Copyright Troll Prenda Law Dances Around The Simple Question: Which Alan Cooper Runs AF Holdings?

from the still-waiting... dept

Well, well. The saga of copyright troll Prenda Law continues, getting more and more ridiculous by the day. First there was the comedy routine in a Florida courtroom, where Prenda denied representing the client, while at the same time effectively controlling the case by hiring the lawyers, and where John Steele (who clearly is connected to Prenda) just happened to show up in the courtroom. Then there's the Alan Cooper saga, where a caretaker of one of John Steele's properties in Minnesota began to worry that Steele was engaged in identity theft, and had falsely named him as the CEO of AF Holdings and Ingenuity13, two companies involved in Prenda copyright trolling cases.

A California lawyer, Morgan Pietz, who is apparently representing clients sued by AF Holdings and Ingenuity13, thought all of this was interesting enough that he alerted the courts hearing the related cases to both situations, which apparently set off Prenda Law's Brett Gibbs (also named as the guy who "hired" one of the lawyers in that Florida, despite Prenda denying any involvement in the case). The key question asked by Pietz: is the Alan Cooper associated with AF Holdings and Ingenuity13 the same Alan Cooper taking care of John Steele's property? Or are they different. There is, of course, an easy way out for Prenda if the Alan Coopers are different: just say they're different and show some evidence.

Instead... we get something else. First, a rambling and confusing filing from Gibbs in which he never addresses that simple question, but lashes out at everyone. He attacks the charges from Alan Cooper that his name and identity are being used against his will, not by saying that they are different Alan Coopers, but just by saying that Pietz "failed to perform a basic investigation to determine if the allegations contained in the letter are true." Gibbs does say they are false, but still provides absolutely no information on Alan Cooper, instead relying on the fact that a single court has said that it will take no action on Cooper's letter. Also, Gibbs accuses Pietz of attempting to "defame" AF Holdings with the Florida transcript, though I'm curious how attaching an actual transcript from a court case counts as defamation.

Pietz then filed a supplement to his original filing which responds to Gibbs' filing, noting that it "does not provide a single substantive fact designed to assuage any of these very troubling concerns. Rather, Plaintiff's opposition attacks the evidentiary foundation for Mr. Cooper's assertions, plus ad hominem attacks on the undersigned, an on Mr. Cooper's attorney, without responding substantively to any of the deeply troubling issues raised by Mr. Cooper." Furthermore, Pietz submits an email exchange with Gibbs which gets even more ridiculous.

Pietz asks Gibbs to answer these simple questions, and Gibbs refuses is an increasingly agitated manner. Eventually, they had a brief phone call, though the two differ entirely on the nature of that call. It does seem clear that Gibbs hung up on Pietz, though both accuse the other of unprofessional activities. Pietz insists that the claims that he yelled or cursed during the call are simply and totally false. However, it does appear clear from both accounts that Gibbs simply refuses to answer two simple questions: (1) What is the name of the client that Gibbs speaks to at AF Holdings and (2) can he provide Alan Cooper's signature, which Gibbs' "confirms" was appended to one of the exhibits filed in the case. Considering that the filing states the following, directly after an electronic claim that Alan Cooper signed the form (it's typical for lawyers to note "/s/" in electronic documents for where a physical copy was signed).
I, Brett L. Gibbs, Esq., hereby confirm per Eastern District of California Local Rule 131(f) that counsel for Plaintiff has signed original notarized version of the above Verified Petition
So, Pietz just wants to see that original signature from Cooper for somewhat obvious reasons, given the concerns listed above. And yet, Gibbs not only refuses, but when Pietz asked him directly on the phone about it, Gibbs himself admits that his answer was "I am sure there are hundreds of Alan Coopers in this world." In Gibbs' own email, he displays the way in which he has treated these conversations:
As I told you over the phone, when you asked "Is there another Alan Cooper?", I said "I am sure there are hundreds of Alan Coopers in this world." If your question had been framed more pointedly, and not so vague, maybe I could have provided you with a specific answer.
That's the kind of statement made by someone who thinks they're brilliant -- but isn't. All it serves to do is make lots of people aware of this. Parsing words when the clear intent of the question is obvious doesn't make you look intelligent. It just makes you look like you're avoiding the question because you don't want to answer. Similarly, Gibbs' insistence that he didn't hang up on Pietz seems equally dubious by his own explanation:
Mr. Morgan, I did not hang up on you. I take offense to your purposefully twisted version of things. At the end of our conversation, I said that "it was nice speaking with, I had other things to do and good bye" [paraphrasing]. That is not "hanging up" on someone, that is called ending a phone conversation (with respect, I might add).
Again... all of this dancing and parsing could be solved quite simply: by Gibbs or Steele or anyone actually showing that the Alan Cooper who is supposedly in charge of these holding companies isn't the Alan Cooper managing a Steele property in Minnesota. If that were the case, you'd think it would be quite simple for this to be proven. The fact that they're avoiding it only suggests that the most obvious possibility is the true story. As these stories advance, you get the feeling that this situation is going to end up being even more ridiculous than Righthaven by the time it's all over.

Filed Under: alan cooper, brett gibbs, john steele, mogran pietz
Companies: af holdings, ingenuity13, prenda law

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  1. icon
    Starke (profile), 12 Dec 2012 @ 12:14pm


    I suspect it's the former. If Cooper had known he was CEO of these shells, he could have just liquidated them and closed up shop if he really had cold feet.

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