Appeals Court Trashes Prenda's Appeal, Affirms Sanctions
from the many-shoes-dropping dept
The shoes keep dropping for Team Prenda (now basically down to just Paul Hansmeier and John Steele). As it appears that the FBI is getting close to bringing a criminal action against the two, it’s big appeal in the 9th Circuit has fallen flat on its face. This was the appeal of Judge Otis Wright’s blistering opinion, slamming Team Prenda for all sorts of dishonest and sketchy actions, passing on their info to law enforcement (possibly kicking off the FBI investigation) and issuing $81,319.72 in legal fees and sanctions for the games they played with the court, involving copyright trolling, lying about who actually ran the “company” that was suing (Ingenuity 13) and otherwise general lying to the court.
Steele had insisted that they would win on appeal and that Judge Wright was impossibly biased against them, but when the case was heard over a year ago, it appeared to go very badly for Team Prenda. And that’s confirmed today with this short and sweet ruling by the appeals court upholding Judge Wright’s original ruling. The crux: all of the evidence basically showed that Wright was absolutely correct that Hansmeier and Steele (and Paul Duffy, who has since passed away) were up to no good:
Based on the myriad of information before it—including depositions and
court documents from other cases around the country where the Prenda Principals
were found contradicting themselves, evading questioning, and possibly
committing identity theft and fraud on the courts—it was not an abuse of discretion
for Judge Wright to find that Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy were principals and the
parties actually responsible for the abusive litigation. Similarly, it was not an
abuse of discretion for Judge Wright to find that the Prenda Principals were indeed
the leaders and decision-makers behind Prenda Law’s national trolling scheme.
The district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering the Prenda
Principals to post additional bond to cover Doe’s attorney’s fees on appeal. The
district court had ample reason to do so. The Prenda Principals have engaged in
abusive litigation, fraud on courts across the country, and willful violation of court
orders. They have lied to other courts about their ability to pay sanctions…. They also failed to pay their own attorney’s
fees in this case. Considering the Prenda Principals’ tactics throughout this case, it
was not an abuse of discretion to increase the bond amount to cover the projected
cost of attorney’s fees on appeal.
So, yeah, the grand appeal here has fallen completely flat. This is the second appeals court to do so, as the 7th Circuit did it a couple years ago too. At this point, it’s difficult to see how either Hansmeier or Steele will keep their law licenses (though both have been filing ADA trolling cases in the meantime), and depending on how the FBI case goes, things may get even worse for them.