by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
alan cooper, brett gibbs, dismissal

prenda, prenda law

Prenda's Brett Gibbs Tries To Avoid Answering Questions About Alan Cooper By Dismissing Case

from the cut-and-run dept

Another day, another story of questionable activity on behalf of copyright troll Prenda Law in regards to Alan Cooper. As you may recall, Alan Cooper, who was employed as a house caretaker for copyright troll John Steele (of Prenda Law, though at times he denies this), raised some concerns with the court in a few cases involving some mysterious shell companies -- AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13. At issue: the CEO named in the court papers for those companies was named Alan Cooper, and caretaker Alan Cooper believed that Steele or others at Prenda had faked his identity, as he had nothing to do with any of it. While Cooper has since sued Prenda and John Steele, this issue showed up in some other cases.

In one case involving Ingenuity 13, Prenda was represented by lawyer Brett Gibbs. Opposing lawyer Morgan Pietz asked Gibbs to confirm whether or not Ingenuity 13's Alan Cooper was a different Alan Cooper than Steele's caretaker, leading to a ridiculous conversation in which Gibbs played dumb and refused to answer the simple question. Pietz than took the issue to the court, who ordered Gibbs to answer some questions about Cooper. Gibbs' response was to claim that the judge should be thrown off the case for bias. Since that failed, Gibbs has moved onto the next strategy.

Simply try to walk away. He filed a notice saying he was dismissing the case (though he could file it again at some point). Effectively, he's trying to cut and run before having to answer those questions about Alan Cooper. Of course, in a situation where he should be trying to get out of court as quietly as possible, he chose, instead, to give the judge the equivalent of the middle finger: whining that he was dropping the case because the judge had made it "futile" to continue.
Plaintiff maintains its contention that it is factually impossible to identify a John Doe through an IP address without obtaining ISP subscriber information; as such, Plaintiff now dismisses this action without prejudice in order to avoid the futility of attempting to litigate these cases under such circumstances.
Of course, that's got nothing to do with anything. Gibbs appears to not want to answer the questions. Unfortunately, he may not be so lucky. After the case was already dismissed, the judge ordered a status report, and a future conference, concerning the questions raised by Pietz.

As a lawyer explained to the Fight Copyright Trolls site, it appears that, while the judge can't stop the case from being closed, he can still continue this line of exploration:
...the Judge retains authority/jurisdiction as to all remaining collateral issues such as sanctions as well as potential inappropriate conduct of counsel/parties. I believe that since the discovery order was issued after the dismissal, it is likely that the Court sees the dismissal as potentially motivated to hide inappropriate conduct or even perjury etc… Technically the judge could still allow discovery on the Alan Cooper issue or even order Gibbs or Steele or even “Alan Cooper” to appear and testify. If they refuse, the court can invoke its plenary contempt power. That’s when the ____ hits the fan.
We'll see where this goes, but Gibbs trying to sneak out on answering the questions, while at the same time whining about it to the judge, just seems to be him asking for trouble.

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  1. identicon
    ralph, 30 Jan 2013 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Prenda and the courts

    I see. So, let me see if I have this right. Thousands of defendants, most of whom don't have the means to defend themselves and understand nothing about the law, are being leaned on by Prenda.

    This is happening over and over again the same way, with clever variations, in numerous districts and Prenda keeps on trucking along.

    In the meantime, some guy who is in a position to lose millions of bucks a day is more important than these other people.

    I'm sorry, but this is dysfunctional. I understand it is a judge's job to follow due process. So perhaps what we need are more reasonable copyright laws along with judicial reform so small matters are not allowed to clog the courts indefinitely.

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