Team Prenda Slammed Again, Found In Contempt; Judge Blasts Their Attempts To Plead Poverty

from the nice-try,-guys dept

It's been a little while since we had a Team Prenda update, but suffice it to say, judges still don't seem to be buying their brand of bullshit, even as they get more and more desperate. The latest is the followup in the Lightspeed case in which Team Prenda made the incredibly poorly thought-out move of dragging Comcast and AT&T into the proceedings. Not only did Judge Patrick Murphy find that Team Prenda flat out lied to the court, he hit them with an order to pay $261,025.11 in attorneys' fees for wasting everyone's time.

Team Prenda has been avoiding paying that ever since. There was an amusing hearing back in February in which they weakly sought to justify the non-payment, first quibbling with Judge David Herndon that the original order to pay up was a "money judgment" rather than an order, in the belief that this would give them more flexibility in paying. That ridiculous argument was more or less dismissed out of hand by Judge Herndon quickly. Following that, John Steele and Paul Hansmeier specifically tried to plead poverty, arguing that they simply couldn't pay the amount. Judge Herndon said, effectively, okay: prove it. And while they filed documents that attempt to prove that, Judge Herndon is not buying it at all. In a ruling earlier this week finding Paul Duffy, John Steele and Paul Hansmeier in contempt, Herndon noted that even in filing financial statements, it appeared they were trying to deceive the court:
In the case where there has been no attempt to comply with the Court's order, plaintiff's counsel must show a "complete inability to pay." ... Plaintiff's counsel, "stated differently, . . . [has] the burden of establishing clearly, plainly, and unmistakably that compliance is impossible." ....

The Court finds that plaintiff's counsel has not met its burden. They submitted incomplete, and to say the least suspicious, statements of financial condition. Attached to each statement was a letter from their certified public accountant ("CPA"). In these letters, the CPA indicates a departure from generally accepted accounting principles. He further notes that plaintiff's counsel elected to omit substantially all of the disclosures required by generally accepted accounting principles. The Court finds these statements insufficient to establish plaintiff's counsel's inability to pay.
Given all that, he notes that Team Prenda "significantly violated an unambiguous order of the Court" and has tacked on an additional 10% to the original order, giving them until March 31st to pay up... or the amount will keep going up at $500 per attorney per day (so $1,500 more per day). After another 30 days, the amount will increase to $1,000 per attorney per day. Hansmeier is already begging for a reconsideration, but given how many times these guys have been called out for attempted deceptions in court, it seems unlikely he's going to have much luck.





Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:09pm

    How the mighty have fallen...

    From bragging about making hundreds of thousands on a yearly basis, to now desperately trying to get a court to believe that somehow all that money just 'disappeared'.

    Ah sweet schadenfreude...

    And you know what, even if they were telling the truth(which I don't believe for a second, and apparently the judge doesn't either), tough.

    They didn't care whether or not their victims could afford their extortion demands they sent out, threatening people with paying up or being dragged to court and paying even more to defend themselves, so I have zero sympathy for them receiving the same treatment.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Kronomex, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:17pm

    Can you say, "Awwww..."? You can? Then say it with me, in 3, 2, 1, "Awwww..."

     

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

  3.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:19pm

    I'd say stuff, but I am to busy laughing my ass off.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Dark Moe, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:38pm

    Question for the forum

    Assuming that contempt is the final word on this case, are they themselves required to notify their respective bars of it or is the judge more or less required to do it for them?

    And what's this comment that Steele made, trying to make it sound as though "Duffy has been cleared" in his own bar complaint. Which bar complaint was he referencing? Didn't he have more than one?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:46pm

    How comes, that after all the lies, bullshit, deception and shell games, that they haven't been thrown in jail by now?

    I really can't understand this.

     

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

  6.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:50pm

    Two reasons:

    1) High-court/low-court, and lawyers always get high-court treatment.

    2) As lawyers, they know all the little tricks and loopholes available to drag things out and avoid any real punishment as long as possible, and unless a judge is willing to risk them getting a case against them thrown out on appeal due to a technicality, they unfortunately have to play along and make sure everything's done exactly right.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:57pm

    Travel Time

    I sure hope someone has collected their passports, oh, and maybe mentioned their names (maybe even with various spellings and aliases) to certain three letter agencies.

     

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  8.  
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    Namel3ss (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    Manifest injustice?

    "Manifest injustice"? HAHAHA

    These assclowns didn't seem to give a shit about "manifest injustice" while they were extorting thousands of $$$ from hundreds of people for downloading from their honeypot they set up to entrap people. With settlement figures that, as John Steele himself said, were just less than the cost of a basic legal defense.

    If they "can't pay", then it's time for asset forfeiture. Seize their cars, houses, bank accounts, whatever. But ESPECIALLY their passports.

    Welcome to the big leagues, guys. Payback's a bitch, ain't it?

    Punk bitches. I hope they rot, first in jail, then in hell.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Frankz (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Travel Time

    Isn't that what one federal judge already did, report them to the federal bar, every state bar they belong to, the IRS, and the DOJ?

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    AC, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:22pm

    Reading this made my week, I guess there are still some great judges out there, these are the men that need to take over the USA and get it back on track.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:25pm

    As an attorney, the saddest part about this whole debacle is that none of the state or federal bars have taken action to suspend their licenses.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Lurker Keith, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re: Travel Time

    I'm pretty sure that's one of the things attributable to everyone's favorite Judge Otis Wright.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Re: Travel Time

    Actually, I was thinking no-fly list type three letter agencies.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 5:24pm

    You had to know it was coming. They tried pulling the wool over the courts for far too long and now it has come home to roost.

    Like the rest here, I have no sympathy at all. Just like they didn't when they were demanding people pay up with very questionable tactics.

    How the times have changed and a welcome change at that.

     

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

  15.  
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    No Tell-n What (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 5:34pm

    Re:

    "Stuff"

    'Nuff said.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 6:33pm

    The heroes of copyright, legends of average_joe, out_of_the_blue, bob, darryl and Just Sayin'.

    It's not a case of "how the mighty have fallen". It's a case of the idiots digging their own grave have finally managed to fall into it.

     

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

  17.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 6:49pm

    Re: How the mighty have fallen...

    Amazing how the word schadenfreude can be spelled so many ways... P-R-E-N-D-A, R-I-G-H-T-H-A-V-E-N, and so on.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 7:40pm

    Haven't the words

    This is so beautiful...

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 7:45pm

    The Prenda gang once again trying to weasel their way out of paying an order of the court. It's amazing to listen to these clowns whine and plead poverty.

    I wonder how Steele will fair in his poverty plea with the court when he is doing a pool, spa and deck to his Miami home... must be tough scraping by and still be able to do reno's ( A great find by SJD )

    Have a look at Steele's Notice Of Commencement permit of his renovations that were filed with Miami's Dade county: and note the date of the permit was filed on: Jan 30 2014

    http://fightcopyrighttrolls.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/steele-gets-a-new-pool-2014_redacted1.pd f

    Gee, John how are you going to explain these reno's when you are going to plead how you can't afford to pay this courts order....good luck with that.

    The Judge is smart not to believe these guys there seems to be more fiction in their filings with the court than you'd find in a Sci-fi novel.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Two reasons:

    First part of 2 is wrong. They think they know all the tricks. They aren't very bright if you ask me.

    "They submitted...Attached to each statement was a letter from their certified public accountant (““CPA””). In these letters, the CPA indicates a departure from generally accepted accounting principles. He further notes that plaintiff’’s counsel elected to omit substantially all of the disclosures required by generally accepted accounting principles."

    The CPA attached a letter saying it was a bogus financial statement and they still submitted it. They are so fucking smart that they are stupid.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 9:07pm

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 9:38pm

    Caught once again in their own web. To be sure, someone who knows Judge Murphy is going to make sure he is aware of these acts of the impoverished.

    I would not like to be part of this Pretenda team should they have to revisit the courtroom of this judge once again on lack of satisfying the court's ruling.

    In my opinion, the smartest thing Prenda could do is pay the bill and get out of this judge's observation range before it really gets serious.

     

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  23.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 11:26pm

    Re: Re: Two reasons:

    >>>First part of 2 is wrong. They think they know all the tricks. They aren't very bright if you ask me.


    This!!! a thousand times this!


    Though they now have by submitting that CPA attached letter of non-endorsement on their own case ammunition in any mental competency hearing that they will probably plead next. Ah to be a fly on the wall in the judge's chambers if that sort of gem of a defense ever gets submitted.

     

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  24.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 11:33pm

    Re:

    Maybe the debacle has gotten to the point where letting them 'practice' (and I use that word very loosely in context with the Prenda attorneys) is doing the work for them since they would be, I'm guessing based on my own jurisdictions policies (not USA), teetering on criminality situations now.

    Also it's gotten to the point that it will be a HUGE PR disaster for any bars since the question will be now asked by a huge amount of areas (main stream media is but one) of "WHY THE HELL DID IT TAKE THIS LONG". So maybe its a matter of "if we do nothing they will hang themselves for us"

     

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  25.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 11:38pm

    Re:

    Jeez! he's just destroyed any way of claiming the property isn't his either, well up to the date of that notice anyway.

    Good one John *facepalm*

     

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

  26.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 5:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Two reasons:

    i would not doubt they had no money left, sounds like it all went up their noses, to me...

     

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

  27.  
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    scotts13 (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 5:57am

    Re: Two reasons:

    "2) As lawyers, they know all the little tricks and loopholes available to drag things out and avoid any real punishment as long as possible, and unless a judge is willing to risk them getting a case against them thrown out on appeal due to a technicality, they unfortunately have to play along and make sure everything's done exactly right."

    Ever try to sue a lawyer? I once had one flat-out refuse to pay for IT services done. It seemed pretty clear, I had the order for the work to be done, approving the price, and the guys signature, saying I had successfully finished it. When it came time to pay, he didn't want to, with all sorts of trivial complaints down to "disrupted office workflow by moving items on the secretary's desk."

    Seemed open and shut, but three years later, MY legal expenses had exceeded the receivable from continuances, changes in venue, a judge recusing himself, etc. Worked the system and called in favors until I couldn't continue.

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: Two reasons:

    Sounds like he and your lawyer are golfing buddies.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2014 @ 11:22am

    Re:

    The heroes of copyright, legends of average_joe, out_of_the_blue, bob, darryl and Just Sayin'.

    It's not a case of "how the mighty have fallen". It's a case of the idiots digging their own grave have finally managed to fall into it.


    Hi. AJ here. I couldn't care less about Prenda. It's hilarious that you think they're my heroes. Over-generalize much?

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Some pointed out that in Florida that a house was excluded from the bankruptcy filling.... so maybe he thinks he can sink all his mony in the house claim bankruptcy and walk away???

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes and no I'd say. The fact that he has a very nice house could be argued to mean nothing more than that he had, in the past, sufficient money to afford it, money that he no longer has. It would be quite the stretch to be sure, but I can see that argument being at least potentially valid in some other case.

    Now, making renovations and/or improvements of the house, at the same time as he's trying to argue that he's just barely getting by, and couldn't possibly pay the fines levied against him... yeah, that rather completely destroys the argument, as if he's got money to be improving his already swanky house, he most certainly has money to pay his court fines.

     

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

  32.  
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    Ole Juul (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: Two reasons:

    I think the expression is "too clever by half".

     

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

  33. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    My Name Here, Mar 29th, 2014 @ 4:58pm

    What a sham. This is what passes off for news in Techdirt? It's posts like this that make it hard to take Techdirt seriously.

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Two reasons:

    how bright can they be?
    A bunch of nobody's from the internet laid waste to their ability to terrorize people and pointed people where the bodies were buried.
    Then they sued the nobodys, and made our claims get way more attention... and we weren't making it up or embellishing (well not to much, still think he is a manniguin.)

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 6:51pm

    Re:

    You know, it would save a lot of time if you just went with 'Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain', or even just 'Look over there, a distraction!'

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Two reasons:

    Thank-you!

    I don't usually swear in my posts. I had hoped for added emphasis, not a detractor. I am old enough to know better than that though.

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Two reasons:

    You aren't a nobody.

    At the very least, you will always be remembered for putting a TAC-k in their coffin(too TAC-ky?).

     

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

  38.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 8:46pm

    Re:

    Follow the story on the television or newspaper then. They don't bother wasting your time following up what they have reported.

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 29th, 2014 @ 9:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Two reasons:

    I'd say it's the difference between intelligence and wisdom. They know the tricks, it's just their arrogance and ego's get in the way of getting the most out of them, not to mention screwing them over when they do try and use them, like in this instance when they apparently didn't check to make sure the guy working on their financial papers was as corrupt/incompetent as them.

    It also doesn't help that it's apparently almost impossible to stop a lawyer on a rampage as long as they file the right papers and know the right phrases, with the fact that they are still 'practicing', rather than behind bars, as evidence of this.

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Mar 30th, 2014 @ 12:52am

    Re:

    What a sham[e]. This is what passes off for anonymous trolling in Techdirt? It's posts like this that make it hard to take the art of trolling seriously anymore.

    There Fixed it for ya

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2014 @ 1:40am

    Re:

    horse with no name/Just Sayin' just hates it when due process is enforced.

    You can keep swapping the names, but we all know it's the idiot from Hong Kong.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2014 @ 3:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Two reasons:

    Paul and Shari Duffy have no money. They have had properties foreclosed on.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2014 @ 4:10am

    I guess they just ordered their CPA to lie and make the bogus statements, and he then said to himself "Alright I'll do this, but I will amend this with my explanation so I can't be held liable for this cluster f-".

    If team prenda was really clever they would already have found some strawmen to put their belongings into. Family, associates or freshly created aliasses and trusts.

    I would claim total poverty and pretend to live in a barrel and all current belongings (clothes, cars, rolexes) would just by on loan provided by some charitable persons/trusts.

    The reno on the house seems plainly stupid, as if what happens in one state is the same as if it is another country with a different judicial system and no communication.

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 31st, 2014 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Two reasons:

    But in the grand scheme of things I am a nobody.
    I am merely a nym, born to give a voice and hope to others.
    I worked with the other nobodys - born of frustration, victimization, terror, fear - to try and change what was wrong.

    I don't use the term nobody's to downplay what the community accomplished, just that we were supposed to be the powerless.

    We could throw a party, and none of us would know each other.
    We could walk past the important players in all of this, and we are just faces passing by.
    Being a nobody has let me deflect a bunch of the standard attack the messenger gimmicks.

    Remember that next time someone tells you the problem is to big for anybody to solve, sometimes it doesn't take anybody - it takes nobody to fix it.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2014 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Re:

    No one's going to believe the clucking of a barnyard impersonator.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 6:24am

    Re:

    average_joe just loathes it when copyright law is enforced.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 4:58am

    Re: Re:

    You're right. Your heroes are probably clawing the ground and pecking at worms or something.

     

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


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