Who could resist a headline like that?
Ken at the legal blog Popehat broke the news that Prenda attorney Paul Duffy has sought dismissal of at least four pending infringement cases involving the Prenda-linked shell company AF Holdings. All four dismissals occurred in the Northern District of Illinois.
Of the six dismissals, three were “with prejudice,” meaning that AF Holdings cannot bring suit again in the future. In one case, Prenda dismissed the charges even though a default judgment had already been entered against the defendant.
Duffy also posted a “Notice of allegation” in each case regarding the Alan Cooper controversy. “Plaintiff categorically denies Mr. Cooper’s allegations, which arise nearly two years after certain of the alleged conduct occurred,” Duffy wrote. “Plaintiff is treating Mr. Cooper’s allegations with utmost seriousness and is investigating their substance.”
Of course, as Ken points out, there’s some tension between these two claims. If Prenda knows Cooper’s charges are false, then what is there to investigate? And if Prenda has done nothing wrong, why is it suddenly dismissing its lawsuits?
Most of the pending AF Holdings cases around the country are still active. Ars Technica checked dockets in Arizona, Virginia, and Tennesssee, and did not turn up any dismissals filed this week. Nor did Duffy file a “notice of allegations” in most of these cases. Perhaps these other cases involved different copyrighted works whose copyright assignment statement did not bear Cooper’s allegedly fraudulent signature.
“Paul Duffy is very likely doing the right thing legally and ethically by dismissing the cases and informing courts of the allegations against Prenda Law,” Ken wrote. But dismissing these cases now is not going to save Duffy or his colleagues from the wrath of Judge Otis Wright.
Jon Newton — myblogdammit
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