Prenda's Brett Gibbs Finally Answers Some Questions; No Mention Of Alan Cooper

from the heading-for-a-showdown dept

With the news breaking of copyright troll firm Prenda Law, along with John Steele and Paul Duffy (who basically appear to be Prenda) suing a bunch of critics for defamation, it's worth remembering that the challenges to some of their existing lawsuits are still ongoing.

Brett Gibbs, who has been trying to weasel out of a variety of troubling situations concerning his acting as a lawyer for Prenda in California, was finally forced to answer some questions from Judge Otis Wright -- the same judge Gibbs tried to have kicked off the case once Wright started asking Gibbs to explain who the mysterious Alan Cooper really is. That effort failed (miserably) and last we'd seen, Judge Wright was threatening sanctions (including potential incarceration) against Gibbs for his, um, lack of candor.

Late last week, Judge Wright also consolidated a bunch of Gibbs' Prenda cases, so that they were all included for the sanction hearings on March 11, and also ordered Gibbs to answer some basic questions:
The names and contact information of the “senior members of the law firm that employed Mr. Gibbs in an ‘of counsel’ relationship.” (Gibbs Resp. 2.);

The names and contact information of the persons who make “strategic decisions . . . whether to file actions, who to sue, and whether to make a certain settlement demand or accept an offer of settlement.” (Gibbs Resp. 2.);

The names and contact information of the “owners of these copyrights.” (Gibbs Resp. 2.) If these owners are business entities, then provide in addition the names and contact information of the principals of these entities.

The names and contact information of the principals of AF Holdings LLC and Ingenuity 13 LLC.
Gibbs names John Steele and Paul Hansmeier as the "senior members" from whom he took orders, both when he was working with Steele Hansmeier and with Prenda Law. That's not surprising, but marginally interesting since Steele, at times, likes to pretend that he's not working for Prenda. The more interesting tidbit concerned the "CEO" of AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13, the two shell companies that Prenda has been using for a bunch of these lawsuits, which many believe are controlled by Steele and Hansmeier. Those are the companies who supposedly had "Alan Cooper" as their CEO, until Alan Cooper, who took care of one of Steele's homes, spoke up to the court, wondering if his identity was being used illegally. Apparently "Alan Cooper" is no longer CEO, but Mark Lutz is the CEO (of both companies).

You may remember Mark Lutz for his laugh-o-riffic appearance in that Florida Prenda case which consisted of a hearing worthy of Abbott and Costello. Lutz, who was identified as a "former" paralegal for Steele, was there to be the "representative" of the plaintiff, a company called SunLust. However, an absolutely hilarious exchange with the judge (which came about after she saw Lutz talking to Steele, who claimed he was just there to "observe" but had no actual involvement in the case) showed that Lutz was not a representative of the company, but a stand-in for Steele. Here's just a snippet.
THE COURT: Mr. Lutz, you're under oath, you have to give truthful answers or you face penalties of perjury. Do you understand that?
MR. LUTZ: Yes.
THE COURT: What is your position with Sunlust?
MR. LUTZ: I'm a representative of them.
THE COURT: What does that mean?
MR. LUTZ: Corporate representative.
THE COURT: What does that mean?
MR. LUTZ: They asked me to appear on various matters throughout the country.
THE COURT: Are you an officer of the company?
MR. LUTZ: I'm not, no.
THE COURT: Are you authorized to bind the company to any legal contracts?
MR. LUTZ: I am not.
THE COURT: Are you salaried?
MR. LUTZ: No, 1099.
THE COURT: So you are a 1099 contracted entity and you just go around and sit in a Court and represent yourself to be the corporate representative of the company?
MR. LUTZ: Yes.
THE COURT: Mr. Torres, did you know this was Mr. Lutz's position, a paid corporate representative?
MR. TORRES: No, Your Honor, I did not.
THE COURT: Who is the president of Sunlust?
MR. LUTZ: I'm unaware.
THE COURT: Who is the vice president?
MR. LUTZ: I'm unaware
THE COURT: Who is the secretary?
MR. LUTZ: I have no idea.
THE COURT: Who owns Sunlust?
MR. LUTZ: I do not know.
THE COURT: Who signs your checks?
MR. LUTZ: I believe somebody in the accounting department.
THE COURT: What is their name?
MR. LUTZ: To be honest with you, I can't read the signature.
THE COURT: Where is the accounting department located?
MR. LUTZ: I'm sorry?
THE COURT: Where is the accounting department located?
MR. LUTZ: I've received checks from California.
If you follow the FightCopyrightTrolls site, they've spent plenty of time tracking Lutz, who (that site claims) is Prenda's main "enforcer" in trying to get people to pay up. People receiving phone calls related to Prenda cases, asking the recipient to pay up to avoid getting sued, often report that it's Lutz who is calling (though it appears he may use another name on some phone calls). That "Alan Cooper" is gone from Ingenuity 13 and AF Holdings, and Lutz has been put in his place, adds even more weight to what most people suspected: that the companies are mere shells for Steele and Hansmeier, who seem to be trying to layer on more and more and more bullshit to avoid getting in serious trouble for their actions in these cases, seeking any way possible to try to demand money from people they accuse of infringing copyrights (or, in some crazy cases, accessing computers in an unauthorized manner).

In the answer, Gibbs also refuses to directly respond to Judge Wright's question to reveal the contact information for Steele and Hansmeier, but does offer to file them under seal. There is, of course, no mention of Alan Cooper.

I imagine the hearing on March 11th should be quite the spectacle.



Reader Comments

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  • icon
    Gothenem (profile), 4 Mar 2013 @ 3:40pm

    Crud. I'm out.

    Of popcorn that is. There has been so much concerning Prenda that I seem to have run out of popcorn.

    I think i'll run out and get some more for March 11th. :)

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

    • icon
      rw (profile), 4 Mar 2013 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Crud. I'm out.

      Better buy in bulk.

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 5 Mar 2013 @ 6:06am

      The MPAA must be quite pleased

      Remember how the MPAA seemed so genuinely and deeply concerned about the future for corn farmers? The corn farmers would be put out of business if theater ticket sales tanked due to outrageous prices, worse-than-TSA security measures, check your cell phone at the door, bad movies, unoriginal plots, remakes of sequels of remakes of decades old TV shows, and other reasons.

      The MPAA must be pleased at the rise of popcorn consumption related to the entertainment spectacle of copyright trolls Gordian knots of shell companies and litigation being unraveled.

      The MPAA thanks you for fighting copyright trolls.
      The corn farmers thank you.

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

  • icon
    silverscarcat (profile), 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:10pm

    For some reason...

    If you scroll through the snippet of the court up there, it looks like Court and Lutz, that is, a combination of Lionel Huntz's first and last names from the Simpsons.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:23pm

    For all the bs, court time and such these guys are only going to get in trouble for frauding the court.

    Why the hell not for frauding, stealing (or should that be Steeleing?), and harassing the public?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:26pm

    When I am having a bad day, I just look up Prenda and it always produces a big broad smile on my face.
    Oh Prenda, those who say you do nothing good, fail to see the joy you create for others... when loosing bad in court.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:45pm

    So lays to rest the great heroes of out_of_the_asscrack, insisting that they are an anomaly, and not a modus operandi.

    The understanding bystanders thus refused to even spit in their general direction.

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

  • identicon
    Raul, 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:51pm

    The circus continues. Judge Wright has invited both Gibbs and the attorney for some putative plaintiffs, Morgan Pietz, to file Supplemental Declarations today. I promise they will be VERY interesting. Not yet filed last time I checked PACER.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:53pm

    It's just impossible to mock you enough, Mike.

    Yet I soldier on.



    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up at same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Prenda Law! A staple in the "At The Bench" series. Mike sez (short version): "Wow. Wow. Wow. ... The story is gripping."
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130303/23353022182/prenda-law-sues-critics-defamation .shtml

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 5:55pm

      Re: It's just impossible to mock you enough, Mike.

      This is mocking? This doesn't even pass the laugh test to be a laugh test.

      You're just mad that this is the best excuse your copyright heroes can come up with for a trump card.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 8:13pm

      Re: It's just impossible to mock you enough, Mike.

      No! You drivel on!
      Incessantly and inanely - did I mention lamely?

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

    • identicon
      Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), 4 Mar 2013 @ 8:55pm

      Re: It's just impossible to mock you enough, Mike.

      And here it is, ladies and gentlemen: the default response when even OOTB can't find something to rant and rave about in a TechDirt post to ever-so-briefly quell his boundless hatred for Mike.

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 5 Mar 2013 @ 6:09am

      Re: It's just impossible to get laughed at enough, Mike.

      What was that you said? Can't hear you very well. See clarified subject line.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2013 @ 6:18am

      Re: It's just impossible to mock you enough, Mike.

      You are a worthless excuse of troll.

      I remember when trolls tried on this website. It was stuff that you can laugh about. It was interesting thought experiments in insanity.

      This though! This lousy excuse of crap has put you on par with Nigerian prince emails.

      Have some god damn pride in your trolling and rub a couple brain cells together!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 5:02pm

    Sometimes I like to think that they're just trying to cover every possible angle of trolling so when the precedent is set it'll be impossible for any company to troll any more.
    You see, they're actually doing us all a huge favor!

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Mar 2013 @ 5:18pm

    New plan seems to be get people to OD on popcorn.
    All that salt and butter is bad and maybe we'll just drop dead and stop laughing.

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

  • identicon
    Ken, 4 Mar 2013 @ 6:01pm

    Hmmmmm......

    Well, my schedule seems to be clear next Monday at 1:30. Perhaps I will walk over to court and observe.

    Judge Wright is not one to trifle with.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 6:12pm

    Bawk, bawk, bawk, Chicken Mike!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 6:55pm

      Re:

      Please elaborate for us - what merits to copyright exist in this case?

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

    • identicon
      Karl, 4 Mar 2013 @ 9:26pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

      Oh, goody. You're resorting to trolling the comments on every article, relevant or not.

      You truly are a child.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2013 @ 10:21pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

        Shhh. He just wants Masnick to wipe the floor with his ass when Masnick, finally pissed and frustrated, begins acting like a leader as was whiningly requested.

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

        • icon
          Karl (profile), 4 Mar 2013 @ 10:36pm

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

          He just wants Masnick to wipe the floor with his ass

          I care not one whit about his floor-vs-ass fetishes. To each his own; even perverts need release.

          But, dear A.C., please don't "release" all over our faces. Please limit your response (a.k.a. "substantive debate") to the subject matter at hand. (So to speak.)

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

          • icon
            Karl (profile), 4 Mar 2013 @ 11:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

            By the way. I just revisited my comments from RTQO YYEARS ago, and I remembered my first post here.
            http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110121/16003912772/karls-favorite-techdirt-posts-week.shtm l#comments

            As time passes, it seems like I've been right, and you've been wrong. Whenever I've made a prediction about any case that has been decided in court, I've been on the side of the law - and you haven't.

            Perhaps you should demand a refund of the money you've been paying to your college. Just sayin'.

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

            • identicon
              Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), 5 Mar 2013 @ 12:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

              Now that'd be an interesting read: compile a collection of all the times you've argued with him and the eventual outcome of what you were arguing about.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2013 @ 2:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

              Huh. You'd think that average_joe had the ability to act civil. Clearly he chooses not to on more than multiple occasions.

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

              • icon
                Alana (profile), 5 Mar 2013 @ 2:35pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

                Why do you think he choses to comment anonymously despite having an account?

                When he's actually trying, he wants to come off as "reasonable" to those who look at his posting history, and not a dickmunching shithole.

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

                • icon
                  Alana (profile), 5 Mar 2013 @ 2:35pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

                  (Note: Accidental homophobia in above post unintentional. =w=)

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 5 Mar 2013 @ 5:35pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

                    Nothing homophobic about that - even girls can be dickmunchers and shitholes at the same time. The term merely means someone who is submissive to a particular individual or group and is purposefully abrasive to everyone else.

                    Or I could just be reading too much into this.

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

                    • icon
                      Alana (profile), 5 Mar 2013 @ 6:28pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 4th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

                      Well, yeah. It just came off that way when I re-read it. Just trying to be creative with my swearing. :P

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

  • icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 4 Mar 2013 @ 10:36pm

    As directed by the judge, Morgan Pietz filed his last (before the hearing) brief in support of sanctions. Exhibits are pretty interesting.

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

  • icon
    special-interesting (profile), 5 Mar 2013 @ 12:02am

    This should have an excellent chilling effect on the many legal antics of the copyright industry.

    Some jail time should send shivers down an **AA executive who have basically lied every time they submitted statistics and outright faulty research.

    Theres been a run on popcorn n butter. The local store is out. I may be in a panic soon.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Mar 2013 @ 5:30pm

    HOLY SHIT...

    http://dietrolldie.com/2013/03/06/guess-who-is-comming-to-dinner-on-11-march-2013-judge-wright-wants -a-troll-feast-212-cv-08333/

    DTD just dropped this little bit of knowledge...

    OK. I will make this short and sweet!Judge Wright has ordered the following personnel to be present at the 11 Mar 13, hearing.

    John Steele, of Steele Hansmeier PLLC and/or Livewire Holdings
    Paul Hansmeier, of Steele Hansmeier PLLC and/or Livewire Holdings LLC
    Paul Duffy, of Prenda Law, Inc.
    Angela Van Den Hemel, of Prenda Law, Inc.
    Mark Lutz, CEO of AF Holdings LLC and Ingenuity 13 LLC
    Alan Cooper, of AF Holdings LLC
    Peter Hansemeier of 6881 Forensics, LLC
    Alan Cooper, of 2170 Highway 47 North, Isle, MN 56342.

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


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