Team Prenda May Be In Even More Trouble In Reopened Case

from the and-out-come-the-tricks dept

It would appear that more and more courts are coming to the full realization of the kinds of tricks it appears Team Prenda has been pulling over the past few years, and that means that the troubles for Team Prenda may be quickly adding up. The latest is that an old AF Holdings case in Minnesota, which had been voluntarily dismissed all the way back in October, was magically reopened back in June, as we discussed at the time. One of the interesting things we noted, was that the magistrate judge handling the case, Franklin Noel, demanded info on any settlements that Team Prenda received.

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case, Michael Dugas, tried to get out of it, and hand the case over to Paul Hansmeier, with Dugas claiming that he "no longer represents" AF Holdings, but Noel wasn't going to hear that.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.




Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: alan cooper, franklin noel, john steele, paul duffy, paul godfried, paul hansmeier
Companies: af holdings, prenda, prenda law


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 Aug 2013 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: What does this mean?

    Prenda: 'Here's the names, here's now much they paid us to settle out of court.'
    Judge: 'That's nice and all, but I'm more interested in details, such as the settlement letters you sent them, the evidence you presented to persuade them to settle, and the terms of the settlements.'
    Prenda: 'I'm afraid details like that are covered by NDA's that are part of each settlement order, and we cannot provide them to you.'
    Judge: 'Oh, but I insist...'
    (And cue panicked Prenda)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.