Some things never die and it appears the Josh Hatfield case (AF Holding LLC, v. John Doe, et al, 4:12-cv-02049) is one of them. This case is akin to a bad horror movie in which the monster keeps getting up after repeatedly being struck by all manner of instruments. Brett Gibbs must be a glutton for punishment. Since my previous post on this case on 5 Sep 12, Prenda is still trying to keep Mr. Hatfield on the hook.
The following 7 Jan 13, court order is a good synopsis of how Prenda Law Inc., operates and how low these bozos are. SAC_Denied_02049(CA) On 4 Sep 12, the court dismissed Mr. Hatfield (negligence claim only) because there was no special relationship between Plaintiff and Mr. Hatfield AND because the Copyright Act preempted this claim. The court did give Plaintiff until 4 Oct 12, to serve the remaining “Phantom Doe.” Instead, on 28 Sep 12, Troll Gibbs filed a motion with the court requesting approval to file a second amended complaint (SAC) against Mr. Hatfield.
The court looked at the initial proposed SAC and told Prenda to “try again.” At the 7 Nov 12, court hearing, Troll Gibbs was told he would have to persuade the court he had discovered “additional evidence,” on Mr. Hatfield that had not come to light for more than a year. The court gave Prenda one week to submit a revised proposed SAC demonstrating diligence and supported the “new facts.” The court told Troll Gibbs it would prefer to resolve the case on the merits, rather than simply dismissing it for failure to serve, but there were concerns with the lack of diligence and if the alleged new facts were sufficient to state a claim.
On 14 Nov 12, Troll Gibbs submitted the proposed amended SAC. ProSAC_Cover_02049(CA) Pro_SAC_02049(CA) Pro_SAC_ExA_02049(CA) Pro_SAC_ExB_02049(CA) The court noted this proposed SAC was identical to the first one except for the new section of “Plaintiff’s Further Investigation of Defendant.”
This section is truly a masterpiece of equine excrement, which even a failing law school student would think twice before submitting for a grade. Take a read of this section and try not to choke on what Prenda tries to put forward as evidence to show that they now believe Mr. Hatfield is the actual infringer of Plaintiff’s movie. Be careful ladies and gentlemen. If you have any of these indicators, you could be named as a “Copyright Infringer.”
- Hatfield had “a large Internet presence” and “that presence demonstrated defendant’s knowledge of computers and the Internet”
- Facebook account (unsure if it is Josh Hatfield) that states Hatfield “likes” movies – “pretty much any movie”
- MySpace page showing that Hatfield like playing video games
- Couldn’t determine if Hatfield had any neighbors
- Some Tenants in Hatfield apartment building were running a business out of their homes
- Hatfield resided in an apartment with a 34-year-old female with a different last name and they are not married
- Hatfield has a criminal record in Oregon. Two instances of “VIOL OF BASIC RULE” (Jan 1999 & Jun 2001). Note: This is likely a traffic offense
- Prenda found no evidence Hatfield had a wireless Internet connection OR if one ever existed, that such network was unsecured
- Prenda never found any declaration under oath from Defendant stating clearly he had not infringed on Plaintiff’s work
Gibbs then has the gall to state based on the above information and that Mr. Hatfield was the ISP subscriber for the IP address, it had a good faith to name Josh Hatfield as the Defendant in this case.
Funny how Mr. Hatfield was not actually going to be named as a defendant (for copyright infringement) until the court dismissed the negligence claim. Mr. Hatfield told the court that a few hours after being dismissed for negligence (4 Sep 12), “counsel for AF Holdings sent an email threatening to sue him as the infringer unless he agreed to pay a particular settlement demand.”
The court did find that Plaintiff unduly delayed in seeking leave to amend the complaint (name Hatfield) and that “its conduct is at least suggestive of bad faith.” The court did note that Plaintiff’s “investigation” started four days after the court dismissed the negligence claim and AF Holdings threatened to sue Hatfield. The court found the new allegations in the revised proposed SAC to be weak at best.
The court finds further that the new allegations in the revised proposed SAC are vague and speculative, and do not demonstrate diligence or add any substance to the claims. The allegation that AF Holdings discovered that Hatfield has “a large Internet presence” is conclusory and appears to be based on pure speculation about social media accounts that may or may not be registered to Hatfield. The lengthy quotation from the
rental ad is irrelevant to the claims asserted in the complaint; at most, it simply supports AF Holdings’ claim that Hatfield lives in an 8-unit building.is conclusory and appears to be based on pure speculation about social media accounts that may or may not be registered to Hatfield. In addition, the alleged “research” about Hatfield’s “neighbors” is contradicted by the alleged “research” regarding the other residents of the building, as AF Holdings claims to have discovered no information about Hatfield’s neighbors, and to have simultaneously learned that “a few [unidentified] tenants” in Hatfield’s building were/are running businesses out of their apartments. In any event, this “research” sheds no light on the alleged infringement.
Similarly, the allegation that Hatfield is sharing the apartment with someone of the opposite sex, and that “there is no indication that the two are married” is meaningless, as is the allegation that AF Holdings found “no evidence” that Hatfield has a wireless connection. Finally, the allegation that Hatfield has a criminal record is vague as to the offenses charged or any other details.
For this reason, the court denied Plaintiff request to file the SAC naming Mr. Hatfield as the defendant, denied Plaintiff’s motion to strike Mr. Hatfield’s opposition, and denied Mr. Hatfield’s request to dismiss the case in accordance with FRCP 42(b).
What Is Next
As this was such a POS SAC, I can only believe Prenda is trying to get the cases dismissed outright by looking like a total fool. Good job guys! Hey John, Why don’t you put this SAC up on you Web site to show your clients what a great job you do for them!
Prenda probably hopes the court will dismiss it and then they can move onto Mr. Ranallo motioning for attorney fees and costs. The judge doesn’t appear to want to play ball with Prenda and will likely let it simmer for a bit. I think Mr. Ranallo will let it sit until Prenda answers the “Alan Cooper” questions concerning AF Holdings LLC, and the possible mass fraud they are responsible for. There is the possibility troll Gibbs will ask the court to reconsider, but even that request is to far-fetched for Prenda… or is it?