Prenda Law Misses Sanctions Deadline, Faces More Penalties

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — Prenda Law attorneys have missed the deadline to pay $81,000 in sanctions.

U.S. District Judge Otis Wright threatened even more sanctions if Prenda Law, along with attorneys John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, Brett Gibbs, as well as AF Holdings LLC and Ingenuity 13 LLC, don't pay up.

Wright has imposed a penalty of $1,000 per day, per person or entity, until the attorneys-fee sanction award is paid or a bond for the same amount is posted.

Prenda Law and its principals were hit with $81,000 in sanctions after Wright said that the firm's attorneys "outmaneuvered the legal system" in their attempts to exact payment through boilerplate processes from thousands of defendants accused of illegally sharing porn through torrents.

On Monday, a two-judge panel with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Hansmeier's emergency appeal that to stay sanctions levied against him.

The appellate court, however, gave Hansmeier the option to appeal sanctions with Wright who said in yesterday's order, "the court finds no basis to grant Prenda’s request."

Wright yesterday denied Hansmeier's application for stay of enforcement and ordered Prenda and others to pay up.

"Prenda now seeks to remedy a problem of their own making," Wright said in his order. "By refusing to pay, or at least refusing to post a supersedeas bond, Prenda (and the other parties) cannot establish that it is without fault in creating the crisi sthat requires ex parte relief, or that the crisis occurred as a result of excusable neglect.”

Prenda Law attorneys earlier this year were summoned by Wright to discuss their method of operation going after those who share porn through the Internet.

In addition to monetary sanctions Wright  also referred Prenda Law attorneys to state and federal bar disciplinary panels, as well as U.S. prosecutors and the IRS. He also ordered the notification of “all judges before whom these attorneys have pending cases.”

Wright said in his earlier ruling this month that Prenda Law "discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs."

"And they exploit this anomaly by accusing individuals of illegally downloading a single pornographic video," he said. "Then they offer to settle — for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense."

View Wright's order denying stay of enforcement and order to pay award