Yet Another Prenda Gambit Fails: Judge Agrees To Sanctions Against Paul Duffy Over Bogus Defamation Lawsuit

from the oops dept

Remember back when Prenda sued everyone for defamation? The lawsuit targeted Alan Cooper (whose name multiple courts have now said Prenda forged) and his lawyer, Paul Godfread (while insisting the lawsuit was unrelated to the lawsuits Cooper brought against them), but also went after a bunch of blog commenters for anonymous comments they claimed were defamatory. Prenda even tried to subpoena Automattic (makers of Wordpress) to get the IP address of pretty much everyone who visited either fightcopyrighttrolls.com or dietrolldie.com. That subpoena failed. As did the lawsuit. Badly.

The judge has now approved Godfread and Cooper's request for sanctions against Prenda and Paul Duffy (who claims to be the sole lawyer behind Prenda, which has now been "dissolved").
U.S. District Judge John Darrah at a brief status hearing today granted the motion for sanctions that defendants Paul Godfread and Alan Cooper filed this past fall against Prenda and Paul Duffy, who served as the firm’s sole officer before it dissolved and now serves as its attorney in the matter.
There's still some effort to go, as the lawyers for Godfread and Cooper, Erin Russell and Jason Sweet (whose names you may recognize for other work they've done bringing down Prenda) have to submit an itemized fee list, followed by Duffy's response, and then the follow up response from Russell/Sweet. A hearing will then be held in June, meaning there's still plenty of time. However, it looks like another lump sum will be added to Prenda's large and growing tab.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Arsik Vek (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 1:11pm

    So.. more fees for Team Prenda not to pay?

     

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

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 1:49pm

    Thanks! Been missing hooting THIS mania in particular!

    Yot, just when I thought the long and pointless string of Prenda items was at long last over, here it is again.

    ZOMG! Yet another item on Prenda Law! A staple in the soporific "At The Bench" series. Mike sez (short version): "Wow. Wow. Wow. ... The story is gripping."
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130303/23353022182/prenda-law-sues-critics-defamation.s html

    You've found the site of Internet Quipper Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick! -- As you'll frequently be reminded!

    09:49:34[k-402-7]

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 1:49pm

    And the Prendapocalypse continues

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Re:

    Pretty much.

    More sanctions and legal fees are nice on paper, but as long as there continues to be zero penalty for them refusing to actually, you know, pay those sanctions, it's really nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

    Ah the perks of getting high court treatment...

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 2:06pm

    This is the sixth sanction against Prenda parties. So far...

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    BSD32x (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 2:08pm

    Re:

    You do make a good point, in that ultimately the tragedy of this is that Prenda doesn't have a real client to go after for damages (since they are the client). Hopefully we'll be reading about Malibu Media and the copyright holders of The Company You Keep, Elf Man, etc. being on the losing end of some of these since they have (I think anyway) much more easily verified and seized property/income.

    I still think it's good that Mike does these stories though, because Prenda would like nothing more than for this to go away and all three of its principles to take up their next scam a few years down the line. It's also worth remembering that only the Federal stuff is publicly available, so their could very well be a ton of ADA suits and the like we just don't know about ongoing, they're far from dead. It seems like it's mainly Steele's name that has crossed over into mainstream, non-tech knowledge, keeping Duffy and Hansmeier up in the Google searches may just tip off someone on the other end of an ADA or Class Action Objector case.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 2:21pm

    Has Duffy stated in official court documents that he was the sole attorney behind Prenda, or is this just something that Prenda is randomly claiming without backing it up?

    If Duffy has stated it officially, could they not seize Duffy's assets to pay the judgment?

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 2:35pm

    Re:

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:04pm

    so much about a handbag company..

    At least they got their name in a movie....

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    just me, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re:

    Ianal, but since ADA is a federal law, wouldn't any lawsuits have to be federal?

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    BSD32x (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You may be right about that, but I seem to recall reading that wasn't the case (maybe that was in relationship to the class action objector stuff though). IANAL as well, I'll see if I can't find the article I'm thinking of or maybe someone more qualified can weigh in.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    BSD32x (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Okay, looked it up. "Once again, all of these lawsuits that Hansmeier gets involved in seem to show a fairly similar pattern, looking for scenarios where it will almost always be less of a hassle to just pay off Hansmeier to go away than to challenge the (often questionable) legal claims in court. It's unclear how many of these ADA lawsuits Hansmeier has filed. There are only two in federal court, where they're easy to find, but the latest one was actually filed in Minnesota state court, and was then removed to federal court. For all we know there could be more in Minnesota state court, which are harder to find out about. Either way, Hansmeier really seems like the kind of person who gives lawyers such a bad reputation."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131102/23512525109/team-prendas-paul-hansmeier-now-su ing-companies-over-supposed-ada-violations.shtml

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 5:03pm

    out_of_the_blue and Just Sayin' loathe it when due process is enforced.

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 5:51pm

    And then they got an extension for filing the appeal from the Wright case...
    sigh...
    wheels of justice... soooo slow

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Too Slow!!, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 7:52pm

    WTF?!?

    When are the prison doors going to swing shut on all these Prenda assholes? Steele, Duffy, Hansmeier & Lutz should have started serving hard time by now!! Why are these clowns not eating stale food from shiny metal prison trays already???

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Lurker Keith, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 8:34pm

    Funny thing...

    I was thinking the other day "shouldn't we be hearing something about Prenda soon".

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 8:40pm

    Re: WTF?!?

    The problem is they're lawyers, they know all the spots to throw sand in the gears to slow things down, and it means that any judgements against them has to be ironclad, otherwise they'll just wiggle out of them, something the judges know, which means they have to be careful to be as 'fair and impartial' as possible, even when that means giving team Prenda far more leeway than any regular person would get.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    bobby b, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 9:21pm

    Judgment-proof? Or, not . . .

    Duffy likely has some form of professional liability coverage in his insurance. (I say "likely" only because more attorneys have it than not.)

    So, if he does have such coverage, and if he can convince his new judgment-creditors that their only chance of being paid lies somewhere within that policy . . . well, watch for some quiet settlement agreements wherein everyone now agrees that he was ordered to pay those fees because of some act of negligence on his part that made it necessary that the Awardees retain and pay lawyers.

    Which will then be presented to his insurer by the Insured Duffy, with his request that the company make good on their contract for insurance and pay the awards for him.

    Which will result in screams of outrage and vows of battling to the death, etc., and frantic flightloads of insurance managerial types from their home offices out to whichever regional place it was in which Duffy bought his insurance.

    And when the dust settles, his insurer will pay out an agreed-upon 73% of the policy limit (ymmv), which will go to the Awardees based upon what they've been awarded by the judges.

    Or not . . .

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 9:58pm

    jail please

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 12:33am

    Re: WTF?!?

    The wheels grind slowly, but for big governments, they do grind. We won't see anything most likely for a good 12-18 months, then they'll be hit hard.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    David, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re:

    I still think it's good that Mike does these stories though, because Prenda would like nothing more than for this to go away and all three of its principles to take up their next scam a few years down the line.

    I don't think they even have three principles. Their first one would likely be "grab all you can", the second "lie when you can". But those two are already subsumed under the governing "whatever you can get away with" principle.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think he meant to say "principals" instead of "principles".

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    BSD32x (profile), Jan 25th, 2014 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is what I get for posting from my phone and using autocomplete.

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jan 25th, 2014 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: WTF?!?

    You make it sound as though they are the best lawyers on the planet and no other lawyer can do for a client what these ones can do for themselves.

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 25th, 2014 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: WTF?!?

    Good lawyers? Not hardly, the problem is that as lawyers they know a whole bunch of little tricks, loopholes, and other things they can use to try and get out, or delay, punishment for their actions, and the thing is even if the judge knows full well what Prenda is doing, they still have to go along with it, or risk having their ruling(s) overturned by another court due to a technicality.

    Not having to worry about such trifles as 'professional ethics(or any other sort)' certainly helps out too.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2014 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Judgment-proof? Or, not . . .

    I'd rather the insurance didn't pay out to be honest.
    What Duffy did was maliciously stupid and wouldn't be covered by ANY reasonable insurance policy.

    Also because of the type of case, the Duffster couldn't even go bankrupt to cancel the debts :) yay! on the hook FOR LIFE!

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Haha, Jan 28th, 2014 @ 2:20am

    Re:

    I know his wife made a comment on facebook alluding to this beimg the case.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Ha, Feb 3rd, 2014 @ 7:50am

    Does Mark Lutz have a relative named Yuliya Lutz? Based on her Facebook post, it looks like Yuliya is a friend of Shari's.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 5:14am

    Shouldn't this be tagged with 'prenda' as well? I've been following the prenda news via https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?company=prenda and was rather surprised when this wasn't on the list.

    Or am I doing something wrong (that is, is there some other way to track all the articles relating to prenda that would've included this one)?

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Haha, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 5:56pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 24th, 2014 @ 2:21pm

    Duffy has no assets. The house is in foreclosure. His wife is too lazy to get a job, any job. They have been staying in lots of hotels in the burbs which is weird

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This