Prenda Law: Brett Gibbs Confronts a Philosophical Conundrum

Law

My prior coverage of the Prenda Law saga is here. It's reaching the point where I'm going to have to do some kind of index.

You may recall that on March 14, 2013, Judge Wright issued a new Order to Show Cause directed to Prenda Law's principals and putative clients, and ordered Brett Gibbs to serve it. Prenda-watchers recognized some of the dilemmas this presented: how does one serve "Alan Cooper of AF Holdings?" How would Gibbs serve the alleged client entities? How would he make contact with his former supervisors Paul Duffy, Paul Hansmeier, and John Steele?

Because Mr. Gibbs is now represented by competent and sensible counsel, the answer is: thoroughly and professionally. Mr. Gibbs' attorney Andrew Waxler filed a declaration today documenting his efforts to serve the Prenda Law cast of characters as Judge Wright ordered.

A few notes:

1. You may recall that an attorney appeared on March 11, 2013 representing Duffy, Steele, Hansmeier, and their paralegal. Waxler asked that attorney to accept service on their behalf. She said she was "unable to accept service." Normally, if you were trying to avoid a federal judge's wrath, you'd be a little more cooperative than that. The refusal suggests to me that (1) they are trying to preserve their frankly specious lack-of-personal-jurisdiction argument, and/or (2) Steele, Hansmeier, Duffy, and the paralegal aren't cooperating with their counsel. You can stand on ceremony and insist on formal service, but all I can say is if Judge Wright were that mad at me, I'd want the proof of service to reflect that I happily accepted service to make things easier.

2. How do you serve "Alan Cooper" without making any concessions about "Alan Cooper"? Delicately:

Service on "Alan Cooper, of A F Holdings L L C . " The only "Alan Cooper" that we are aware of appeared in Court on March 11t h . I understand that he claims that he is not affiliated with A F Holdings. We further understand that Mr. Steele may contend otherwise. In any event, since we know of no other Alan Cooper than the person that appeared in Court, I reached an agreement with his attorney, Paul Godfread, that I can serve "Alan Cooper" via email only care of Mr. Godfread's email address, paul@godfreadlaw.com. Pursuant to that agreement, we served Mr. Cooper c/o Mr. Godfread on March 15t h . Mr. Godfread did acknowledge receipt of the email when he wrote back with the following remarks: "Please note that I do not represent Alan Cooper of A F Holdings. I only represent Alan Cooper of Isle, M N . I do not accept service on behalf of Alan Cooper of A F Holdings. I not agree to accept service on behalf of Alan Cooper of A F Holdings. Please also note that the most recent order specifically does not order my client, Alan Cooper of Isle, M N to appear."

Note that (a) Gibbs, at least, understands that John Steele is insisting that Alan Cooper was voluntarily involved in this, (b) Cooper maintains that he isn't, and (3) Cooper's attorney reads the order (not unreasonably) as not requiring him to return, but only requiring the presence of whatever Alan Cooper admits to heading AF Holdings, if such a person exists.

3. Of Paul Duffy, Paul Hansmeier, Peter Hansmeier, Mark Lutz, John Steele, Angela Van Der Hemel, and all of the entities, only Paul Hansmeier and Van Der Hemel made any response to the service, and then only to confirm which addresses worked. Multiple formerly used email addresses failed.

We'll see what the Prenda Law principals do in response to this. April 2, 2013 looms.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

80 Comments

79 Comments

  1. Anonymous  •  Mar 18, 2013 @4:46 pm

    And check out the latest on Fightcopyrighttrolls.com.

    http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/2013/03/18/brett-gibbs-paul-hansmeier-and-their-questionable-involvement-in-class-action-lawsuits/

    It appears they have dug up several examples of Paul Hansmeier and Brett Gibbs working a class action professional objector angle. Complete with "pay me $30,000 Or Else style letters to class counsel."

    Brett Gibbs has his name signed to objections brought on behalf of Hansmeier's wife and father!

    But of course he was just some guy on 1099 working as, basically, a file clerk.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  2. Basil Forthrightly  •  Mar 18, 2013 @4:58 pm

    Reading Waxler's declaration, I was surprised that there was no mention of registered agents for the business entities. Perhaps it's only a Texas LLC thing, but here each LLC must have an agent's name and address on file, for the purpose of accepting service. For most LLCs, it's one of the members in the business. It's my understanding that one can presume successful service via a registered letter to the agents address.

  3. Anonymous  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:02 pm

    Oh and going by posts on FCT's forums, Lutz has been busy making dunning calls every day since the hearing, so maybe Waxler should go over there and look at the caller ID info people have been posting if he wants more contact info for The Mastermind.

  4. tabstop  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:04 pm

    "on March 18th, we learned of a personal email address used by Mr. Paul Hansmeier."

    God bless the passive voice.

  5. SJD  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:08 pm

    Actually I found another Cooper that is more likely than not (it is still a civil suit, isn't it?) the fugitive AFH one (he is shooting porno: not a coincidence!)

    Waxler should have asked me first.

  6. Ken  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:10 pm
  7. gadfly  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:14 pm

    "Thoroughly and professionally"? They couldn't find Paul Duffy's official address of record on the State Bar of CA website? Or that of Steele in IL?

  8. That Anonymous Coward  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:23 pm

    And somehow in all of this I was still painted as a bad guy…

  9. doeknob  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:41 pm

    @TAC, It's the goatee. You just can't be a good guy with a goatee.

  10. LXT  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:53 pm

    Is it legally permissible for Mr. Pietz to file another notice with this court advising that Attorney Gibbs has represented family members of his Predna "bosses" in California Federal courts and hence should have ability to get current addresses of S&H as well as Peter H.? Of course, the class action documents from above could be attached as Exhibits.

  11. Pro Hac Vice  •  Mar 18, 2013 @6:40 pm

    I only wish the judge had been able to schedule the next hearing on April 1st. It just feels like the right day, you know?

  12. Nicholas Weaver  •  Mar 18, 2013 @6:42 pm

    Paul Duffy's bar listing is for pduffy@pduffygroup.com, which as a web site is much more placeholder than Prenda Law, so the decision to email to Prenda makes sense.

    Illinois lawyer search doesn't work for me.

  13. Tom  •  Mar 18, 2013 @6:43 pm

    tabstop:

    The sentence you quoted featured exactly zero examples of passive construction. I have nothing relevant to say either, so I thought I'd pipe up.

  14. Richard O  •  Mar 18, 2013 @6:55 pm

    It looks to me like the lot of them are just trying to avoid service so they won't have to show. Of course now that they think they've managed to avoid service is when I'd put a professional on the job.

  15. Anonymous  •  Mar 18, 2013 @6:59 pm

    Unless I missed something very important, I don't believe Steele has asserted that Alan Cooper of MN is Alan Cooper of AF Holdings. Steele did allude to an "iPhone recording" pseudonymously on Twitter and Gibbs' attorneys asked if Cooper had left Steele a voicemail message asking about his porn company, which Cooper denied and Gibbs' attorneys declined to pursue.

    Steele's silence on the issue has been deafening, and it was his evasive behavior and refusal to provide answers to questions regarding Cooper that got him here. Even the defamation suits filed against Cooper, Godfread and Internets do not allege that Cooper was actually Steele's partner, they are just a bunch of general handwaving about "false" and "defamatory" statements that avoid confronting the issue head on. The lawsuits themselves appear to be a complete distraction, obviously they are meant to intimidate as well, but they also serve the purpose of providing a last-ditch desperate excuse for refusing to comment because of ongoing litigation.

    If Steele had anything, at all, to prove that Alan Cooper of MN is lying or that there is another Alan Cooper, he should have used it by now to avoid getting caught in this situation. We all assume Steele will claim both Coopers are the same and that Cooper of MN is lying, and Gibbs' attorneys have made the same assumption. But to the best of my knowledge, that is merely an assumption and we won't know what Steele's real explanation is until he is made to answer questions under oath and gives an answer other than "I plead the Fifth."

  16. doeknob  •  Mar 18, 2013 @7:20 pm

    @Anonymous,

    During the last hearing, Gibbs' lawyers intimated that the Groundskeeper Cooper is the same as AF Holdings Cooper.

    But if I remember the various blog posts about it, they only asked one questions then dropped the issue.

  17. That Anonymous Coward  •  Mar 18, 2013 @7:39 pm

    @doeknob – well that should have warned them. I am a pirate from the opposite universe that you get to via transporter error. You know I am from there by the goatee. It also means that in that universe I'm not a pirate but a good guy fighting for truth, justice, and the alternate earth way.

  18. Joe Pullen  •  Mar 18, 2013 @8:58 pm

    @SDK – I’m not surprised, not surprised at all to find other names/people being used in Prenda’s scheme. I actually expected it.

    @TAC – Just remember this is step #11 in the 13 step plan to become an evil super-genius (said in Wiley Coyote voice) as found here http://charles-carreon.com/2012/06/18/wow-ive-gotte-4-2/ in the comments section. Specifically:

    11.) I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.

  19. Dr. Wu  •  Mar 18, 2013 @9:18 pm

    @Pro Hac: April 1st is April Fools' Day, of course, but April 2nd has never been formally named. I propose "Somebody's Gonna Get Disbarred Day."

  20. Andrew  •  Mar 18, 2013 @9:25 pm

    I noticed something about Gibbs' alleged (non-)knowledge of Alan Cooper. As Ken quoted, from the aforementioned Declaration (ECF No. 92), paragraph 2(f):

    The only "Alan Cooper" that we are aware of appeared in Court on March 11th.

    Who is "we" in that sentence? Is Gibbs included? Should Wexler (as declarer) have known everything that Gibbs knows about Alan Cooper? Is Wexler truly competent to testify to this fact, as he claims at the outset of the declaration?

    These questions arise because at least one of the exhibits to the now-infamous deposition tells a different story. If you can, find pages 34 and 35 of the 104 pages of the exhibit. Gibbs signed a "Verified Petition to Perpetuate Testimony" on October 28, 2011, in his capacity as attorney for Ingenuity13 LLC. The next page is a "Notarized Verification" of the document signed both by Alan Cooper ("Manager of Ingenuity13 LLC") and by Gibbs. Gibbs states that he has a signed original notarized version of the above Verified Petition.

    Of course, there are many ways one could try to explain that Gibbs does not actually know who Cooper is, even though their electronic signatures both appear on the same page of the same document. Maybe they did not sign at the same time. Nevertheless, unless perjury and/or notary fraud has been committed here, it is hard to believe that Gibbs does not know Cooper, given the circumstances.

    I'm not a lawyer, and maybe my analysis is wrong. Question to those more knowledgeable: does this juxtaposition of evidence tend to prove that Gibbs does in fact know the "Alan Cooper" who signed that document on behalf of Ingenuity13? Or have I missed some other possibility?

  21. AlphaCentauri  •  Mar 18, 2013 @9:27 pm
  22. AlphaCentauri  •  Mar 18, 2013 @9:28 pm

    oops, some tag didn't close on that last one. Sorry! It was addressed to Anonymous who posted the link to fightcopyrighttrolls.com

  23. Sam  •  Mar 18, 2013 @9:46 pm

    Tom:
    "used by Mr. Paul Hansmeier" is an example of the passive voice, albeit embedded in a reduced relative clause.

  24. Alan Bleiweiss  •  Mar 18, 2013 @10:18 pm

    St. Kitts population increased by four late last night. In the mean time, expect a filing stating "were present, on March 29th, as required. Nobody in the court-room. Waited an hour. Left and caught flight back home. Private jet. Now missing. All presumed dead…."

  25. Matthew Cline  •  Mar 18, 2013 @10:35 pm

    Service on AF Holdings LLC . We understand that A F Holdings, LLC may be a subsidiary of Livewire Holdings, LLC . We served Livewire Holdings LLC care of Mr. Lutz on March 15th via Federal Express at the address listed on the Livewire Holdings website. We have confirmed that this packet was delivered to this address on March 18th.

    Shouldn't they have also served the last known address of AF Holdings LLC? Especially considering that Gibbs say that Livewire's purchase of AF hasn't gone through yet?

  26. ...  •  Mar 18, 2013 @11:13 pm

    So out of all the bouncing emails, only wefightpiracy.com addresses don't bounce. Whatcha wanna bet that that domain just blackholes emails sent to it?

  27. Matthew Cline  •  Mar 18, 2013 @11:24 pm

    Also, since Hansmeier says that Steele is the only one who knows who Cooper-of-AF is, shouldn't Waxler have added a letter to Steele asking him for that Cooper's contact info?

    The refusal suggests to me that (1) they are trying to preserve their frankly specious lack-of-personal-jurisdiction argument,

    By accepting service, would they have implicitly accepted that the judge did have jurisdiction over them?

  28. That Anonymous Coward  •  Mar 19, 2013 @12:03 am

    @Joe Pullen – But an having an avatar of someone killed in the start of the 17th century is never mentioned in these things sadly.
    I might be a disaffected Gen X'er… but no ones finding that out without a court order and a good understanding of proxies and VPN's.

  29. Anonymous  •  Mar 19, 2013 @12:32 am

    http://ia600404.us.archive.org/5/items/gov.uscourts.cand.236457/gov.uscourts.cand.236457.226.5.pdf

    Wow, the exhibits in a filing from the Netflix class action are just… Wow…

    Dear Mr. Gibbs:

    Earlier today I left a voice mail for you at (415) 325-5900 regarding the objection you filed to the class action settlement reached in the above-referenced matter.

    This afternoon, I received a bizarre, disturbing, return phone call from two gentlemen (calling from the number (800) 308-0480) [apparently this is a source number for Prenda's dunning calls]. Chris Dore and Ben Richman, both associates with my firm, were on the call with me. The men began the call by explaining that they were returning my voicemail. When I asked what their connection to you or your client was, they got agitated (asking me whether I wanted to waste my time with those type of questions or just talk about the objection). When I persisted — by explaining that I needed to know who I was speaking to — they clearly and unequivocally identified themselves as associates at your firm. I asked for the name of that firm and they replied: "Brett Gibbs Law Offices."

    … and on and on …

    There's plenty more, the trip down the rabbit hole begins on page 42. Gibbs accuses the class counsel of threatening his "associates" and gets almost hysterical. Totally bizarre.

  30. Robert White  •  Mar 19, 2013 @1:10 am

    This all sounds like scientology, or at least scientologists, what with the odd legal construction, the corporate shell games, the ongoing hide-the-pickle for service and the Bob says there is no Bob behaviours.

  31. Bill Sides  •  Mar 19, 2013 @5:58 am

    I sense a brilliant book written by Ken and a star-studded HBO Special in our future.

  32. Burst  •  Mar 19, 2013 @6:38 am

    "Delicately." Hah!

    <3 Popehat

  33. Waldo  •  Mar 19, 2013 @7:05 am

    Prenda's actions remind me of an old Texas attorney saying: pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered.

  34. Jeroen van Rijn  •  Mar 19, 2013 @7:33 am

    @Ken: I think the paralegal's surname is Van Den Hemel as opposed to Van Der Hemel. It used to be in posts previous.

    Nitpick aside, thanks for the coverage on this entertaining saga.

  35. Jon  •  Mar 19, 2013 @8:07 am

    My favorite bit from the class action filings: Gibbs actually wrote "govern yourself accordingly."

  36. Jon  •  Mar 19, 2013 @8:38 am

    Sorry, "Govern yourself accordingly" was Hansmeier. That's what I get for not consulting my scorecard.

  37. Ygolonac  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:16 am

    It's like a game of "hot potato", except with subpoenas!

    And there's potatos supboenas enough for everyone!

    And when you catch one, you lose immediately (or at least when if you show up to the hearing)!

    Filing an ex parte order for more popcorn…

  38. Ygolonac  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:17 am

    Hmm, 50% error rate spelling "subpoena". Meh, lower typos than average.

  39. mcinsand  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:20 am

    Ygolonac, and Richard O, how much backlash on the supboena dodging might hit Gibbs? He was charging with serving notices promptly, and he isn't doing so well. I wouldn't be surprised if the (truly) honorable judge wasn't probing the mechanics of Prenda by seeing how willing the masterminds might be in throwing a cohort fully under the bus.

  40. Richard O  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:29 am

    None for Gibbs. He's documented his best effort attempts to deliver the orders. However in no case did he receive an acknowledgement or proof that the person actually received it. That leaves him off the hook and the other principals have plausible deniability that they received it. I'm guessing that the rest of the crew consider Gibbs persona non grata due to the position the Judge has put him in. So as long as there was no conspiracy to arrange this, Gibbs should be fine.

  41. mcinsand  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:33 am

    Richard O,

    I doubt that Gibbs will be fine, even if his efforts at diligence (this time) may have kept his legal grave from getting deeper. In a way, though, the ability to show diligence now makes his previous behavior look worse, to me.

    mc

  42. Kevin  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:37 am

    Wow. Any previous suggestions that Gibbs may have just been a dupe in all of this pretty much out the window after reading this class action stuff. Gibbs is a sociopath. These are people who view a JD as a license to print money. They're a cancer on society.

  43. Robert White  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:41 am

    @Sam: I have to call you wrong on that "used by bob" construction isn't passive voice. In the original sentence "we learned" is the subject and verb of the sentence, which is not passive voice. so "we learned of an email address" is the independent clause, and "used by bob" is an ajective clause (?) modifying "email address".

    The exemplar sentence is not a particularly powerful piece of work. It isn't moving in its scope nor well crafted. It is in fact weaselly and deflective. But it is not in the passive voice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_passive_voice

    In the same sense that the song "Isn't it Ironic" is ironic for not enumerating anything if irony, your correction of his correction of your assertion is not correct.

    /doh 8-)

  44. Aaron  •  Mar 19, 2013 @9:53 am

    This should not be an argument, but "We learned of an email address Bob used" and "We learned of an email address used by Bob" are two different sentences. The second contains a minor instance of the passive voice.

    In fact, read your own link. The passive voice is being used in the above sentence to promote an indirect object, not a direct object, but it is still present.

  45. Jordan  •  Mar 19, 2013 @10:00 am

    OK, IANAL so I have a question: it seems that Steele, et. al. are dodging these orders. But, they received the last batch, and even filed motions to be excused from the hearing. So, is there any kind of consequence or sanction that they risk for being clearly reachable for the last batch of orders, and then dropping off the face of the earth for this batch?

  46. Dan  •  Mar 19, 2013 @10:03 am

    I'm with Basil's question about there being no mention of registered agents–that's the ordinary way to serve an LLC or a corporation in most U.S. jurisdictions (I believe all, but as soon as I say "all" someone will come up with an exception). Sending materials to their last known address is a good move, but proper service would seem to be made by sending it to their registered agent.

  47. Ygolonac  •  Mar 19, 2013 @10:31 am

    Hmmm, is Prenda dropping suits merely to avoid having a scheduled location where a process erver might productively lurk?

    mcinsand – IANAL (I are a high-school gradjit), and so not qualified to offer useful knowledge beyond "seen on Lawn Odor".

    I am, however, vastly amused at other people cratering themselves in various ways, and am afraid that the Prendacalypse may leave me spoiled for some time. :ohdear:

  48. Rob  •  Mar 19, 2013 @11:16 am

    @Matthew Cline,

    By accepting service, would they have implicitly accepted that the judge did have jurisdiction over them?

    No. Consider an attorney who is agent of service for several clients. They may receive service for any one of their clients, from any jurisdiction. How are they to know who/what/where the service involves if they just refuse to be served?

  49. Robert White  •  Mar 19, 2013 @11:17 am

    The verb in the sentence is still "learned" and the subject is still "we". The direct object of the sentence is "email address". The person the email address was used by is not the direct object of the sentence.

    The verb form of "to learn" is not/would not be modified by the removal of "used by (person)". That is "we learned of an email address" and "we learned of an email address used by bob" and "we learned of bob's email address" are all the same verb form. Compare this to the gave/given example you counter cite.

    There is no alteration of verb form, no promotion of indirect object, nor any pseudo-passive promotion. subject speaker "we" active verb "learned" (of) direct object "email address" discriminant specifier "used by (person)".

    from citation: "… promotion of the indirect object takes place from a construction in which it precedes the direct object" so you would have to get "used by (person) in front of "email address" to form the promotion of the indirect object.

    Compare to "I found a book owned by bob" doesn't promote "bob" into the set of things I have found. So too the "used by (person) doesn't promote "person" into the set of things "we learned of" in place of the email address.

    Active tense all the way baby…

    You are right, this _shouldn't_ even be a discussion… you are totally wrong…

  50. Ken  •  Mar 19, 2013 @11:18 am

    Popehat: where obsessive documentation of obscure legal dramas produces grammatical squabbles.

  51. Robert White  •  Mar 19, 2013 @11:31 am

    Aside: the passive voice construction would be something like "the email address used by bob was found by us", where the object ("email address") acts against ("was found by") the true initiator of activity ("us").

  52. Anonymous  •  Mar 19, 2013 @11:43 am

    I've seen several mentions of the dodging service and procedural games possibly being setup for appeals.

    But what good will that do if Wright ends up referring the case to the USAO for criminal prosecution? Will they be able to contest that referral or otherwise stall that process as well, or is there no putting that genie back in the bottle?

    The obstructionist strategy did not go over well on the 11th, and so far their strategy of behaving even more suspiciously every time they are asked to explain themselves has not been successful. Since Rosing appeared pretty much clueless at the hearing, and has given tone-deaf responses to Wright's orders thus far, I wonder if she fails to appreciate the gravity of the situation and is ultimately fighting the wrong battle.

  53. Richard O  •  Mar 19, 2013 @11:45 am

    @mcinsand

    I wasn't trying to imply he would not face any consequences. Just that he won't be in trouble for the service of the subpoenas if any others are no-shows.

  54. JohhnyCage  •  Mar 19, 2013 @11:59 am

    If this round of notices fails to reach the defendants, perhaps the Court will serve notice next time… with the Marshals.

  55. JohnnyCage  •  Mar 19, 2013 @12:04 pm

    Also, there is definitely a law review paper in all this, somewhere.

  56. Dan Weber  •  Mar 19, 2013 @12:19 pm

    Gibbs got a lot of things served to Prenda Law. As active attorneys, isn't Prenda Law required to deliver documents to lawyers in their employ? (Although Andrew(?)'s previous point that Gibbs apparently notarized something signed by Alan Cooper is gonna need some 'splainin'.)

    Then again, I didn't understand how Carreon could refuse service and continue to be an attorney.

  57. sharp as a marble  •  Mar 19, 2013 @1:34 pm

    the reason the "llc's" don't have registered agents is because they are not actual llc's registered in any local in the country. they only exist in these court cases not in any legal sense. i don't think anyone has found livewire or guava llc's when searching through any state's records.

  58. IANAL  •  Mar 19, 2013 @2:24 pm

    > and the other principals have plausible deniability that they received it.

    I see bench warrants in their future if they don't show up to the next hearing in person. I believe he can just declare the service "good enough" when it's this obvious that they're dodging. He can also meet with their attorney and grill them over why they could not or would not accept service on behalf of their clients. Couldn't he also order their attorney to accept service on their behalf?

    And if they do show up and pretend to have forgotten everything, including who owns what and where all the money goes, then plead the fifth to the rest, the judge has evidence enough to sanction them already. The less willing or able they are to rebut any of the allegations against them, the more trouble they're going to be in.

    At least, that's my theory. I just don't think the judge here will let them dodge the subpoenas, but I strongly suspect that they will try for another no show. Frankly, I assume this will get them into more trouble, not less. We can only hope.

  59. Matthew Cline  •  Mar 19, 2013 @8:43 pm

    @mcinsand:

    I doubt that Gibbs will be fine, even if his efforts at diligence (this time) may have kept his legal grave from getting deeper. In a way, though, the ability to show diligence now makes his previous behavior look worse, to me.

    I think it's Gibbs' lawyer who's showing all that diligence, not Gibbs himself.

  60. Basil Forthrightly  •  Mar 19, 2013 @11:46 pm

    > the reason the "llc's" don't have registered agents is because they are not actual llc's registered in any local in the country.

    Then that's a whole 'nother species of fraud. If they're not proper legal entities, then they should lack standing to sue, I would think.

  61. Anonymous  •  Mar 20, 2013 @12:35 am

    I once read a piece of legal advice that seems appropriate given the circumstances:

    "I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT JUST IGNORING LEGAL MATTERS, IT'S NOT GOING TO GO AWAY"

  62. Dan  •  Mar 20, 2013 @1:12 am
  63. Dan  •  Mar 20, 2013 @1:26 am

    District Judge Michael Anello, writing to Gordon Hansmeier and his counsel, Brett Gibbs:

    "Objector’s counsel’s indignant outrage at class counsel’s response is quite puzzling.Objector’s counsel certainly does not set forth any independently-actionable claims as the basis for the $30,000, demand, which seems is an amount picked out of thin air given the small amount of individual damages at issue in this case. Thus, the only “matter” counsel could wish to “settle” for$30,000, is the arguably inappropriate quid pro quo –essentially, “We’ll go away in exchange for $30,000; otherwise, we’ll file lengthy objections”–Objector’s counsel demanded. See, e.g., Vollmer v. Selden, 350 F.3d 656, 659-60 (7th Cir. 2003) (observing that attorneys intervening to object to a settlement in the hope of causing expensive delay and getting paid to go away would be an improper purpose that would justify sanctions). A recipient of such a letter could reasonably interpret it as a threat to file lengthy objections
    in retaliation for not acquiescing to the $30,000 demand. With this plausible interpretation in mind, then, class counsel’s opinion that a retaliatory filing violates Rule 11is not such a wild notion.
    See id."

    "Further still, even if such a need existed, the Court certainly would not appoint Objector’s counsel as co-lead class counsel based on the sort of behavior the letters exhibit"

    Great stuff…

  64. Dan  •  Mar 20, 2013 @1:28 am

    The excerpt in the previous comment was from Judge Anello in Shames et al v. Hertz Corporation et al, 07-cv-02174.

  65. That Anonymous Coward  •  Mar 20, 2013 @2:38 am

    Its been 2 days… we need to discover something new about Prenda et al.

  66. Pro Hac Vice  •  Mar 20, 2013 @3:41 am

    > There's plenty more, the trip down the rabbit hole begins on page 42. Gibbs accuses the class counsel of threatening his "associates" and gets almost hysterical. Totally bizarre.

    The funny thing is that he could simply have named his associates and proven them wrong. But I guess skilled lawyers don't bother with things like proof, they simply insist that they're right. Who would ever believe that their reason for failing to rebut the allegation was because they could not? Also, he might not actually know any of the people he works with. When you have huge three and four person companies, actually knowing anything about what anyone else is doing, or what they look like, or where to serve them with a subpoena.

    And I'm going to go with the suggestion of making April 2nd "someone gets disbarred" day. We can only hope that multiple people will celebrate that this year.

  67. Matthew Cline  •  Mar 20, 2013 @4:06 am

    the reason the "llc's" don't have registered agents is because they are not actual llc's registered in any local in the country.

    But you think Waxler would at least try to find registered agents, and then note that he couldn't find them.

  68. P Smith  •  Mar 20, 2013 @4:11 am

    > the reason the "llc's" don't have registered agents is because they are not actual llc's registered in any local in the country.

    > Then that's a whole 'nother species of fraud. If they're not proper legal entities, then they should lack standing to sue, I would think.

    The LLC's in question are foreign corporations formed under the laws of St Kitts and Nevis.

    Doubtless someone will correct me, but I don't think foreign corporations need to register locally in order to use the US court system to assert their rights (as opposed to having a local agent for service of documents related to the proceedings, which is one of the functions of counsel of record).

  69. SJD  •  Mar 20, 2013 @11:13 am

    Hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed this clip. Not made by me: I'm on the [making too much fun of Prenda] wagon.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oXu8bOrdnss]

  70. Anonymous  •  Mar 20, 2013 @12:36 pm

    @P Smith

    So doesn't that give foreign corporations a certain advantage in the event that they wish to defraud the US court system? I suppose the rules have not yet been amended to account for this particular flavor of abuse, but it seems like the layer of obfuscation and lack of accountability are the reasons Prenda moved from having real clients to these offshore shells.

    That brings up an interesting question though. So Steele, Hansmeier, Duffy, et al. think they can weasel out of accepting service to themselves personally. Fine. But what about refusing to accept service on behalf of their clients? Don't they have a duty to do so? Obviously, if they are all the same people as appears to be the case, it is unlikely that AF and Ingenuity will sue them for malpractice, but would this be a violation of the rules of professional conduct or sanctionable conduct?

    In this case, Waxler did not serve AF, Ingenuity and Livewire's attorneys at Prenda on their behalf, but why not? Was this a conscious omission to try to avoid trouble for Gibbs? If Steele and Hansmeier and Prenda could be shown to be obviously running interference for AF and Ingenuity, at what point would they risk voiding attorney-client privilege?

  71. Brian  •  Mar 21, 2013 @7:09 am

    Is this the same Brett Gibbs, an attorney dying of brain cancer? http://www.marinbike.org/News/Bulletin/20091202.shtml#DebShred

  72. SJD  •  Mar 21, 2013 @8:42 am

    @Brian Yes, the same. His ordeal is over long time ago, and generally people give him credit for his courage during his struggle with cancer.

    Nonetheless, it is disheartening when Brett tries to use these past events to advance his agenda in trolling cases. A year ago some POS anonymously trolled Brett saying nasty things, particularly about Gibbs's health issues. It did not take long for Brett to file a motion featuring those, admittedly disgusting, emails. Trying to move judge to pity did not work.

  73. Anonymous  •  Mar 21, 2013 @3:15 pm

    Anyone care to speculate on what sort of legitimate excuse they will have for avoiding service last week when they managed to read the previous order to appear on the 11th and have an attorney file an application for an order withdrawing the order to appear?

    There are additional reports of emails to John Does from LW Holdings' "accounting department," so someone over there has email access and maybe Waxler needs to expand his service.

    Even though nobody responded to my first Q regarding why Waxler failed to serve the shell companies on behalf of Prenda (since Prenda is their law firm), I'd like to continue with that line of speculation.

    Is Waxler's failure to serve the shell's attorneys tacit admission that he knows they are not really separate from Prenda? That seems like an easy conclusion given what we know, but it still seems like it would be in Waxler's client's best interest to carry on with the story that Gibbs was just taking orders, believed everything he was told (like that these were real client companies), and all the fraudulent stuff was the doing of "senior partners."

    But if Waxler is playing like there is no distinction between the shells and Prenda, it implies he knows there is no distinction between the shells and Prenda because Gibbs has told him there is no distinction between the shells and Prenda.

  74. Anonymous  •  Mar 21, 2013 @5:04 pm

    http://ia601609.us.archive.org/13/items/gov.uscourts.ilsd.61133/gov.uscourts.ilsd.61133.5.0.pdf

    Check out Cooper and Godfread's counterclaims to the Prenda Law defamation suit in Illinois. A nice email from Paul Hansmeier on page 16-17. Apparently he collects tough guy closing lines for his legal correspondence.

    "Welcome to the big leagues."

    They are going all in on attempting to pierce the corporate veil of AF, Ingenuity and Prenda.

  75. Ken  •  Mar 21, 2013 @5:10 pm

    Dammit, Anonymous, I have WORK to do.

  76. Matthew Cline  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:03 pm

    From the counterclaims document:

    Defendants also note that Paragraph 1 refers to Prenda rather than Plaintiff Duffy

    Well, well, well.

  77. Dan Weber  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:32 pm

    That document seems to switch which side is "Defendant" and which side is "Plaintiff" halfway through. Probably because there are lawsuits in both directions?

  78. Richard O  •  Mar 21, 2013 @7:26 pm

    @Dan You are correct. The first half is a paragraph by paragraph response to the complaint where Godfread and Cooper are the defendants. The second half is counterclaims against Steele et al.

    Of course the purpose behind piercing the veil is to make the lawyers personally responsible.

  79. Lyssandri  •  Mar 22, 2013 @8:53 am

    Oh, I SO wish Orly Taitz would get a case in front of Judge Wright – he sounds like EXACTLY what she needs!

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