Another Judge Figures Out What Prenda Is Up To, Reopens Closed Case, Demands Information On Settlements

from the well,-look-at-that dept

It would appear that yet another federal judge has taken an interest in what Prenda Law was up to for the past few years. Over in Minnesota, US Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel has reopened a case that Prenda had dismissed and ordered Prenda's local counsel, Michael Dugas, to supply an awful lot of information about the settlements they collected from people during the shakedown. The court points out:
In light of Mr.Cooper's letter and Judge Wright's order, it appears to the Court that the plaintiff has relied on forged documents in securing multiple court orders authorizing the discovery of information that, in turn, led to settlements in the above-captioned cases.
Because of that, it's reopening the case:
The Court agrees with the reasoning of Pino and concludes--based on its own interpretation of Rule 60(b)(3) and Rule 60(d)(3)--that it has jurisdiction to strike a plaintiff's notice of voluntary dismissal, reopen the case, and award appropriate relief when allegations of a possible fraud on the court come to its attention. This interpretation of Rule 60 is necessary to preserve the integrity the of judicial system.

All three elements of the Pino test are met here: (1) the plaintiff attached a fraudulent document to the complaint; (2) the Court relied upon that document in authorizing the discovery of internet subscriber information--information the plaintiff was not entitled to receive absent a court order; and (3) after obtaining the discovery (which--at least as far as the Court is aware--is the only relief the plaintiff ever seeks in these cases), the plaintiff settled and voluntarily dismissed all of these cases.
Given that, the court has ordered Dugas to supply the details of everyone in the case who settled, including their contact info, their attorneys' contact info, the exact terms of the settlement agreements, "including to whom any money was paid and the manner of payment" while also saying that Dugas needs to supply all of those who settled (and their attorneys) with Judge Wright's order in California describing Prenda's scheme. Given the identifying info, this will be filed under seal, but Dugas has only five days to do so. Either way, it seems that more and more judges are aware of what happened, and they're even going back into old cases to explore...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 1:28pm

    I hope

    all the other shakedown trolls are paying attention.

     

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    Nigel (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    I get rehab worthy enjoyment from anything prenda smackdown related. At the end of the day i would like to see penniless and jailed for the lot of them. Its fucking extortion.

    Nigel

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 1:55pm

    Ahhhemmmmm....

    .


    Precisely -when- do the various State's Attorneys General get involved and start criminal racketeering and fraud investigations against Pr(et)enda over this scheme?

    Seems to me that some search warrants are long overdue here.


    .

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:39pm

      Re: Ahhhemmmmm....

      This is a good point. So far I've only seen judges going after Prenda, where are the DAs, attorney generals, and prosecutors?

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:45pm

      Re: Ahhhemmmmm....

      When they are done grandstanding about Craigslist and other things on the internet that are well outside of the scope of their office.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 10:30pm

      Re: Ahhhemmmmm....

      Yeah, but they're too busy to care about one tiny little misdemeanor some guys in Florida made. They've got to shut down Google before it's too late!

       

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    Anonymous Monkey (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 1:55pm

    Kaboom!

    This is going nuclear! o_o

     

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    Glen, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    With all the news of how corrupt the Feds are, it's really is refreshing to have some Prenda news. It is almost like a vacation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 2:10pm

    what a shame that judges still seem to think that the same measures, when used by the entertainment industries and their various 'aids' are perfectly fine. they are doing the exact same shakedown operation that Prenda and others were/are/will be doing! perhaps if Prenda had 'oiled the correct palms' they would have been able to carry on unscathed?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 2:25pm

    Poor defendants...

    I'm sure most of the defendants who were identified during the discovery would rather *not* have their names released to the court - but sadly, they chose to settle with criminals in this case.

    It's important to contact them and figure out how badly Prenda has been abusing this discovery process.

    I just hope Prenda receives some serious punishment when the full extent of their extortion is revealed.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 2:45pm

      Re: Poor defendants...

      It's not quite as bad as that, given all the information on all those people, the info would be filed under seal, so it wouldn't be public in any way(unlike what Prenda likely was threatening them with to get the settlements).

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:48pm

      Re: Poor defendants...

      The court would have to provide each of them with protection from Prenda. 99.99999998% of all settlement agreements in these cases have NDA's with all sorts of bad things if they reveal anything.

      There is no discovery, its is letters, robocalls, calls, emails with mentions of the news making the papers, or neighbors finding out...

      One can only hope one of them still has all of those records to share with the court so that courts finally have "proof" enough of the bad acts.

       

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        Spectator Sam (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 6:26am

        Re: Re: Poor defendants...

        I believe that the fraudulent nature of the filing would negate the NDA in these cases. If push came to shove the court would side with the individuals, after all, the only reason the trolls obtained their personal information was because the troll lied to a court in order to show they did something illegal. Prenda may argue that the "Alan Cooper" signature was not significant nor required to be on the declaration but by submitting it to the court they still represented a fraudulent document.

        The fraud is not in the signature but in the submission of a document with a signature that they knew to be false.

         

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          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 11:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: Poor defendants...

          The concern needs to be for the Does.

          They have already had the nightmare of Pretenda on the attack against them, they settled to make it stop and protect themselves, and a "mistake" in filing a supposed to be sealed document (amazingly finding an emergency number for a court clerk is really hard... Why yes, this stunts happened before) can devastate these people to a degree more than the empty coffers of the empty shell can compensate.

          The court could also ask questions about sharkMP4, the statements of 6881, the "expert" certification, the mythical magical super software that is never wrong unless the press asks to many questions.

          Hell I'd be happy if someone in power finally seized the property rather than allowing them months to clean up the records of their actions. But then the 'Wheels of Justice' seem to move slowest against its own parts.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 2:43pm

    Time for Prenda to don the tap dancing shoes once again. Tappity Tappity tap tap

     

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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    Postulated

    The Prendanistas will file an emergency pleading asserting AF Holdings had no direct contact with Does inasmuch as AFH uses a third-party collection company to handle initial dunning calls. This unnamed company is run by Mark Lutz, who is not the same Mark Lutz who controls the trust behind AFH. Mark Lutz (but not THE Mark Lutz) will be the next person tossed under the bus.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 2:49pm

      Re: Postulated

      No no, didn't you get the memo, Cooper, not Lutz is the one in charge. Cooper is always the one in charge, and ultimately responsible for everything.

       

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      Ganhei Uma Prenda, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 2:36am

      Re: Postulated

      No, no, no... you got it all wrong. The trust behind AFH is not controlled by Mark Lutz, but by the Marklutz trust which was set up with Alan Cooper's imaginary parakeet as sole beneficiary. The confusion is normal, though, so don't feel too bad about it.

       

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    sharp as a marble, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    he won't provide jack squat. he will claim he is no longer with the plaintiff and has no access to anything, or will delay some other way.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:51pm

      Re:

      and that crumpling sound you hear is his bar card.
      He worked a case and has no records of it... seems like that isn't how the system is supposed to work.
      He doesn't know who settled with his client... huh so who spoke with the Does and why were you unaware of the legal negotiations in a case with your name on it sir?

       

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    Digitari, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 3:43pm

    Re:

    Anyone else imagine an empty office with a phone ringing???

     

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    Baron von Robber, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 3:43pm

    Do you hear that Prenda?

    That is the sound of.....inevitablity

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    John Steele and average_joe just hate it when due process is enforced.

     

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    Anon E. Mous (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:55pm

    While I like that this Magistrate Judge has smelled the stench coming Prenda's various cases, Prenda and Steele are going to appeal or not comply with the Magistrate Judges order.

    More courts are becoming aware after Judge Wright's ruling how Prenda lawsuits are not really about suing anyone but more of a shakedown to collect settlements.

    This will be another case of a lawyer Prenda hired thru Craiglist to be on the hook for Steele, Duffy and Hansmeier's misdeeds.

    Prenda I doubt will turn this information over to Dugas, they will more than likely try and delay turning this over or they will file to try and stay this Magistrate Judge order.

    Can you imagine if Prenda let this stand and turned over the information. Steele would be quaking in his shoes that an avalanche effect might start and there is no way they are going to want to give people they made pay a settlement their money back.

    Steele, Duffy and Hansmeier not only have to deal with this but they are still on Judge Wright's radar and still have Judge Snow's questions to answer in the AZ case and also have to deal with Mr.Harris who is being a thorn in their side since they made him a target in their lawsuit in AZ case.

    It will be interesting to see how they handle all the collateral damage they are receiving since Judge Wrights order.

    It will be interesting to watch what unfolds with their new cases under their latest re-incarnation that they have been filing, I would bet Lawerys for the clients being sued will quite pleased to inform the Judge of Prenda's past.

     

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      Lurker Keith, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 3:14am

      Re:

      Start an avalanche effect? No, no. It seems you haven't been paying enough attention. Judge Wright already started the "avalanche effect", as you put it. Now we're just waiting for what you described to come to pass... & that will be more of a total cascade failure.

      An avalanche can start slow, & end up mighty destructive in a limited area.

      However, a total cascade failure also starts slow (usually w/ a single node), but as each part of the system fails, the damage becomes worse & worse, w/ the next failure more damaging than the previous, until the entire system collapses.

      As more judges become wise to the scam, look into it & require sanctions, they'll draw the attention of even more judges, some of whom will require more sanctions, & they'll draw even more attention, w/ a larger number of judges sanctioning (& w/ prior findings & sanctions, those multiple additional sanctions could be larger), & so on. Eventually, enough judges will be aware that the scam will collapse on itself, not only making the scam unworkable, but unsustainable as the sanctions pile up. Hopefully, this collapse will include jail time & refunds.

       

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 12:12am

    the smell of burning paper

    Your honor, my client informs me they cannot, unfortunately produce such records. Apparently all records were turned over to Salt Marsh. [communicated as the smell of burning paper wafts across the offices of Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy...]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 8:45pm

    The wheels of justice slowly grind forward, but at least they are grinding... =P

     

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