Prenda Gets Some Tiny Bit Of Good News, As It May Get Out Of Two Critical Cases

from the walking-the-tight-rope dept

It's been a busy day for Prenda news, with some trouble in Minnesota and central California. However, it may have some slightly better news in two other key cases where judges had suddenly taken a deeper interest in what exactly was going on with Prenda. First up, the Sunlust case in Florida, which was actually the first case where a judge suggested Prenda was engaged in "fraud on the court" during an Abbott & Costello-worthy hearing. That case has continued to move forward with efforts to put sanctions on the key Prenda players. The lawyer, Graham Syfert, for the defendant, Tuan Nguyen, surprised some people by dropping Brett Gibbs from the target list, after he more or less threw his bosses at Prenda under the bus. However, Syfert has surprised a few folks by filing a motion to withdraw all pending motions. Basically, they're saying "drop the case and don't seek sanctions." That has left a lot of people scratching their heads, but suggests strongly that a settlement of sorts has been reached.

Perhaps the legal experts here can fill in the specifics about this one. I believe that the judge could continue to seek sanctions from Team Prenda if she feels it's appropriate, or if something improper happened, but it seems a lot less likely that this will happen now that Nguyen/Syfert have effectively bowed out of the case. Considering how deeply interested in the specifics the judge in this case had been, this is unfortunate. Yes, we already have Judge Wright's ruling on a similar matter in California, but having other courts come to the same conclusion seems like it would be useful.

Then we have the other Prenda case in Northern California, where the judge had become curious as to who exactly had signed a form on behalf of "Salt Marsh," ordering the original document to be produced. Last week, Paul Duffy claimed ignorance and tried to throw Brett Gibbs under the bus (again). Meanwhile, former Prenda paralegal/claimed boss of AF Holdings/Ingenuity 13, Mark Lutz, suggested that he had signed "on behalf of Salt Marsh" but no longer had the original. The judge could have dug deeper on that, but apparently has decided to let it go, saying that the question about Salt Marsh was "substantially complied with" and is ending the case.
Because AF's counsel has now substantially complied with the Court's order, the Court sees no basis to continue deferring a final judgment.
That means that particular case will also be closed. So, assuming the Florida case is similarly closed, that will leave the Judge Wright ruling in Central California as the only main battleground concerning the overall nature of Prenda's antics over the past few years.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Atkray (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 9:47pm

    One can only hope that Nguyen/Syfert now have the 80k that should have been paid in Calif.

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

  2. icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 11:31pm

    Setting the bar low enough to walk over

    'Substantially complied'? All they did was point at each other and said 'he did it!' while looking confused that they could possibly know anything, and the judge considers that complying with an order to show the original signature in a potential fraud case? Talk about non-existent standards.

    Criminals must love this guy...
    Judge: 'For your actions I sentence you to 30 hours of community service.'
    Defendant: 'I helped someone mow their lawn yesterday.'
    Judge: 'Eh, close enough, you're free to go.'

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

  3. icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), May 22nd, 2013 @ 3:02am

    Re: Setting the bar low enough to walk over

    On the other hand, this might adversely affect final judgement.

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

  4. icon
    Nom du Clavier (profile), May 22nd, 2013 @ 3:24am

    Prenda Gets Some Tiny Bit Of Goo...

    Or so my tab in Firefox reads... Presently I wish unto them copious amounts of goo, so alas, I have been foiled!

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

  5. identicon
    Lucy, May 22nd, 2013 @ 3:45am

    Settlements reached or someone dug up dirt and threatened to publicly shame. Prenda tends to reach settlements through threats. These cases suddenly disappearing is strange enough to inspire curiosity rather than closure.

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

  6. identicon
    Lucy, May 22nd, 2013 @ 3:49am

    Do the sanctions start at $7,000 or $14,000 today?

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2013 @ 4:26am

    "Because AF's counsel has now substantially complied with the Court's order, the Court sees no basis to continue deferring a final judgment."

    Why break a punishment that's already perfect? I whole heartedly think that if these two judges made the decision to punish Prenda that it would have canceled out Justice Otis Wright's ruling.

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

  8. icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 22nd, 2013 @ 4:33am


    Wait, what?

    Punishment for wrongdoing in one case does not keep someone from being punished for other wrongdoing in other cases, so I fail to see how any judgements handed out by other judges would impact Wright's ruling/actions in the slightest.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2013 @ 5:23am


    80K is too little. They could have got millions. Prenda will have to pay heavily in their attempt to get out of this mess.

    Best case scenario.... (for teh lulz)
    They spend major amounts of cash, get banned from practicing law and have to pay fines/charges that exceed what assets they have.

    Individually bankrupt and banned from their profession.

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

  10. identicon
    Edward Teach, May 22nd, 2013 @ 5:55am

    Pump Out Enough Balloon Juice...

    And judges let you go, it seems. OJ Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey, and many others prove that.

    So, why do Judges let lawyers off the hook so easily? If this had been some ordinary (non-lawyer) schmoe, said schmoe would be in jail right now.

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

  11. icon
    blarf (profile), May 22nd, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Two points.

    First, with respect to Judge Scriven's ability to impose sanctions even after the underlying case is gone: Judges always retain jurisdiction to address sanctions, and she is free to do so here if she so chooses. Whether she will or not is a different question: it would be unusual, but she seemed pretty pissed off.

    Second, with respect to Judge Chen's order: Recall that his previous order (which was implemented by this order) was without prejudice to the defendant filing a motion for attorneys' fees. There may well be further proceedings there, if the defendant chooses to do so.

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

  12. identicon
    Dreddsnik, May 22nd, 2013 @ 7:05am

    Money changed hands ? It's not unthinkable for a Judge to change their mind for some green. Happens around my neck of the woods often. Keeping in mind the American way .. This is only an opinion based on speculation. I don't accuse anyone of anything.

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

  13. icon
    DieTrollDie (profile), May 22nd, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Another AF Holdings Case In AZ - Not Done Yet

    1. AF Holdings v. Harris (2:12-cv-02144) 212-cv-02144-az/ has a show cause order - dismiss case and possible sanctions.
    2. IMO Syfert was able to get Prenda to pay a good amount to make this go away - along with a non-disclosure agreement. These clowns will know stay as far away from Syfert as possible, as he has inside information on what works against them. In previous filings he made it clear he wanted to settle, but that it would cost them a good amount. I guess they decided it was the right thing to do.
    3. Until they make a bond or pay the sanctions (Judge Wright), they are screwing themselves in CA. The amount is minor in totality of what they made. By not paying it only gets worse - stupid greedy people. Who knows, maybe Lutz will feel the need to throw John Steel under the bus before John does it to him. Mark? You know you are expendable to John Steele. Time to make a deal and save your butt. Just my opinion.

    DTD :)

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

  14. icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), May 22nd, 2013 @ 7:34am

    I would have to guess in the Sunlust vs Nyugen case that Prenda et all out of fear of another round of sanctions coming their way they decided to settle rather than take another beat down.

    For those that read that brilliant Q&A between the Judge and Mark Lutz and then the Judge and Steele stammering and scrambling to try and put as much distance between himself and the Sunlust case as possible.

    There was no way they were going to want the Judge coming to a conclusion on what was really going on in this case. The judge was a little ticked at the goings on of Prenda, Duffy and Lutz.

    At the end of that hearing the Judge chastised a few of the participants of Team Prenda for what she perceived as a fraud upon the court.

    In the SF case with Judge Chen, I would have to assume that Judge Chen thought there could be some aspect of believability to Mark Lutz's claim that he signed some documents on behalf of the Salt Marsh trust with the trusts name.

    Personally I don't really buy that, I am sure they knew what they were doing, Judge Chen I am sure was skeptical as well but gave them the benefit of the doubt here.

    Judge Chen knows what is going on in the case that was before him and around the country, so he was smart enough to let this one go considering Prenda is taking on water and heading to the bottom.

    Judge Chen is aware of Judge Wright's order and his notifying the various State bars and the State & Federal AG's along with the IRS Criminal Division, so I would think he knows that is in play so while they may skate in the case before them the hurt is still coming to Team Prenda.

    This is far from over for Team Prenda. There is still the possibility of a RICO indictment to come and who cuts a deal and who gets hung out to dry.

    The fun is stopping just yet.

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

  15. icon
    Baldaur Regis (profile), May 22nd, 2013 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re:

    Male parta, male dilabuntur.

    Things ill gotten slip away in evil ways.
    Cicero, Philippica II, 44 B.C.
    My money is on...there is no more money.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Re: Setting the bar low enough to walk over

    In this case, they aren't really "pointing at each other". Mark Lutz says he signed the thing. Since the judge just wanted to know who signed it, that's probably good enough, especially for a case that's being dismissed.

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Mike Masnick is pathologically obsessed with a small news item that the rest of the world couldn't care less about.

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

  18. identicon
    AC Unknown, May 22nd, 2013 @ 10:02am


    You're pathologically obsessed with attacking Mike whenever you get the chance. Please seek help immediately.

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2013 @ 8:26pm


    average_joe can't stand it when due process is enforced.

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

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