March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Nebraska high court again rules father’s consent necessary for adoption
For a second time, the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a father who was intentionally misled about the birth of his child can stop the baby’s adoption.
In a ruling Friday, the state’s high court said the consent of the father, listed in court documents as Jeremiah J., is required by state law for the child to be put up for adoption. Further, the high court said the child’s mother, identified as Dakota D., failed to prove Jeremiah met any of the exceptions for consent because she did not show he had abandoned her or the child or that he would be an unfit parent.
Jeremiah learned in June 2011 that Dakota, his ex-girlfriend, was pregnant. Five months later, he was contacted by an adoption agency caseworker who told him he had been identified as the baby’s father and that Dakota planned to put the baby, due Feb. 18, 2012, up for adoption, according to court documents. Jeremiah told the caseworker he did not want that, then tried many times to reach Dakota, but she did not return his calls, records say.
The child was born Feb. 9, but Jeremiah was not told of the birth. He contacted Dakota on Feb. 13, but she did not tell him the baby had been born. Jeremiah also repeatedly called the hospital and caseworker to try to learn of the birth, but they refused to tell him, citing privacy policies. The adoption was put on hold after Jeremiah filed his appeal.
Dakota later testified in court that she did not tell Jeremiah of the child’s birth because she did not want him to know about it during the five days he had to object to the adoption.
A Hall County court ruled in the mother’s favor, saying Jeremiah could have hired an attorney sooner, but the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed that ruling last year, noting the mother’s deception. The lower court then ruled in Jeremiah’s favor, and Dakota appealed, arguing he is not a fit parent because he has an unstable work history, has used drugs and has a criminal record, among other things.
She also argued that Jeremiah neglected the child after she was born, and did not provide financial support for her or the child.
But the state’s high court rejected those arguments Friday, saying Jeremiah’s criminal record consisted of misdemeanor convictions as a teen. The court also noted that Jeremiah has denied any drug use, and that he has a stable job paying more than $12 an hour.
“And in any event, low income or an unstable job history does not alone establish parental unfitness,” Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Michael McCormack wrote for the court.
The high court also rejected arguments that Jeremiah did not provide financial support.
“Dakota clearly does not want to have Jeremiah in the life of the child, and she chose to not provide Jeremiah with a fair opportunity to offer financial support,” McCormack wrote.
Jeremiah’s attorney, Mark Porto of Grand Island, said the next step will be to file a paternity action in an effort to establish custody and visitation issues.
“He’s thrilled that he’ll be able to be a part of his daughter’s life,” Porto said.
An attorney for Dakota did not immediately return a message left Friday.
Weller children file lawsuit against state DSHS look for scrib link great pleading to educate for future ….
March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Weller children file lawsuit against state DSHS
Attorney says agency was told of peril many times before acting
Buy this photoSandra and Jeffrey Weller enter Judge Barbara Johnson’s courtroom for sentencing in Clark County Superior Court March 20, 2013. The Wellers were convicted of imprisoning, starving and beating their adopted twins. Sandra received a sentence of 20 years, and Jeffrey received 21 years. (Steven Lane/The Columbian)
Five children who were abused by their parents in Vancouver have filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the state, alleging that the Department of Social and Health Services failed to adequately respond to dozens of complaints about their welfare over an eight-year period.
Jeffrey and Sandra Weller of Vancouver each were sentenced March 20, 2013, to two decades in prison for imprisoning, starving and beating their adopted twins. A Clark County jury found Sandra Weller guilty of nine separate counts related to the twins’ abuse; Jeffrey Weller was found guilty of 13, related to both the twins’ abuse and assaults against the couple’s biological children.
The children’s Seattle attorney, David Moody, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the children Friday in Clark Superior Court.
One of the children’s teachers alone warned the DSHS a dozen times about possible abuse of the children and urged that they be removed from the Weller home, Moody said.
“He has documents he kept,” Moody said Friday. “He has voice-mail messages. There are a number of educators from the local school district who voiced serious warnings to DSHS over a period of years.”
“Those concerns were ignored every time,” he said.
The lawsuit follows a $54 million tort claim the children filed Dec. 18 with the DSHS. Tort claims give public agencies a 60-day notice of a lawsuit and allows them an opportunity to settle a case before litigation.
In this case, the children received no response, Moody said.
John Wiley, a DSHS spokesman, said the agency often does respond to and resolve tort claims prior to litigation.
“However, this case is complex, involving numerous plaintiffs alleging negligence based on activities that occurred over a number of years. As such, it requires more than the statutory 60 days to analyze and investigate the merits of the plaintiffs’ claim,” Wiley said. “It would not be in the taxpayers’ best interest to quickly make a settlement offer on a $54 million claim without a reasonable and diligent investigation into that claim by the state.”
Wiley said the agency has no other comment on the lawsuit at this time.
“We’ll let the court decide the merits of the case,” he said. “We don’t comment on the merits of the case.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the DSHS failed to obtain Sandra Weller’s Child Protective Services history in California, where she adopted the twins with her ex-husband. There were seven referrals about Sandra Weller’s possibly abusing and neglecting the twins and some other foster children who were in her care between 1998 and 2002, the lawsuit states. At one point, the state of California revoked her foster care license and took the twins into protective custody, according to the lawsuit.
Some of the complaints that Washington caseworkers allegedly ignored included allegations of threats against one of the twins’ lives and withholding food as punishment, according to the lawsuit.
For example, in April 2004, the DSHS received a complaint that Sandra Weller had told the 8-year-old female twin that, “If I had a knife right now, you would be gone,” according to the lawsuit. A month later, the agency received another complaint that the twins were “so stressed they are literally pulling their hair out,” the lawsuit states.
In September 2004, there was a complaint that the Wellers locked food cabinets in the house and locked the children in their room, which had an alarm on the door, the lawsuit says.
DSHS social workers visited the Weller home in October 2004. On Nov. 1, 2004, the social worker concluded that the allegations of negligent treatment or maltreatment were “unfounded,” according to the lawsuit.
The DSHS finally removed the children from the Weller home Oct. 7, 2011, after one of the twins left a note about their abuse at her therapist’s office.
“Please, help,” the twin wrote. “Behind the laundry room door is a big wooden stick covered in blood. They use it on me and (my brother) … If you leave without us, we’ll all ran (sic) away.”
The twins were substantially underweight and malnourished when they were taken into state custody, according to testimony at the Wellers’ trial.
They also testified at trial that Jeffrey Weller, often at the instruction of Sandra, regularly beat them with a 42-inch-long piece of scrap lumber. Police investigators found it stained with blood.
Moody, the children’s attorney, specializes in civil litigation against the DSHS related to the abuse of children or vulnerable adults. He said he won the largest jury verdict award against the DSHS — $17.8 million — in February 2000 in a vulnerable adult abuse case in Pierce County in which he demonstrated that the DSHS was negligent by inadequately investigating abuse allegations.
March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Copyright, Child Custody and Cocaine in the County Courts
June 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
Copyright, Child Custody and Cocaine in the County Courts
Once upon a time there was The Steele Law Firm LLC, IL SOS records show it was formed by a 2006 University of Minnesota Law school graduate, John Lawrence Steele Jr. Esq. Billed as a family law firm in 2008 -2011, the Chicago, IL practice, the Steele Law Firm LLC was fighting custody battles and purported pornography pirates. Yes, budding family law attorney, John Steele was devoted to saving children and the tranny porn industry! He started filing suits against 1000′s of John Does, dubbed himself the “pirate slayer” and set out to make cool millions! Despite John Steele having a fine ring to it for a porn name, perhaps the Steele Law Firm wasn’t catchy enough for copyright trolling; seems Steele decided to try on some other names: Media Copyright Group, Steele Hansmeier, Prenda, Anti-Piracy Law Group and the Chicago Family Law Group LLC. Maybe it still wasn’t quite the right fit because in a rather complex web of “stories”, Steele claims to have retired, sold his family law firm to Peter R. Olson of the Peter Olson Law Firm and blogger extraordinaire Solo in Chicago.
Craigslist, where the finest lawyers come to but and sell law firms!
Now, according to a Solo in Chicago blog post by Glenview, IL native and Domestic Relations attorney, Peter R. Olson Esq. – in October 2008 he was checking out Craigslist, looking for God knows what; and he found a law firm for sale. By golly, it just happened to belong to his buddy, John the Pirate Slayer Steele! Despite the fact that Peter Olson had his own law firm and his Des Plaines condo was being foreclosed on and he was being sued by multiple creditors the purchase of a family law firm associated with pornography must have struck him as a solid investment.
No offense to Craigslist! Craigslist is great! Everyone knows that you can get some wonderful and affordable items on Craigslist: intimate encounters, a dorm fridge, slightly used slipcovers, re-homed lawn gnome, law firms – you know, really important stuff! A quick look at the Cook County docket shows that Mr. Steele seems to have dropped all but one or two of his special family clients in the summer / fall of 2011. But who needs clients when you’ve got a *found it on Craigslist* law firm to control! There is still no clarity about who actually owns the Steele Law Firm turned Chicago Family Law Group. Court documents show over a year of changing names, attorney, and firms numbers and stories with no end or truth in sight. Surely, NO ONE has ANY suspicion that they are laundering copyright money through that family law firm. No, doubt the Criminal Investigations Unit of the IRS won’t have any questions about Steele or Olson’s explanation about THAT firm. <cough*cough> Especially after that deposition about not paying any taxes! Nevis? St. Kitts? Offshore accounts? Trusts? Really? Come on guys who owns the CFLG?
So what happens when lawyers go rogue?
Despite Steele’s claims of retirement and the Prenda was solely owned by attorney, Paul A Duffy, Steele seemed to be popping up all over the country at all sorts of court dates. As Steele showed up in court room after court room, some other things seemed to follow. Yes, it was an outcry from many of extortion, lies, belligerent pleadings, threats in the hallway, improper service, questionable rulings in questionable places, and altered states. Claims of identity theft, forgeries, and out and out lies. It seems everyone affiliated with Steele stands accused of being involved with fraud. In time it seems most of the country caught on to the tricks and were no longer going to be fooled by troll games. On May 6th 2013, the Honorable Otis D Wright II issued an order for sanctions against Steele and some his minions in the form of 81k, a referral to the IRS criminal investigations unit and United States Attorney Office and the state and federal bar associations. Further, Judge Wright used words like “moral turpitude” as he described Steele, his minions and their business model. Still Cook County and St. Claire County seemed to be very willing to indulge the same behaviors that other federal court judges felt to be possibly criminal in nature. Oh the men of Prenda fought hard to sue the internet or anyone that dared to speak out about their experiences with Prenda or Steele and they fought to do it in St. Claire County. Gosh, hate much?
Rut-Ro-Raggy! The Feds want to talk to ya!
But it seems that there is a little problem, the Feds are in St. Clair County. Moreover, it seems that a buddy of Steele, James Fogarty was dealing some coke to some judges, Cook and Christ. Christ died of an overdose of cocaine allegedly provided to him by Fogarty. It looks that the drugs and mess don’t begin or end there or with those three people or that court system.
Bloomberg News and fightcopyrighttrolls.com both touched on the Steele – Forgarty connection or at least what they knew about at the time. But is there more to that story? Read the news of the impact that cocaine had in the St. Clair court cases, is it any different in Will County or Cook County?
There were a lot of questionable rulings and the cocaine / dealer connection now explains much of how those rulings came to be in St. Clair Co. but what about the other counties?
Great! We’ve got judges on drugs making rulings for their dealer and Steele is sending dealers to do his dirty work.
How can the average litigant stand a chance of receiving any sort of justice when they are up against attorneys that are allowed to practice despite the overwhelming evidence of their abuse and misuse of the legal process. Seriously, what sort of world do we live in where it’s okay for a lawyer to send a drug dealer to someones home to “serve them” legal papers. Papers which are now really under-fire because a tsunami of evidence has surfaced to show that the “pirate slayer” is really the honeypot pusher. Could it get anymore disgusting?
How can anyone get a shot at justice when the judge is indebted to their dealer; to keep them supplied with cocaine and heroine and to keep their drug problem a secret? It’s an environment where blackmail and extortion flourish and the innocent suffer the worst consequences. St. Clair news has already reported on how rulings were made in favor of the dealer. If you look at Cook County and Will County, is any different? When judges and lawyers get caught up in child porn, trafficking, drugs and dirty money – it’s clear that rulings are made based on vices, not the law.
What about the children in family court? Is this why so many rulings appear to defy both man and God’s law? If it’s not because of a vice, why are so many people crying out with nearly identical stories about their children being sent to live with their abuser? How does the court justify cutting off all contact with the protective parent? Now that the court has embarrassed “Parental Alienation”, how come they always seem to accuse the non-alienating parent of alienation? What is seen frequently is that the alienating parent pretends to be the “friendly parent” and accuses the other parent of PAS. The court then places the child with the REAL PA parent on the grounds that that parent will foster a relationship with the child and the other parent and then the REAL PA parent joins the court in cutting off all contact with the other parent akin to a termination of parental rights. Why isn’t THAT parental alienation? Why are children so frequently turned over to abusers despite the overwhelming evidence? There are cases where the parent is clearly involved in drugs, child pornography, sexual abuse, and other harmful behaviors and the judges punish the parent that offers the court proof. It almost seems like the more evidence the protective parent has, the worse the ruling. The parents with no evidence of abuse and false allegations win. The parents with pictures of the other parent watching child porn on the computer and witnesses of physical abuse lose. Good parents are disposable. Unlike coke and porn, good people and good parents just don’t seem to have much value anymore.
Looking at the fall out in St. Clair, the news lists some rulings that were not made because of the law or the merits of the case, the rulings were made based on vices and personal issues. This has to be eradicated. The very purpose of the legal system is to enforce the law for the betterment of society. When lawyers are allowed to use forged documents, extortion and break the law – justice is denied. Evil prevails. When judges are beholden to their dealers, the law becomes useless. The best pleading or the most skilled lawyer won’t help the case, because it’s decided on a drug deal, not the law. We might as just cancel court and send the judges home, because noting good comes of this situation.
It’s great that the FBI is investigating St. Clair, but they need to come take a look at why Judge Pornlito was allowed to sit on the bench in Will County watching porn on the county computer on the tax payer dollars while making decisions about the futures of children and families. They need to look at why the Cook County Judge(s) in the Lucy Vega case doesn’t want to see the evidence of the father allegedly watching child porn. They need to look at why so many complaints about Due Process and abusive and erratic behavior are posted on the Robing Room about Judge Raul Vega in room 3001 at the Daley Center. They need to look at why Child Representative Jerry S. Goldberg used someone with a history of domestic violence to provide “professional supervision” between alleged abusers and their children. How about the DOJ coming in to take a look at the blatant ADA violations?
It wouldn’t take a big fancy sting. It just takes sitting in a few court rooms for a few days and taking a look at the records. (The complete record)
A check on the ARDC web site shows that John Steele, Peter Olson, and Paul Duffy are still free to practice law today. The judges of Will and Cook County go unchecked.
WHERE ARE THE CHARGES?
We need more Judge Wright’s – to judge right. We need eyes on the court and people to speak out about it and not shut up until the problems are fixed. We need the FBI to look at the similarities in judgments in Will, Cook and St. Clair Co. – maybe that won’t be the only similarity they find. The common threads might be right in front of their eyes. Really, right in front of your eyes.
Thank you for visiting today’s blog posting Willcountyprose @ https://willcountyprose.wordpress.com/
Be sure to come back and read the extra special mid week blog post.
Special thanks to the good guys – doing good work. I like your suit. You do this country proud.
Thanks to the judges and attorneys that are doing a stellar job. Your services are deeply appreciated.
Justice will out!
Read more about Judge Otis D. Wright II and his outstanding command of the law and justice:
Read more about Lucy Vega’s battle to save her son:
Read more about Prenda and his purported porn piracy shakedown:
Read more about the man child rep, Jerry Goldberg used to provide professional supervision between parents and children:
Read more about the rulings St. Clair Co, IL judges made in favor of their drug dealer:
Read more about the suspected collusion between Prenda attorneys and opposing counsel in Cook co and St. Clair co.:
*Be sure to read the “Agreed Orders” linked in the FCT web site. Look familiar?
Read more about what happened to The Steele Law Firm LLC and Chicago Family Law Group LLC:
Read more about how “SJD” (Sophisticated Jane Doe) and Die Troll Die successfully kicked off a movement to fight back against abuse of the legal process:
View the interactive timeline, map and cartoons of the evolution of IMHO fraud:
The timeline has some links to some documents that you might not have expected. Over 360 & growing!
Tagged: Anti-Piracy Law Group, Arcadia Security, CFAA, child custody, child rep, child support, Copyright, Copyright Troll, corruption in family court,dhs, family court, family court corruption, FBI, gal, John Steele, JUDGE POLITO, judges, Judicial Hellhole, Kevin Hoerner, Michael O’Malley, non-custodial parent, obtaining evidence, order of protection, parental Alienating Behavior, Paul Duffy, Paul Hansmeier, PORN JUDGE, PORNLITO, Prenda Law,St.Clair county, Steve Jones, Steve Lightspeed, Title IV-D, vawa, visitation intruption
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February 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
Prenda saga continues as appeals over sanctions move forward
Steele, Hansmeier, Duffy
The days of Prenda Law filing copyright infringement and computer hacking suits may be over, but attorneys with ties to the now-dissolved Chicago firm still have a ways to go before they can close the book on the litigation practice that has received scrutiny from judges across the nation.
Since about 2010, Prenda has brought hundreds of complaints, accusing thousands of people of illegally downloading pornography by hacking into the computer systems of its clients, some of which have been called out by judges as shell corporations created to benefit the very attorneys representing them.
While the majority of these suits are now closed, the result of voluntarily dismissals by the plaintiffs, dismissals at the hands of judges, default judgments and settlements, Prenda-affiliated attorneys continue to fight a few suits and are appealing at least a pair of sanction orders handed down over their alleged misconduct.
And the reach of the nationwide litigation extends outside of the federal and state courtrooms that have served as backdrops for the battles between those believed to be behind Prenda’s practice – Paul Duffy, Paul Hansmeier and John Steele– and dozens of defense attorneys.
In May, these three attorneys and others were referred to the criminal investigation unit of the Internal Revenue Service, at least one U.S. Attorney’s office and the state and federal bars where they are admitted to practice. These agencies typically don’t comment on pending or potential investigations.
The referral came in what has since become a well-known and commonly cited order from U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II in California that sanctioned Duffy, Hansmeier, Steele, Brett Gibbs and Prenda Law, as well two of its clients: AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13.
Applying a Star Trek theme to his order, Wright accused the attorneys of engaging in “brazen misconduct and relentless fraud” and said they “outmaneuvered the legal system” with their practices, which have earned a reputation for attempting to coerce settlements from John Doe defendants and exploit the court’s subpoena powers.
Judges who sanctioned Prenda and its affiliated attorneys and firms since Wright’s order have made similar comments in ordering them to pay thousands of dollars in fees and costs to defense attorneys and defendants, including a few Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that fought to quash subpoenas seeking personally identifiable information on Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
Several defense attorneys involved in the litigation said they wonder why Prenda didn’t throw in the towel after being referred to the authorities in Wright’s order and slapped with subsequent sanctions by judges in California, Illinois and Minnesota.
“A sane person would have stopped a long time ago, but they just keep going,” said Jason Sweet, a Massachusetts attorney who represents several John Does and named defendants across the country. “Why these guys aren’t in jail yet, I have no idea.”
Illinois defense attorney Laura Beasley agreed, referring to Prenda’s litigation as “unbelievable” and “a horrible abuse of our judicial system.”
“They should be disbarred,” she said. “I can’t believe they aren’t already.”
Attempts to reach Duffy and Steele were unsuccessful.
A message left for Duffy, a Chicago attorney who is representing Prenda in a defamation suit in the Northern District of Illinois, was not immediately returned and several calls made to the number Steele, a former Chicago attorney who now lives in Florida, listed in recent court filings resulted in an automated message that said “We could not complete your call. Please try again.”
Hansmeier, who continues to practice in Minnesota, said “no comment” when reached by phone today.
According to other published media reports, Hansmeier helped start Class Justice, an advocacy organization in Minneapolis. The group’s website states it works to promote “accessibility for all people, consumer rights, and class action fairness.
A media report from November details a lawsuit alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the group filed in October on behalf of a visually impaired woman who later said she had no idea her name was being as a plaintiff.
The woman was cited in the report as saying she thought she was helping her cousin, who asked her to evaluate websites for Class Justice, work she was told would be used to educate businesses about money they are losing by not making their sites ADA accessible.
Wright’s May order appears to mark the first of about a handful of orders imposing sanctions and fees on Prenda and some of its attorneys.
In Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe, Wright doubled an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for defense lawyers to $81,319.72. After missing the deadline, he ordered Prenda, its affiliated attorneys and clients to pay an extra $1,000 per day, per person or entity.
California attorney Morgan Pietz, who represents some of the defendants in this case, previously said the sanctions eventually reached about $237,000 and after “after a bit of kicking and screaming,” they were ultimately paid.
Wright’s order is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The briefing schedule is underway and records show the court last month extended a deadline, giving the sanctioned parties until March 17 to file an optional reply brief.
Another sanctions order Prenda has appealed is now in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, where Hansmeier filed an opening brief last month on behalf of himself, Duffy and Steele.
This appeal is over since-retired U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy’s November order in Lightspeed Media Corp. v Anthony Smith, et al., requiring the trio to pay $261,025 in fees to the defendants in the southern Illinois computer hacking case.
The defendants in this case – Anthony Smith, AT&T and Comcast, as well as an unnamed representative from each of the ISPs — have until Feb. 26 to submit their brief to the Seventh Circuit.
In an argument over personal responsibility included in their opening brief, it appears the Prenda-affiliated attorneys try to pass off the blame to Belleville, Ill. attorney Kevin Hoerner, who they say filed the amended complaint in the case while serving as co-counsel, not local counsel.
Hoerner, who is not subject to the sanctions order, did not return a message seeking comment.
He is also mentioned in, but again not subject to, another recent order sanctioning Prenda and Duffy inPrenda Law v. Godfread, et al.
Earlier this month, U.S. Judge John Darrah of Chicago’s federal court granted a request for sanctions from Minnesota attorney Paul Godfread and his client, Alan Cooper, who are defendants in the consolidated defamation suit Prenda and Duffy brought last year.
In his order, Darrah called out Prenda and Duffy for lying and engaging in duplicitous behavior regarding remand motions filed in southern Illinois’ federal court and before him, as well as for “grasping at straws” in their unsuccessful arguments against sanctions.
He also mentioned alleged misrepresentations that Hoerner made prior to the case’s removal to federal court that attempted to get an amended complaint filed in the St. Clair County Circuit Clerk’s office without permission from the court.
The amended complaint named Alpha Law Firm in Minnesota as a plaintiff, an addition that would have destroyed the defendants’ diversity argument and potentially allowed the plaintiffs to remand the suit to circuit court.
The defendants’ attorneys, Erin Russell of Chicago and Sweet of Massachusetts, filed an itemization of fees last week, asking Darrah to make Prenda and Duffy pay them at least $26,452.50 for the 60-plus hours they spent working on the sanctions motion, as well as fighting Prenda’s remand requests.
Darrah has not yet attached a dollar figure to his sanctions order as Duffy and Prenda have until Feb. 20 to submit a response to the defendants’ itemization of requested fees.
Given the firm’s track record of appealing sanctions order, it would not be unlikely that Prenda and Duffy appeal this one to the Seventh Circuit.
Besides these three sanctions order, it also appears that federal judges in California have ordered Prenda-affiliates to pay nearly $10,000 attorneys’ fees in AF Holdings v. David Trinh and about $22,000 in AF Holdings v. Joe Navasca.
And last year, records show a state judge in Minnesota ordered plaintiff Guava LLC, its attorney Michael Dugas, and Alpha Law to pay more than $63,000 in attorneys’ fees in Guava LLC v. Spencer Merkel.
Court records show Dugas also represents Prenda-client AF Holdings in Minnesota’s federal court, where he sought to withdraw as counsel in the case last year.
An August 2013 order denying his request states his withdrawal would delay the progress of the case and noted he signed the complaint that allegedly forged documents were attached to. Records show he continues to represent AF Holdings, along with Hansmeier, in that suit.
Dugas did not return a message.
Although his request to withdraw didn’t appear to include a reason, he isn’t the only attorney involved in Prenda litigation who has tried to get out.
In an August 2013 motion seeking to withdraw as counsel in AF Holdings v. Sandipan Chowdhury,attorney Daniel Ruggiero told a Massachusetts federal court that “there are several things that have come to light regarding plaintiff and its related owners, officers and lawyers since counsel agreed to file and represent plaintiff in this case.”
“For the sake of brevity,” Ruggiero directed the court to read Wright’s sanctions order and added that “under the circumstances here, I believe the Rules of Professional Conduct are highly relevant here.”
He then cited rules stating that a lawyer should not represent a client or should withdraw as counsel if “the representation will result in violation of the rules of professional conduct or other law” and “the client has used the lawyer’s services to perpetrate a crime or fraud.”
Pointing to Wright’s findings, Ruggiero wrote in his withdrawal request that “it is clear that continued representation of” AF Holdings puts him at “a compromised risk.”
In addition, Gibbs, the San Francisco attorney who was sanctioned in the Ingenuity case in California, testified in March that he eventually left his position as of counsel to Prenda and the now-dissolved Steele Hansmeier firm in Chicago.
He told Wright that anything that may have been improper in these cases was done under the direction of his superiors and in response to a question from the judge over whether he felt like he was duped by Steele and Hansmeier, Gibbs said, “In a way, yes.”
August 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Courts Start Demanding Actual Answers From Team Prenda
from the and-on-and-on dept
Of course, the main reason for making this filing isn’t to reopen the cases, or to make laughable claims about Alan Cooper, but rather this:
However, Plaintiff has reached the outer-limits of what it can learn without the coercive power of formal discovery. As such, Plaintiff respectfully requests the Court to issue an order scheduling a Rule 26(f) conference so it resolve this matter as quickly as possible.
Basically, it’s Paul Hansmeier asking the court for a fishing expedition against Cooper and his lawyer Paul Godfread. It’s hard to see this as anything more than an attempt to be a nuisance.
However, it seems highly unlikely that magistrate judge Noel is buying anything that Hansmeier is selling. Instead, his latest order shows that he’s getting pretty damn tired of Team Prenda’s runaround. It makes no mention of Hansmeier’s filing, denies the local counsel Michael Dugas’ request to be dropped from the case (noting that he signed the forged papers), repeats the findings of Judge Wright in California, and then orders AF Holdings/Team Prenda to explain why Judge Wright’s findings shouldn’t apply equally to these cases:
The plaintiff shall file a memorandum of law on or before August 26, 2013 showing cause as to why Judge Wright’s factual findings are not binding against it in these cases under the common law doctrine of issue preclusion. See, e.g., Bechtold v. City of Rosemount, 104 F.3d 1062, 1066-67 (8th Cir. 1997) (issue preclusion appropriate under Minnesota law if (1) the issues are identical; (2) the prior adjudication ended with a final judgment on the merits; (3) the plaintiff was a party to the prior adjudication; and (4) the plaintiff was given a full and fair opportunity to be heard on the adjudicated issue).
The Clerk of Court shall correct the docket to reflect that Mr. Michael K. Dugas remains counsel of record for the plaintiff. Although he filed a notice of withdrawal and substitution, his withdrawal was not effective upon filing under Local Rule 83.7(b) because it would delay the progress of this case. He signed the complaint to which the forged documents were attached. If Mr. Dugas wishes to withdraw as counsel of record for the plaintiff, he must proceed in accordance with Local Rule 83.7(c) and establish good cause to do so.
In other words, Team Prenda’s can’t just ignore Judge Wright’s ruling here, and it certainly sounds like Judge Noel has no time for Hansmeier’s plans to play discovery games.
Meanwhile, back in the Navasca case in Northern California, it appears that the recent sanctionsagainst Team Prenda that Judge Edward Chen awarded have been ignored by Team Prenda, and a magistrate judge in that court, Nador Vadas, would like to know why. Oh, that’s not all Judge Vadas would like to know. It appears that Judge Vadas is now taking a special interest in the now-infamous Paul Hansmeier deposition from this case, which was one of the key documents that convinced Judge Wright that Prenda was up to no good. Judge Vadas has some questions he’d like AF Holdings to answer, and they are the kinds of questions that Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, John Steele and Mark Lutz probably don’t want to answer about who actually is behind AF Holdings and the various “trusts” such as Salt Marsh:
Hansmeier testified that AF Holdings was owned by a trust, but he could not testify about the name of the trust…. In a May 2, 2013 filing, Mark Lutz, who identifies himself as someone who “manage[s] various adult content related companies, including AF Holdings LLC,” declared that “Salt Marsh is the name of the trust that owns AF Holdings”…. At the hearing, AF Holdings should be prepared to identify the name of its owner and any entity or person having a financial interest in the outcome of this case, beyond Salt Marsh.
AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why it represented that there were “no known persons, associations of persons, firms, partnerships, corporations (including parent corporations), or other entities (other than the parties themselves) that may have personal or affiliated financial interest in the subject matter in controversy, or any other kind of interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding other than the parties.” Doc. No. 2 (Certificate of Interested Entities).
AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why Paul Hansmeier was designated as its 30(b)(6) deponent instead of Mark Lutz.
Paul Hansmeier was unable to testify about “the exact mechanisms by which the money goes from” to AF Holdings from the law firms that represent it…. AF Holdings should be prepared to explain these “exact mechanisms” at the hearing, and also should be prepared to provide an accounting of the funds it has received from persons it has sued or threatened to sue for copyright violation based on allegedly illegal downloading of its adult titles.
Those all seem like important questions. Questions that would be easy to answer if there were nothing nefarious going on, but which Team Prenda has avoided answering in any meaningful way for months. The hearing at which they need to have such answers ready will be on August 28th. I imagine it will be quite interesting.
- When Even Totally Bogus Copyright Threats Over Court Documents Comes Close To Shutting Down A Site, Something’s Broken
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- Prenda Lawyer Would Like Future Documents Sealed Because Techdirt Commenters Said Mean Stuff About Him
- Team Prenda Ordered To Pay Yet Another $64k In Yet Another Case
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Andrew Norton (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:41pm
Lutz depositionAnd to go with the ‘AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why Paul Hansmeier was designated as its 30(b)(6) deponent instead of Mark Lutz.’ Mark Lutz was due to be deposed at 9am this morning at the state bar of Georgia (http://ia801600.us.archive.org/7/items/gov.uscourts.gand.188990/gov.uscourts.gand.188990.44.2.pdf)
He didn’t show. Judge O’Kelley’s not going to look favorably on it. Of course, maybe the reason he didn’t show was because the deposition order was worded to specifically name Lutz, and state that 30(b)(6) substitutions are not acceptable as he is the material witness, not ‘the company’.
That One Guy (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:54pm
Re: Lutz depositionOh please tell me the judge is as we speak writing out a bench warrant, having even one of those scumbags dragged to court in cuffs would be awesome, and give at least some evidence that lawyers or no they still have to follow the rules or suffer the consequences(something that has been sorely lacking to date).
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Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:04am
Re: Manning got 35 yearsYou need to check your time machine. That was posted some hours agohttp://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130821/07423624269/bradley-manning-sentenced-to-35-years.shtml.
Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:09amHow does our system let something like this go so far? Why do our courts give such leniency in the face of such shenanigans? If I was on trial, why do I think I would be severely punished for [not showing up to depositions, committing fraud, ignoring court orders, etc…] but it seems like these people get a slap on the wrist, a continuance, and another chance? I will let my lawyer friends know they don’t have to wear pants to court next time…
Lurker Keith, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:11am
another go aroundLooks like it’s time for another chorus of “we Plead the Fifth.”
I have a feeling this time will be worse than last time… & last time they were targeted for various investigations, including RICO suspicions. Those investigations may pick up steam if another judge throws some more facts at them.
Anon E. Mous (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:37am
Re: Lutz depositionI think we all know why Lutz didn’t show, there is no way Lutz will make it through a Q&A session.
The Prenda gang will go into damage control mode here and deny, appeal and make motions to dismiss this Judge from re-opening this.
We have all sen how Team Prenda works and the usual tactics they employ when they are in trouble. That being said can anyone here see Steele letting Lutz answer any question regarding anything to do with these trusts and entities that were set up.
Now way is Steele going to let Lutz answer anything, especially after Lutz Q&A session with the Judge in the Sunlust case where Lutz bumbled his way through and Steele had to feed him answers from the gallery before he got caught.
It is the same reason Hansmeier went and answered the questions in the deposition and not Lutz, they know Lutz will get trapped and it will be entered as a matter of record with the court.
I find it highly amazing that Hansmeier who claims to no nothing of these cases much like Steele keeps popping into them and submitting documents to the court about them, now why would that be?
The Prenda gang will do everything they can to keep Lutz away from this, look for Lutz to be unable to be reached for the next while (I am sure John is running out and buying Lutz an airline ticket to Mexico right now).
Lutz will never be able to keep all the stories straight about who and how he owns this and all these different entities and who Salt Marsh and what type of trust these are.
Lutz plain and simple isn’t smart enough, and neither is the Prenda gang apparently for a bunch of guys who know nothing about any of this, but yet are submitting documents to the court on it…lol
Should be interesting to say the least, don’t sell those popcorn stocks just yet people.
Anon E. Mous (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:47am
Re:That is because the Prenda gang for so long has used the gaps in the system to take advantage of it. These guys have looked for antiquated pieces of legislation and statutes to sue people.
They have done this time and time again, and when it is lucrative and that easy cash is coming in, it is easy to forget your oath to uphold the laws as an officer of the court.
Judges calendar are usually so full they don’t notice stuff like this, and the Prenda gang when they faced a Judge that did simply withdrew the cases from that court and re-filed elsewhere.
The Prenda gang Judge Shopped as part of it’s strategy and loves to file in states that are overburdened and is troll friendly.
It is only because of opposing counsel and the internet community that started to get word out to the people and the courts that there was something very wrong going on here that Prenda is now finding it self accountable to a degree.
It’s just Judges are now turning a skeptical eye to how these guys have played the justice system for ill gotten gains.
Postulator (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:52amThese Prenda assclowns may find themselves locked up and facing contempt charges if they continue on their current course. You can’t get to live it up in the Caribbean with your hard-earned (I mean, fraudulently earned) money if you’re doing time.
Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 5:54am
Re:Maybe because they aren’t on trial? First, Prenda has only been involved in civil suits, not criminal ones. Second, they have been the plaintiff’s lawyers, though maybe also the plaintiff – okay, almost certainly the plaintiff. But this whole thing is not a trial, nor does it involve a participant in a trial (maybe, sort of). It is effectively a administrative investigation – and they may not have actually broken any laws (as opposed to some lawyering rules) Now, we follow it obsessively, but this is deep weeds administrative stuff. Sending law enforcement to wrangle up their children so that said children can be raped to death by super-max inmates as an object lesson is considered just a wee bit overkill at this point (even for the bizarrity of this situation). When – and I really do believe that “if” is not on the table at this point – they are actually charged with a crime, then yes, their children can be served up to the Blood God. But we’re still at the point of a meter maid watching a car to see if the meter dings; they generally do not send SAT out to round you up so you can watch her wait for you to be in violation (though I apologize if I just gave some city’s SWAT team ideas).
JohnnyRotten (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 10:12am
Re: Re:John Steele, is that you?
Seriously – pretending that the whole Prenda saga is about them forgetting to dot an “i” or cross a “t” is ludicrous in the extreme.
A bench warrant for missing a deposition without cause isn’t some sacrifice to a “Blood God” or inviting “rape” by “super-max inmates”, nor is it unusual or exceptional.
Wait – are you OOTB in disguise?
June 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Legal aid cuts ”overwhelm” family courts
11 June 2013
There has been a massive increase in the number of couples holding child custody cases in family courts after legal aid for such action has been cut, it has been claimed. Since this April, around 200,000 people a year no longer qualify for state aid in divorce and child contact cases.
The government has insisted that legal aid should be restricted in its application and claimed that taxpayers’ money was being spent on cases that people should pay for themselves. However, a spin-off of this policy has been greater use of the family court system which is said to be at risk of collapsing under the pressure.
Last month there was a 27 per cent increase in the number of child custody cases, which have virtually doubled in two years – although this is obviously not connected to the current cuts.
Christina Blacklaws of the Law Society council told the BBC: “The whole system is really creaking at seams and could collapse in on itself. This points to some quite difficult times in the future. It could mean that there would not be proper access to justice for those facing family breakdown because they would have to wait so long.”
Cambridge lawyer Adam Moghadas, a spokesperson for the Resolution association of family lawyers, was quoted in Cambridge News as saying that cutting family legal aid was an attack on childhood and the family.
“We’re talking about the health and wellbeing of families at a time when teenagers are supposed to be running amok and with the riots less than two years ago,” he said. “It’s hypocrisy at a time when you’re lambasting absent fathers and you’re making it harder for them to access justice and have contact with their children.”