Team Prenda May Be In Even More Trouble In Reopened Case
from the and-out-come-the-tricks dept
We hadn't checked in since then, but Team Prenda has been scrambling since then -- and a hearing is happening today -- on the matter. The local attorney who had handled the original case, Michael Dugas, tried to get out of it, and hand the case over to Paul Hansmeier, with Dugas claiming that he "no longer represents" AF Holdings, but Noel wasn't going to hear that. After all, he's investigating possible fraud from the time when Dugas was on the case. So, Noel sent a simple shut up and show up response to Dugas denying his request with no explanation very quickly.
Paul Duffy also raised various objections and then tried to delay the hearing -- but Noel more or less rejected that, pointing out that Duffy in his various roles seems confused about what's going on here and what role he's supposed to be playing. That is, Duffy raised objections "pro se" -- basically as an individual representing himself -- but Noel points out that Duffy isn't actually a party to the lawsuit, Prenda Law is, and a company can't represent itself pro se. Here's Noel:
Paul Duffy filed a pro se objection to the order scheduling the case-management conferences. But the Court did not order Duffy to appear. Although Duffy purports to be “the sole principle [sic] of Prenda Law, Inc.,” he has not entered an appearance on behalf of the corporation. A corporation cannot appear pro se; it must be represented by counsel.... Duffy is an attorney, but he has not been admitted to practice before this Court. He has not sought to be admitted pro hac vice or by special permission of the court...Given all this, he completely dumps Duffy's pro se objections, striking them from the record, orders Duffy to show up anyway (by phone) as a representative of Prenda, and (of course) denies the attempt to postpone things.
And, finally, on Friday, Paul Hansmeier sent a letter rather than a formal filing to Judge Noel (officially coming from Hansmeier's sketchy class action lawsuit objection operation, "Class Justice"), flat-out whining about a letter that another lawyer had sent to the judge, highlighting many of Team Prenda's more questionable activities. There's a funny part in which Hansmeier -- who Judge Wright and others have clearly noted were part of the Team Prenda efforts -- complains that "Prenda" is entirely different and it's unfair to lump them together.
However, he does note that (as per the original order), the judge has been given all of the settlement communications between the various John Does -- and even suggests that the court should unseal them to show that the "'shakedown' narrative is a canard." And says that other courts "would benefit from learning how disingenuous the 'shakedown' narrative truly is." Of course, he doesn't mention anything about Alan Cooper or who actually signed the documents. And since that's a big part of this.... Either way, we'll see if Judge Noel agrees with Hansmeier soon -- but his actions to date certainly suggest that he's seen enough to recognize that something very, very questionable happened via his court.