Prenda Law Appeals Lightspeed Media Sanctions

Dec 17, 2013 12:15 PM PST

CHICAGO — Prenda Law attorneys yesterday appealed a recent order that levied $261,000 in sanctions over tactics used in a copyright infringement case brought on by Lightspeed Media Corp.

Prenda Law, which has been prolific in exacting payments from consumer porn piracy defendants in the past three years but lately has been defending its litigation strategies, appealed the order to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last month, U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy said that Prenda Law attorneys John Steele, Paul Hansmeier and Paul Duffy filed a meritless case against defendant Anthony Smith.

The case against Smith alleged that he was the ringleader of a hacking gang that was said to have obtained stolen passwords to break into about 40 Lightspeed porn sites.

Prenda Law, at the behest of Lightspeed Media, made additional claims against corporate executives at AT&T and Comcast Cable Communications aided, abetted and conspired with the hacker to steal its content because they refused to comply with subpoenas and turn over subscriber data based on IP addresses. Prenda Law later added the telecommunications executives as defendants in the suit, seeking $200,000 from all of the defendants, as well as punitive awards.

But in March, without notice, Duffy filed with the court that Lightspeed intended to drop the suit.

The motion spurred defendants into action with requests for reimbursement of attorneys fees because the suit was based on "frivolous claims," which Murphy later affirmed.

As a result, Murphy ordered Lightspeed Media's attorneys to pay Smith $72,000, AT&T $120,000 and Comcast $69,000.

Yesterday's appeal seeks to topple a final order that found Prenda Law attorneys jointly and severally liable for Smith's, AT&T's and Comcast's attorneys fees that amounted to $261,000.

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