Court Says Team Prenda 'Flat-Out Lied' To Court; Hits Them With $261k More In Attorneys' Fees To Pay Up
from the boom dept
Southern District of Illinois Judge Patrick Murphy is having none of that. In a scathing opinion he rips to shreds the arguments of Duffy, Hansmeier and Steele. Beyond noting the basic procedural deficiencies in their own filings (once again, they don't seem to actually understand the law and just fling as much shit at the wall as possible, and the judge clearly recognizes this), he also appears to be well aware of the larger scam Team Prenda has been pulling. There's a long discussion about the claim that Hansmeier and Steele weren't properly served, in which the judge makes it clear this is simply beyond belief. Here's just a snippet of a much longer discussion:
First and foremost, Steele’s claim that he never got notice of Smith’s motion for fees is baseless. A review of CM/ECF records reveals that notice of Smith’s motion for attorney fees (Doc. 61) went to numerous email addresses, including: firstname.lastname@example.org—an email address used by both Steele and Paul Duffy. Therefore, it is irrefutable that Steele had actual notice of Smith’s motion for attorney fees prior to the Court’s order granting the motion.The judge also points out the tremendous evidence that Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy are working quite closely together on all of this anyway.
Aside from being from the same firm, there is other evidence suggesting these three men worked in concert with one another. First, Duffy, Steele, and Hansmeier used each other’s CM/ECF login information, and/or filed documents on behalf of one another. For example, both Steele and Hansmeier used Duffy’s CM/ECF login information to enter their appearances, or Duffy attempted to do so for them (See Doc. 11, 15); Hansmeier also used Steele’s CM/ECF login information to file his motion to continue, or Steele filed it on Hansmeier’s behalf (Doc. 73). Second, the similarities in documents filed by Duffy, Steele, and Hansmeier indicate an ongoing relationship. For example, in the instant motions to vacate/reconsider, the three men use identical formatting from the caption, to the font, and the signature block, and the substance is largely the same...Then, of course, there's the citation to the numerous other cases that have found against Team Prenda, and noted that those three are clearly in control. The judge also notes that even if they didn't have notice, they clearly had notice in time for a later hearing and still their filings did not state any actual grounds for relief. Basically, the judge points out that they absolutely knew about all of this, and he won't overturn the original decision because for all the shit they threw at the wall, none of it actually stuck.
But then the judge goes further. He calls them liars. He doesn't dance around it. He flat out calls them on it.
The Court also finds that Duffy, Hansmeier, and Steele exhibited a “serious and studied disregard for the orderly process of justice.” .... These men have shown a relentless willingness to lie to the Court on paper and in person, despite being on notice that they were facing sanctions in this Court, being sanctioned by other courts, and being referred to state and federal bars, the United States Attorney in at least two districts, one state Attorney General, and the Internal Revenue Service. For example, at the November 13 hearing, Hansmeier skirted the Court’s direct questions, Steele made feigned protestations, and both flat-out lied about their association with Prenda Law, Inc. in the face of documentary evidence on the record in this case, and their sworn declarations in other cases.In the end, the judge grants all the requests for attorneys' fees, adding yet another $261,025.11 to the rapidly increasing total from other cases. I imagine it won't end there, though it's unlikely anyone will see any of that money. Instead, we're all still waiting for the main act, when the criminal charges almost certainly arrive.