Prenda Law Attorneys Ask Judge Wright To Lift Order Requiring Them To Appear Monday

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104 Responses

  1. Charles says:

    Can't say I'm surprised that they hired San Diego counsel who presumably don't practice much in the Central District and aren't as concerned about their reputation in that Court (at the very least aren't as concerned as they should be).

  2. I'm not a lawyer, but this looks like classical stonewalling and delaying tactics to me. I hope that the judge rejects both the jurisdictional argument and the request for an extension.

  3. Kat says:

    You totally called it.

  4. Even without the manual/electronic filing issue, this is transparent brinksmanship and doesn't reflect well on Prenda. They'll have to appear at some point and this is a good way to make Judge Wright even less enthused about the nature of their tactics.

  5. George William Herbert says:

    If the court doesn't have time to act on this motion to avoid appearance before Monday, and decides to rule against it, and the people in question haven't showed up at court, are they then in contempt?

    The generalities of "I practice in other states or might not be able to get a flight" are one thing to argue in delaying, but lacking a specific "I was in court in this other state" or "I used Travleocity and Y and Z travel websites and found no seats to LA on Sunday or Monday" defense come Monday, I am not sure those will be accepted as excuses… It seems like the brinksmanship is a boomerang gambit, not a smart one…

  6. Matthew Cline says:

    They filed on Friday and objection to a meeting happening then next Monday? Isn't that way too late?

  7. John O. says:

    I expect to find them at the bottom of a big, giant smoking crater here soon. It might be on Monday, it might be later this week, who knows when, but its a safe bet to assume its going to happen eventually. Playing thermonuclear chicken with a Judge isn't a wise idea.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Don't you all realize Judge Wright was perfectly capable of counting the number of days between his March 5 order and March 11?

    I thought the immediacy of the order spoke for itself. If he wanted them to have more time, he would have given them more time. Given the bombs dropped by Pietz and Ranallo regarding their corporate structures and Steele's machinations, he may very specifically not want them to have time to get their act together/story straight/asses out of Dodge.

  9. SJD says:

    Well.. These two lovebirds, Steele and Hamsmeier, spent the last weekend in Utah skiing, and [opinion] drinking [/opinion] … Explains the delay.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Based on how proceedings have been gaining, not losing, momentum, I'm going to bet on bench warrants issued tonight. Every attempt at evasion thus far has been met with escalation.

  11. George William Herbert says:

    Crap. I failed too bookmark the PDF of the people/faces/relationships chart that Pietz (?) put together. Information overload. Can someone who has it repost the URL?

  12. Terry Towels says:

    Ken, if you want people to talk to, let us know you've a new post……

    Holy crap, this is another fine internet hole you've dragged me into, Stanley.

  13. AC says:

    Anyone else notice that they aren't opposing the order to appear for Mark Lutz, Peter Hansemeier, or the hypothetical Alan Cooper? In their ex parte notice, they also claim that they weren't served until Thursday — but the person ordered to serve them was Brett Gibbs. I get the distinct impression that they're throwing Gibbs under the bus.

  14. Terry Towels says:

    @George H. I think you can find the chart at Ars Technica, or Die Troll Die.

  15. Lucy says:

    Google image search Prenda Law. It's right there. My mobile copy paste isn't working at the moment with the link.

  16. James Pollock says:

    Well, OBVIOUSLY they have to go to St. Kitts and Nevis to retrieve documents before they can testify in court as to the structure and finances of these corporations/trusts.

  17. Something I've always wondered about when people get ordered to testify before congress, but which also applies here: is there any sort of a "financial hardship" defense to these? Not everyone can just pay out a thousand dollars to fly across the country at a momments notice.

  18. Terry Towels says:

    Back at the bottom of the thread about the Prenda business model, Matthew Cline has a link to a document he found filed by Gibbs. I'm link impaired :-(

    Just started reading it, but, wow.

  19. I thought I heard the words "Leichtenstein" and "Grand Cayman" in there somewhere also…

  20. George William Herbert says:

    Thanks all. I blanked on trying google image search. I had spent 15 min re-reading all the posts here and just not seen it.

  21. Dan Weber says:

    FYI, the Steele Letter link is dead.

  22. Dan Weber says:

    Only reading PrendaExParte.pdf:

    1. Gibbs was ordered to get this to them, but he was only ordered to do it by Thursday.

    2. They are claiming Gibbs didn't know how to reach some of them. It's clearly bullshit that Gibbs didn't know how to reach his client Hansmeier, and these guys knew each other well enough to co-ordinate the response.

  23. MattS says:

    Stormy Dragon,

    "Not everyone can just pay out a thousand dollars to fly across the country at a momments notice."

    Few people who get called to testify before congress get last minute notice. Those who do are usually gov employees, so they shouldn't need to travel on their own dime.

    As to the Prenda Law attorneys, They are engaged in mass fraud on the courts. Here is the worlds smallest violin playing the worlds saddest song.

  24. MattS says:

    Link didn't work, try it bare.

  25. @MattS:

    Oh, I'm not feeling sorry for them at all; I was more thinking of Alan Cooper #1. If his story is true, he's got nothing to do with this whole mess, other than having the misfortune of getting his identity stolen. Now to add insult to injury, he's got to shell out to fly to California on his own dime.

  26. Dan Weber says:

    1. They are engaged in mass fraud on the courts.

    Well, they are innocent until proven guilty. Of course that's what the court is trying to find out, but I, too, worry just who the Federal court can yank across the country.

    2. Reading DoeOppToExParte.pdf, Angela Van Den Hemel was identified by Mr. Gibbs as being the person who violated this Court’s discovery order.

    Whazzat? Do we know about that order?

    3. Oh, Pietz caught Steele in a lie. I do not provide any legal services in either California or Florida. That's gonna sting.

  27. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Stormy Dragon – I know this issue has been raised a few times and that there are many in community who would be willing to chip in to help. They have pursued thousands of people, if every target gave up a small coffee we'd have him on the next flight first class.

    As no word has come out from Mr. Cooper or his lawyer I have to assume arrangements of some type have been made.

  28. Jay says:

    Is it normal for a party to draft a 'proposed' court order? That came across as incredibly presumptuous to me.

    "Oh, here, Judge. We put this together for you to just put your John Hancock on the line there. Don't worry, it's totally legit. Doing you a favor, really."

  29. Ken says:

    It's common and often required.

  30. Andrew says:

    Gambling on a more favorable appellate court, are they? I can't imagine why else they would bother trying to get the order withdrawn. They're either going to show up for the hearing or not at this point; we'll see which they choose.

  31. Singular Doe says:

    @Dan Weber

    The Angela Van Den Hemel part comes from a prior order by Judge Wright vacating all subpoenas and staying all discovery on 10-19-12 (Order is in the docket for 2:12-cv-05709). A few of the subpoenas had not yet been returned by various ISPs and yet Prenda later contacted and named individuals in two cases.

    In a later declaration, Gibbs stated that he had informed the ISPs of the order to stay, as well as informing his higher-ups at Prenda. However, Angela Van Den Hemel emailed the ISPs in regards to said subpoenas twice after said order; once in early November and a second time a week later. As the subscribers were identified, it is obvious that the ISP gave Prenda the information. Gibbs claims that the error happened due to a "time lag" in communications and that he never realized it happened due to the ISPs returning the subscriber data to Prenda in Chicago.

  32. LXT says:

    I am without legal training and only coming to the whole Prenda Law story in the last two weeks. As I understand the current facts, Attorney Gibbs has his own law firm in California and has represented that he acts as "Of Counsel" for the "out of state" firm Prenda Law. Under oath, he has represented that he took direction on this case from John Steele and Paul Hansmeier. He further has sworn under oath that Paul Duffy is the owner of Prenda Law.

    Given the above, I have several questions that I hope someone can help me with:

    A) How does a District Court "normally" compel "out of state" law firm supervisors to make an "appearance" if that firm is not formally part of the case?

    B) Does this mean that the local "Of counsel" lawyers are basically unsupervised by the "out of state" firm in the eye of the District Court?

    c) The "extortion" letters sent to the John Does indicated settlement funds should be sent to the "out of state" firm as well as the returned ISP information. Hence, at minimum, Prenda Law acted as a service provider to Mr. Gibbs. Does not a District Court have a right to compel the presence of such directly involved "service providers"?

  33. Myk says:

    I'm puzzled. Looking at some random examples of the pending cases on Prenda's website, I find numerous mentions of 'Daniel G Ruggiero' as the Plaintiff's attorney, yet Gibbs' email address etc are listed below Ruggiero's name – would this be because Ruggiero is acting on behalf of Gibbs/Prenda for cases in states where Gibbs is not licensed?

  34. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Boy they are REALLY waving the red flag at the bull here.

    Claiming lack of jurisdiction when one sends threats to California, the second was just IN California, the third is LICENSED in California and actually moved to take over this case, and the fourth, according to plaintiff's attorney violated the court's order can't be good arguments to make for the long term welfare of the Prenda operation….

  35. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Myk – They had been trying to whitewash that all of the emails in Prenda cases were being funneled to Gibbs. Ruggiero is just a "local counsel" putting his name on paperwork for a pay check.
    Other "local counsels" have fled and more of them need to read the transcript out of FL where not 1 but 2 lawyers were trying to flee the sinking ship.
    This is part of why these local lawyers file way more cases than they can take on, they rarely are doing any actual work. The settlement offers/RoboCalls come out of Prenda once a list of IP's comes back from the ISPs.

  36. Anonymous says:

    While I am not surprised to see these guys trying to delay and weasel out of responsibility, that seems like an extreme risk in and of itself.

    If nobody shows up on Monday they yield the floor to two very motivated attorneys who have them against the ropes, an extremely unhappy judge, and possibly a man who alleges his identity was stolen by John Steele. Prenda will have Gibbs and maybe Lutz on stage. With no one to get his back, Gibbs is thrown to the lions; but since he passed the buck to "senior members" that will only make their absence more infuriating, especially since he thoughtfully decided to wait as long as possible to notify them, and of course they didn't read the news earlier on those blog sites they have been busy reading and suing. It will be delicious if Gibbs tries to cover his ass by bringing evidence he served them sooner and they are just stalling, then things will get really fun. Mark Lutz… Well… Go and read the transcript of Lutz' performance in front of Judge Mary Scriven in Florida to get an idea of how that will go (it will make for great reporting). I suspect Steele and Hansmeier think they had Lutz set up as the fall guy, but now it looks like they were far too clever for their own good and everyone knows they are all in bed together.

    @Nicholas Weaver –
    Duffy's excuse-making is especially hard to swallow, as you say he tried to substitute into this case so he would have been the one appearing on Monday instead of Gibbs, but Wright rejected that request and told Gibbs he better be there or it's a bench warrant. That implies Duffy was initially willing, able, and in fact planning to make the trip. I think it is very telling that even as they try for a last ditch attempt to stall they do not go so far as to try to fabricate excuses that are too specific and verifiable (i.e., a court date somewhere else, specific appointments or anything that could come back to bite them for perjury). It is noteworthy when Prenda decides against just making shit up.

    I think it is obvious their counsel has no idea what they stepped in, Prenda apparently found the only law firm in Southern California that can't use Google, and they just filed a boilerplate response that may prove inadequate under these serious and unconventional circumstances. They didn't even bother addressing each person's possible concrete excuses for being unable to attend, just general objections. That might fly under normal circumstances, but we'll see how effective it is when a judge wants people there because he is trying to determine if they have defrauded the court on a massive scale.

    @Myk –
    The whole Gibbs' contact info being provided for Prenda local attorneys in other states is hopefully something Wright will dig into when it comes to determining appropriate sanctions for Gibbs. Now that he's in trouble, Gibbs' excuse is that he is just some 1099 attorney doing whatever the "senior members" at Prenda HQ say. But there is considerable circumstantial evidence that Gibbs' role has been more like a manager, coordinating activities of the actual clueless Prenda contract attorneys in various states. There are many reports of Does or their attorneys calling or emailing contact information provided for the attorneys of record but ending up dealing with Gibbs and wondering who the hell he is. I believe his name has also appeared on dunning letters sent out for Prenda cases in other states where other attorneys were the attorneys of record.

    He was one of the first guys to bring cases for Prenda outside of their home jurisdiction in IL, and has stayed with them this whole time even as many attorneys have come and gone (some ran screaming for the hills when they realized what they had gotten themselves into, like the poor guy in Mary Scriven's courtroom in Florida). There is little doubt that he is personally close both to the people and the plans at HQ, although he may not have known just how far Steele went with the alleged shell companies and ID theft, although it appears he made at least a poor attempt to maintain plausible deniability.

  37. Mysterious Anonymous says:

    While I am not surprised to see these guys try to delay and weasel out of responsibility, that seems like an extreme risk in and of itself.

    If nobody shows up on Monday they yield the floor to two very motivated attorneys who have them against the ropes, an extremely unhappy judge, and possibly a man who alleges his identity was stolen by John Steele. Prenda will have Gibbs and maybe Lutz on stage. With no one to get his back, Gibbs is thrown to the lions; but since he passed the buck to "senior members" that will only make their absence more infuriating, especially since he thoughtfully decided to wait as long as possible to notify them, and of course they didn't read the news earlier on those blog sites they have been busy reading and suing while their house burns down. It will be delicious if Gibbs tries to cover his ass by bringing evidence he served them sooner and they are stalling, then things will get really fun. Mark Lutz… Well… Go and read the transcript of Lutz' performance in front of Judge Mary Scriven in Florida to get an idea of how that will go (it will make for great reporting). I suspect Steele and Hansmeier think they had Lutz set up as the fall guy, but now it looks like they were far too clever for their own good and everyone knows they are all in bed together.

    @Nicholas Weaver –
    Duffy's excuse-making is especially hard to swallow, as you say he tried to substitute into this case so he would have been appearing on Monday instead of Gibbs, but Wright rejected that request and told Gibbs he better be there or it's a bench warrant. That implies Duffy was willing, able, and in fact planning to make the trip. I think it is very telling that even as they try for a last ditch attempt to stall they do not go so far as to try to fabricate excuses that are too specific and verifiable (i.e., a court date somewhere else, specific appointments or anything that could come back to bite them for perjury). It is noteworthy when Prenda decides against simply making shit up.

    I think it is obvious their counsel has no idea what they stepped in, Prenda apparently found the only law firm in Southern California that can't use Google, and they filed a boilerplate response that may prove inadequate under these serious and unconventional circumstances. They didn't bother addressing each person's possible concrete excuses for being unable to attend, just general objections. We'll see how effective that is when a judge wants people there because he is trying to determine if they have defrauded the court on a massive scale.

    @Myk –
    The whole Gibbs' contact info being provided for Prenda local attorneys in other states is hopefully something Wright will dig into when it comes to determining appropriate sanctions for Gibbs. Now that he's in trouble, Gibbs' excuse is that he is just some 1099 attorney doing whatever the "senior members" at Prenda HQ say. But there is considerable circumstantial evidence that Gibbs' role has been more like a manager, coordinating activities of the actual clueless Prenda contract attorneys in various states. There are many reports of Does or their attorneys calling or emailing contact information provided for Prenda attorneys of record but ending up dealing with Gibbs and wondering who the hell he is. I believe his name has also appeared on dunning letters sent out for Prenda cases in other states when other attorneys were the attorneys of record.

    He was one of the first guys to bring cases for Prenda outside of their home jurisdiction in IL, and has stayed with them the whole time even as many attorneys have come and gone (some ran screaming for the hills when they realized what they had gotten themselves into, like the poor guy in Mary Scriven's courtroom in Florida). There is little doubt that he is personally close both to the people and the plans at HQ, although he may not have known just how far Steele went with the alleged shell companies and ID theft, although it appears he made at least a poor attempt to maintain plausible deniability.

  38. Chris R. says:

    They probably should have claimed their dry cleaning was out and asked to come to a gentleman's agreement. Would have been just as absurd but less inflammatory.

  39. Ygolonac says:

    Welp, I expected something like this (last-minute filing, weaselling-about regarding being able to get to the court in CA), but not in such a (deliberately?) antagonistic manner.

    IANAL, but if I hear that there's been some paper filed on me, I'd go to the trouble of a 15-second Google to see what's up. And I *highly* doubt that there's absolutely *no one* outside of Gibbs who would give them some notice. (I'm sure the part about Gibbs having to notify them by Thursday will be the admitted "we didn't know" excuse, but I'd suggest that, if they know enough about the Innerwebs to be subpoenaing all those WordPress IPs for saying mean things about them, then this fairly well publicised order may have been spotted all the way up Fifth Avenue.)

    (Heh. Subpoena Prenda/Steele/et al's ISP logs and see if they've been following along online…)

    "Deliberately antagonistic" – again, IANAL, but is it possible their strategy is to bait Judge Wright into overreacting, in the hopes of (at minimum) recusion? (At most, they may be hoping it all goes away somehow, but that depends on their level of delusion.)

  40. Isaac says:

    So, is it just me, or are these folks having some trouble keeping their stories straight at this point? For example, it appears that Mr. Steele has, within a brief window of time, testified (by affidavit, or, at a minimum, has represented to a court) that he is currently practicing law via his own law firm, as 'of counsel' for Prenda Law, or is retired from practicing law.

  41. Lucy says:

    On a side note, an image search for "Prenda Law" shows the two Alan Cooper signatures side by side. It doesn't take an expert to see they are most certainly not the same. Either there are two Alan Coopers or one is a forgery. The fact that Alan Cooper(s) have Steele in common and he is squirming pathetically to avoid answering for this commonality is more interesting as the clock continues to tick.

    I would post a link but cannot seem to get that to work recently.

  42. Dan Weber says:

    While delaying the appearance may provide some legit relief to some parties by giving them more time, doesn't it also cause grief to those parties that have already scheduled to travel to California on Monday?

  43. MFS says:

    Given that they were served Thursday, isn't expecting a response on Wednesday a bit unreasonable? Depending on what time they were served on Thursday, a Friday response seems about appropriate.

  44. En Passant says:

    Lucy wrote Mar 9, 2013 @9:28 am:

    I would post a link but cannot seem to get that to work recently.
    Obi-wan told me he believes this is the 'droid you are looking for.

  45. Anonymous says:

    @MFS

    They claim they were served Thursday, but that is tactical BS, they say that because the judge gave Gibbs until Thursday to serve them.

    As usual they are trying to play the rules to max, under the circumstances I doubt anyone is impressed.

    My take is that the short notice and giving Gibbs a couple days was a test administered by Judge Wright. If they behaved responsible, i.e., were promptly served and responded promptly or simply showed up, they would pass that test. If they delayed everything until the last possible second and then no-showed, they would fail. It looks like they have decided to fail this test and given the way things are going this is not likely to make things better for them.

    Also note that none of them make a specific, verifiable excuse for objecting (conflicting scheduled court date, illness, family emergency, etc.) They fear this time someone might try to verify any excuses and expose them to perjury.

    I would not be surprised if these guys conferred off the paper trail and decided not to be served until Thursday to game the system, but it will be interesting if Gibbs shows up and, in the interest of self-preservation, states that he did in fact serve them earlier. If I were Gibbs and about to be thrown to the lions, I would have called, emailed and sent a fucking process server after each and every one of them on Tuesday, and I would bring copies and receipts to court in the hope they will elicit the slightest mercy from Wright.

    In any case, considering they have gone on record in their defamation suits as avid readers of the blogs covering their cases, and that this story has spilled over into a wider tech and legal news audience, unless they were unconscious in the hospital there is no plausible way they were unaware they had been summoned to court, served or not.

  46. Sharon says:

    My take: If the judge gave Gibbs until Thursday to do the serving, then he's fine with them not Officially Knowing until Thursday that they needed to be in front of him the following Monday. He's signaling that HE considers Thursday to be sufficient Official Notice.

    For Prenda, given the circumstances that the person who was the target of the sanction is someone working for them on their highest profile cases, and he's in trouble in part because of his work on those cases, and given that they follow the blawg and blog and general pirate discussions on their cases and company: it will take an awful lot of footwork, with backup documentation, for me to believe they didn't know about the order within hours and are simply trying to game the system.

    Gonna need some extra buses.

  47. Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D. says:

    Personal jurisdiction has nothing to do with this. I'm surprised Morgan Pietz didn't catch that.

    Under Federal Rule 65(d):

    (2) Persons Bound. The order binds only the following who receive actual notice of it by personal service or otherwise:
    (A) the parties;
    (B) the parties’ officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys; and
    (C) other persons who are in active concert or participation with anyone described in Rule 65(d)(2)(A) or (B).

    Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(2).

    In my opinion, subsection C covers them (and likely subsection B as well for some) unless Gibbs disobeyed the order to serve them and they did not learn of the order "otherwise." Personal jurisdiction requirements apply to the formally named parties to a case but have no application to the scope of a federal judge's power to command non-parties to act or to refrain from acting.

    Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D. (retired federal court lawyer)

  48. Ken says:

    Paul, I agree that Duffy, Steele, and Hansmeier are very clearly in concert with Gibbs — and the litigation before Wright in this district — and therefore are subject to Wright's jurisdiction. I'm not sure that Rule 65 applies, though — it's about injunctions and TROs.

    Plus, the notion that Steele, Duffy, and Hansmeier didn't know about the order within minutes of it coming out on the 5th is ridiculous.

  49. Luc says:

    Now, if they are double-booked, that'd be one thing, but getting from one place to another overnight is easy now (three years ago, I went from being woken up at midnight by a phone call, finding out I needed to be in another state for a funeral, to on a plane to where I needed to be at 10AM after booking online). Particularly when facing a bench warrant, which is one of the obvious options for Judge Wright to get these idiots to court, "not enough time" from Thursday to Monday is not much of an excuse these days.

  50. Ygolonac says:

    Ken: "Plus, the notion that Steele, Duffy, and Hansmeier didn't know about the order within minutes of it coming out on the 5th is ridiculous."

    Translation: "And a mighty "Oh Shit" was heard across the land…"

  51. James Pollock says:

    Come on now. Steele, Hansemeier, et al. Couldn't have possibly known that they were being summoned to court until they were personally served. The blogosphere could have been talking about a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT group of people, who happened to have the same names… you know, like what happened to that Alan Cooper guy.

  52. Joe Pullen says:

    @JamesPollock – good one. And, I wouldn't doubt as Patrick has mentioned, that they are monitoring this blog. Wonder if THEY know how to use TOR, etc.

  53. Matthew Cline says:

    Wait, when Patrick said "Someone from Prenda Law is reading this", did he mean 1) "Given the circumstances, it's almost certain that they're reading this blog", or did he mean 2) "We know for a fact that they're reading this blog, because of the IP logs of visitors"?

  54. Terry Towels says:

    @Matthew. *snicker*

    Re the manual v paper filing; if they had e-access to the federal court in Illinois, would they have e-access to the federal court in LA?

  55. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Joe Pullen – They didn't. Which will make that defamation claim that much harder to sell… it doesn't help when your posting about all of the people your going to take down or less than thinly veiled threats directed at someone you've been robocalling to harass.

  56. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Terry Towels – I wonder if Gibbs changed his ECF login and they were confused.

  57. Kat says:

    @Matthew Cline: I would go with him feeling there's a substantial likelihood–after all, an IP address does not always mean that a particular person or people are visiting a website. Plus they would need to have some frame of reference to go by. Plus, IP addresses change really often if what I'm understanding is correct: see this explanation on DHCP leasing protocol. http://whatismyipaddress.com/dhcp

    The fact that DHCP works like this makes identifying people based on their IP difficult. Unless we're talking about a few days' worth of time, it becomes onerous to pin someone's identity down using just an IP address without more context/better information. (After all, without an identity validation system in place, anybody could come in and say, "I'm X of Prenda Law!" and we'd just have that person's word for it. If you then base whether or not X of Prenda Law has visited your site on that captured IP showing up and the fact that that's who they say they are, chances are not great that you'll be right.)

    ISPs do store who has which IP at specific dates and times. How long this information is stored depends on the ISP. http://torrentfreak.com/how-long-does-your-isp-store-ip-address-logs-120629/ Hence the subpoenas Prenda has sent out.

  58. Matthew Cline says:

    @Kat:

    Well, some businesses do have static (non-dynamic) IP addresses, and you can then use WHOIS to figure out who they belong to.

  59. James Pollock says:

    "Plus, IP addresses change really often if what I'm understanding is correct"
    DHCP leases can be adjusted; default for Windows DHCP Servers is 168 hours (7 days). Lengthening the lease time decreases the amount of DHCP traffic on the wire, but increases the time that unused addresses are left vacant. Shortening the lease time increases DHCP traffic but also decreases the time that unusued addresses are left vacant. ISPs usually want to re-use addresses as quickly as possible, so they have short DHCP lease times.
    However, there are good reasons to keep a device on the same address as long as it is running. Because of this, whenever a device with a DHCP lease reaches the halfway point of its lease, it will attempt to renew its lease, starting the lease period again. The result is that DHCP clients that are on continuously (like routers and servers) will tend to hold their leases indefinitely.
    But wait, there's more! A process called DHCP reservation sets aside a specific IP address for a specific device, meaning that that device will always have the specified address and no other device will have that address assigned by DHCP. When you upgrade to "business class" service, and the ISP assigns you a permanent IP address, they reserve that address for your CPE device.

    So, what causes a DHCP device to change its IP address? It can be A) imposed from above, by the administrator of the DHCP server, by changing the configuration. B) if the DHCP server goes down, eventually all the existing leases run out and are not renewed. This will result in a service outage for any device that relies on a DHCP address (and network administrators usually keep multiple DHCP servers on their networks specifically to prevent this from happening) C) if a computer is turned off for an entire DHCP lease period, it will not renew its lease and, when the lease expires, the server will reclaim it and reassign it; the device will ask for a new address when it restarts.

    All of this assumes DHCPv4… address assignment with IPv6 is different.

  60. Roscoe says:

    Ha. I have an 11:00 hearing in the same courthouse Monday morning. I will see if I can get priority on the calendar, and make it over to courtroom 11 in time to see the fun.

  61. James Pollock says:

    "some businesses do have static (non-dynamic) IP addresses"
    True, but the main reason to have a static address is to park a publicly-accessible server there (typically web or mail). Individual workstations (the kind that can be easily tied to a unique user) almost never get static IP addresses. The current trend is to take even web and mail servers off static addresses, and use dynamic addresses with them, as well, to facilitate distributed high-availability systems. The static IP address associated with "company X" might be instead company X's webhosting provider, or the telco, with "company X"'s actual workstations drawing from a completely different IP address pool.

  62. nrasmuss13 says:

    I'm putting my money on "I should get paid to show up" is a lousy argument at this stage of the game.

    With that said, I'm reluctant to find this kosher – I'm not real happy about the idea that a judge in NY could order me to fly my butt out there on Thursday just because he happens to want to ask me questions about something he thinks I'm involved in. With that said, I don't think the Prenda folks helped themselves with their brief – it's all textbook and bs (who's going to pay my expenses?) that doesn't seem like a good argument to an obviously PISSED OFF federal judge. And given the arguments made it seems to me that if they don't want to show they might have done better to go all in: file no brief and not show; call the judge's bluff. Beyond the assumption that Judge Wright won't buy the excuses anyway, they seem to me more likely to be better taken on a habeas appeal of a contempt cite than after they load it into their brief and lose (and then don't show).

  63. Deadly Laigrek says:

    The raw idiocy on display over at Prenda Law is freaking astounding.
    It is currently hurting my brain that anyone could be that much of a moron, ever. I hope they don't show. That would make this so much more fun.

  64. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @nrasmuss13 you need to read what lead to the Judges ruling. This wasn't an order made on a whim. Gibbs is pleading the I'm just a poor innocent trapped in all of this, Prenda has all of the answers.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Yep.

    Don't make a judge think you have been defrauding the Federal court system on a massive scale and you probably won't have to worry about judges randomly asking you to go places (hint, hint: it's NOT random).

    However, if you've done something that would provoke a judge to invite you to a have a chat with a week or less notice, you are probably well aware of that fact and should be prepared to clear your calendar.

  66. Zack says:

    @nrasmuss13 Even judges are answerable to someone. IANAL, but from what little I understand, there's basically four categories of judges. Article 3 judges, federal magistrates, state elected judges, and state appointed judges. The Aritcle 3 and the state appointed judges can be (if their conduct is bad enough) impeached; magistrates and elected judges can be removed, as they don't serve for life. Even if article 3 and state appointed judges aren't impeached, I think (not sure) the bar can sanction them, as can a higher court, and can overturn their decisions.

    The judge isn't allowed to do what he's doing, essentially, except in a case nearly identical to this: where he has plausible, credible evidence presented to him that the court is being defrauded. The court takes those sorts of things incredibly seriously; in all other circumstances, responses and orders are a very drawn out process, with focus on giving ample leeway to all parties involved.

    Again: IANAL, and I'm just paraphrasing what I've managed to gather from browsing.

  67. Dan Weber says:

    Depending on your ISP technology, you may keep your DHCP leases for days or for months. I have two ISPs at home because I'm testing out my employer's dual-WAN technology, and my IP over PPPoE changes about once a week, and my IP over cable modem has been the same for over a year.

  68. Richard O says:

    Lest we all forget, the purpose that the judge has ordered these people to show is to give them an opportunity to explain themselves. In other words, they have a chance to show that everything is on the up and up and to assuage the judge's suspicions.

    So these are the faces that have been ordered to appear and my predictions:

    These four will be no-shows. Assuming that our suspicions are fairly accurate, they have nothing to gain by showing. If they did show, they would have to either answer truthfully, invoke the 5th amendment, or be exceedingly evasive. Any of these will get this a referral to the US Attorney's office. Not showing will get them the same thing, but will leave them a lot more wiggle room. I doubt they will receive a bench warrant for their arrests.
    John Steele, of Steele Hansmeier PLLC and/or Livewire Holdings LLC
    Paul Hansmeier, of Steele Hansmeier PLLC and/or Livewire Holdings LLC
    Paul Duffy, of Prenda Law, Inc.
    Angela Van Den Hemel, of Prenda Law, Inc.

    Mark Lutz will show and have absolutely nothing informative to say.
    Mark Lutz, CEO of AF Holdings LLC and Ingenuity 13 LLC

    This Alan Cooper will be a no-show. Most likely because he doesn't exist. Mark Lutz or Brett Gibbs will give the excuse that Brett Gibbs was unable to contact him.
    Alan Cooper, of AF Holdings LLC

    Peter Hansemeier will show and have absolutely nothing informative to say.
    Peter Hansemeier of 6881 Forensics, LLC

    The verifiably real Alan Cooper will show. The judge will ask him some questions. Since he appears to be a victim in this whole affair, not much light will be shed.
    Alan Cooper

  69. Joe Pullen says:

    I can't be the only one finding irony in the fact that Prenda states if you obfuscate your IP you must have somthing to hide, yet they use a proxy service to hide their website WhoIs registrant information.

    *snerk*

    Carry on.

  70. LXT says:

    How does a District Court "normally" compel "out of state" law firm supervisors to make an "appearance" if that law firm is not formally part of the case (e.g. the case is filed by local co-counsel or 'of Counsel')?

  71. princessartemis says:

    Some dynamic IPs change seldomly, as Dan Weber mentioned. My household's IP typically only changes every few months or after a power outage, and in order to force the ISP to release the IP, I have to disconnect the gateway and modem for a couple hours. Only had to do that once though, when the IP was leased to the modem instead of the gateway; that caused no end of trouble on our local network.

  72. Mabhatter says:

    Each of these people has SIGNED some legal document filed in another Federal Court stating they were authorized on befall of……

    The Internet connected the dots between shell companies leading back to these people all working "for each other" and the Judge is not pleased.

    My opinion is that some of these are "buddies" of the lawyers pulling the strings. What the Judge is really hoping for is for several of them to "flip" and admit they were paid $50 to sign some papers and they "got to be a company officer". Not realizing that they were signing statements in Federal Court as Compsny Officers.

    Either these are victims of same fraud being perpetrated on the Court, or these are actual officers…. Or because they signed papers as officials, they know who the officers really are.

  73. Rob says:

    So, here's a question: when will the judge respond to Prenda's ex parte application? Seems like he should do it sometime tonight, if he plans on doing so at all. A response tomorrow wouldn't be worth much; Steele and Co. could take the gamble that the judge will grant them an extension, but if they lose and they're not there then they're boned, and if the judge does grant them an extension and they show up anyway then that's a wasted trip.

    Basically, the scenarios if the judge doesn't send a reply tonight are as follows:

    1. The judge grants an extension on Monday, Steele and Co. don't show up. They lucked out.

    2. The judge doesn't grant an extension on Monday, Steele and Co. don't show up. They're fucked.

    3. The judge grants an exception but Steele and Co. show up anyway on the off chance he doesn't. They've wasted a trip, but aren't fucked.

    4. The judge doesn't grant an exception and Steel and Co. show up. Whether they're fucked or not depends on their answers.

    So, if the judge doesn't respond tonight, there's a 50/50 chance for a bad outcome, one way or the other. Seems to me he'd want to make it clear tonight while there's still time for the parties to book flights.

  74. Rob says:

    *'exception" in scenarios 3 and 4 should be extension. Doh!

  75. Orville says:

    My money is on the judge not granting the extensions. I suspect that if he was willing to wait there would have been a longer amount of time given to appear.

    Another hunch – there is a prosecutor waiting in the wings to start an investigation the moment the judge declares someone in contempt.

  76. Jack B. says:

    Off-topic, but for those of you who need a heaping dose of crazy during this weekend lull in the Prenda proceedings might get a kick out of this batshit crazy mommy blogger lawsuit.

  77. AlphaCentauri says:

    I have Verizon and my home router will give me a new IP address if I wait a full two minutes.

    My work IP is static because it is necessary for purposes of security when connecting to companies we interact with on line. A username and password would not be sufficient; it has to come from a computer at our IP. I suspect in today's world a lot of businesses have need for a static IP for the same reason.

  78. James Pollock says:

    "My work IP is static because it is necessary for purposes of security when connecting to companies we interact with on line…. I suspect in today's world a lot of businesses have need for a static IP for the same reason."

    Not if your IT services are well-designed. A proxy server at the edge will allow all the computers on your network to appear to have the same originating IP address. There's just no reason to give a workstation a static IP address, and as I said before, the trend is that even servers have dynamic addresses now, with reverse proxy at the edge… this allows for virtualized clusters to handle mission-critical roles such as web and mail services, and substantially improve service uptime.
    If you (or more importantly, your IT support staff) think that security is improved substantially by requiring a specific IP address, I have bad news… faked IP addresses are amazingly simple to create. Spammers have been doing it since the 90's.

  79. Mike says:

    @James Pollock I believe he meant the external address assigned by his ISP. An edge proxy won't do any good for those purposes if its ip changes constantly as well. And while an are easy to spoof, using that method plus anti-spoofing techniques such as ingress/egress filtering and reverse path forwarding are pieces of successful defense in depth.

    ———————————–

    As for today's hearing, I for one wish all courtrooms were livestreamed. :)

  80. Steve Florman says:

    The Minneapolis StarTrib ran an article this morning on the Minnesota connections to this whole sordid mess: http://www.startribune.com/local/196795991.html

  81. Mike says:

    @Steve And Mr. Pietz thinks it relevant and has filed it with the court: http://ia701508.us.archive.org/28/items/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744/gov.uscourts.cacd.543744.76.0.pdf

  82. Matthew Cline says:

    faked IP addresses are amazingly simple to create. Spammers have been doing it since the 90's.

    Faking an IP address at the level of a TCP connection either takes incredible luck, or someone who's on the same LAN as the one being impersonated. The faking of IP addresses that goes on with email, some types of BitTorrent trackers, and so on, doesn't involve faking the IP of a TCP connection.

  83. Kat says:

    @DanWeber @JacksonPollock: You clearly know more about this than me, so consider me as having been corrected! :) I do still think it's unlikely that Patrick would be referring to a specific IP catch for the reasons listed, i.e. their word is the only verification we have, and it's still possible they have a dynamic IP with a short enough lease. It'd be a lot of work/luck for questionable benefit to attempt to track Prenda visitors.

  84. Baldaur Regis says:

    Why the big charade in the first place? Multiple layers of lawyers, mysterious off-shore shell companies, sketchy 'corporate officers' – the actions of Steele et al seem to be more of the 'I saw this in a movie once!' type rather than anything reality-based. Why haven't any of them just said "Yes, I'm a bottom-feeding douchebag of a lawyer, and so what?"

    The point is this: what they've been doing – their business model of trolling – is sleazy and wrong on too many levels to count, but is it illegal?

  85. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Baldaur Regis – I think the courts would look poorly on lawyers who acquired some copyrights themselves to make money suing. Add in an "expert" who is in your back pocket and isn't independent. Using other peoples names to hide ownership and leave them holding the bag if it goes south. Posting peoples names on their website claiming they were guilty was a nice touch that was retracted after people pointed out that might be viewed as unethical. Sending letters claiming they would send the police in to seize the computers and other technology from the home when there wasn't a suit naming the party seems like it would be lying and abusing their position. Keeping the negligence claim alive after courts rightly pointed out there is nothing in the Copyright law allowing recovery for that, but it was a handy answer to people who said I didn't do it… well but your responsible and owe us money. The use of a robodialer was questionable. Putting peoples names on documents and submitting documents that don't match reality seems like it should be a problem. Ignoring a courts order quashing subpoenas and still collecting subscriber information and demanding settlements, when questioned offering up excuse after excuse. Seeking settlements for adjudicated cases. Seeking settlements from closed cases. This is just off the top of my head, I'm sure I have missed other highlights.

  86. Matthew Cline says:

    The latest on Prenda:

    There is, involved with the Prenda lawsuits, an Allan/Alan Monay/Moay/Mooney/etc. Paul Hansmeier represented an Allan Mooney, and that Allan introduced Hansmeier to some porn contacts. So a reporter talked with that Allan, and has no idea about any of this Prenda stuff. Morgan Pietz suspects that this Allan might also have had his identity stolen.

  87. James Pollock says:

    "Faking an IP address at the level of a TCP connection either takes incredible luck, or someone who's on the same LAN as the one being impersonated"
    Or a proxy, willing or unwilling, who rewrites packets for you and relays the results back to you.

  88. LawDragon says:

    Inquiring minds want to know – what's hapening in Judge Wright's courtroom???

  89. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @LawDragon – no live tweeting from the courtroom so we are all waiting for a recess….
    https://twitter.com/search/realtime?q=%23Prenda&src=hash

  90. Piper says:

    The #prenda teases are killing me. I expect Ken to have a doozy of a writeup tonight.

  91. Dan Weber says:

    For those not following twitter, Ken said this:

    "#Prenda Holy shit. Did not disappoint. Wow. Write up tonight."

  92. Write Ken! Write like you've never written before!

    There's a pony in it for you.

  93. Stephen says:

    I tried to stay awake for it, but daylight savings and early kid wake up call have gotten the better of me. Until morning…

  94. That Anonymous Coward says:

    So while we wait for the white smoke from Ken's chimney lets discuss the best way to motivate him.

    Ken the longer you take the more puppies I hand to Michael Vick.
    (too soon?)

  95. naught_for_naught says:

    Here's a question to consider while we wait. What was the implication of Judge Wright bidding attorney Gibbs, "Good luck?" Was that "good luck," as in go and sin no more my son, or what that "good luck" as in you better pack some extra underoos, fella?

    At first I thought number one, but the more I consider it, I'm thinking more along the lines of number two — as in, you're deep in it.

  96. Ken says:

    Done with the post. Sent it to TechDirt. Up tonight.

  97. naught_for_naught says:

    Thanks Ken

  98. Kat says:

    Ahhhh I can't wait!

    (frantically refreshing TechDirt)

  99. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @naught_for_naught – I have a feeling it was Good Luck and may whatever deity you worship have mercy on your soul. While he wants to place the blame on Prenda, his name and fingerprints are on everything. When he became aware that things were not being done in the correct manner using his name, he remained silent.
    I am reminded of the Judge in FL who tore into the lawyer trying to flee the case there that he needed to remember that no matter what its his name on the record and he needed to keep things on the up and up and not just get paid and look away.

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