an identical name he began to investigate further, eventually prompting him to retain counsel.
[...] When investigating this matter and calling the number listed on the wefightpiracy.com website, I confirmed that Steele is currently "of counsel" with Prenda Law. I called and emailed local counsel, Michael Dugas to give notice of representation and find out if there was in fact a different Alan Cooper with AF Holdings. Within an hour of giving notice to Prenda Law and local counsel of my representation, Steele himself called my client several times in a row and asked if he had been talking to attorneys in Minnesota. Because I had not yet heard from from attorneys Dugas or Steele, I looked for an alternative phone number for attorney Dugas and found a different number than the one that appears on the pleading.... Calling that number, I heard a voicemail message which said "Prenda Law." I again left a message, but have received no response. Because I have no response from Dugas or Steele, and because Steele has contacted my client, my suspicious are now increased.
Today, I receved an email from another attorney at Prenda Law, Paul Duffy, suggesting that their client, AF Holdings, probably would not volunteer information. I reasserted my request to confirm that there was another Alan Cooper at AF Holdings. Shortly before sending this letter, Duffy emailed me again and said that I should not contact his office again.
My client would like certainty that his identify is not being used without his knowledge and against his will as the would be CEO of AF Holdings, LLC or as a manager of Ingenuity13, LLC....
This letter was sent to the court on a few different cases involving these companies. In at least one, the judge apparently didn't think this mattered. After saying that it was "reviewed by the court," the judge also said "the court will take no action on this request." In the other cases, the lawyer for AF Holdings, Michael Dugas wrote a responsewhich does not attempt to clarify the situation, but instead basically tells the judge it's false and not to worry about it:
I write to respond to the November 29, 2012 letter filed with the Court by Attorney Paul
Godfread. In his letter, Attorney Godfread accuses AF Holdings LLC of being a sham
corporation and fraudulently holding his client out as its CEO. Both of these accusations are
Attorney Paul Godfread filed an identical letter in a similar case currently pending before the
Honorable Judge Joan N. Erickson. In a text entry, the Court indicated it reviewed the letter and
“will take no action on [Attorney Godfread’s] request.” Plaintiff respectfully requests that the
Court reach similar decision. By way of separate action, Plaintiff will address Attorney
Godfread’s egregious behavior.
Note that the letter leaves out the important part. You know, the part where they say that the "Alan Cooper" on these documents is a different Alan Cooper. It seems like that would help settle manners, especially if the initial claims were false.