Copyright Infringement Advisor

Copyright Trolling: Don’t Get A Default!

Posted in Contingent Fee, Default, I.P. Address Suits

Copyright Troll Default Judgment for $150,000We all talk about these mass bittorrent lawyers like they are stupid. They might be, but they do know how to get some press. Today, Prenda Law secured a “default judgment” against someone named Darryl Lessere in Florida for $153,770.oo (see below). Yes, that’s a lot of money. Will AF Holdings ever collect? Almost certainly not. But they do have this shiny new final judgment that they can wave around to try and scare new people.

That said, should you be scared by this? Actually, yes, a little. A default judgment is no joke. Sure Prenda just got it by serving some youngster with legal process that he likely didn’t understand. But they get defaults like this all the time.

You might ask, is this default judgment enforceable? Yes, it is.

Maybe you don’t have any money right now. Maybe you’re out of work and broke. But if you win the lottery, the first of it goes to pay off that default judgment. In fact, if you ever make any money, they can use that default judgment to take it.

So what to do? Well, for starters, don’t get a default judgment!

How do you avoid a default judgment, you ask. I’ll tell you: Do anything you want to prevent it. That’s pretty much it. Do you have to hire a lawyer? No, but it helps. That said, just don’t let the time frame (21 days from service) pass without doing anything. Just do something, even if it’s as little as calling the Court clerk and saying “I didn’t do this, can I send you a letter explaining?” That alone should be enough to at least avoid a default.

The problem is that if you don’t do anything, the bad guys get to ask the Court for pretty much anything they want and you can’t say anything about it. That means you end up with a $150,000 default judgment against you that will haunt you for possibly the rest of your life.

I absolutely hate to see these kind of default judgments because they are so easy to avoid. Look, if you get served and you have absolutely no money at all (I mean not a penny), and no idea what to do, CALL ME! I’ll at least help you out enough for free to avoid a default judgment like this.

And for what it’s worth, I understand that no one wants to hire a lawyer to defend these almost frivolous suits. Lawyers can be expensive. But you can’t just ignore a federal lawsuit against you. The threat is real, but easy to avoid.

It’s like polio.

EDIT: I added the Service of Process certification below to show that Mr. Lessere wasn’t even personally served. Some woman who doesn’t even have his same last name was served. Then I checked Zillow for the house, and guess what. Mr. Lessere lives in a $1.6 Million home. Uh oh.
Lessere Judgment
Lessere Service of Process

copyright trolls get $153,000 default judgment

  • That_Anonymous_Coward

    Reading Doc 19 in the docket there is a tiny little problem.
    They served someone who is not the named party, who I can’t seem to google any connections between the defendant and her.
    I can’t even connect his name to that address, except in copies of the orders.
    Something is fishy, and there is a history among copyright trolls having “issues” actually serving people.

  • http://www.copyrightinfringementadvisor.com/ John Whitaker

     I noticed that too. I added the return of service to show that the person who was actually served has a different name. It’s hard to say if Darryl even actually lived in that house.
    And then I zillowed the address. $1.6 Million Dollar house!

    • That_Anonymous_Coward

      In some sleuthing done elsewhere it seems like Darryl was having health issues in the recent past and then sorta vanished from the online world.
      Cause people would never get bills in other peoples names or nuffin, or not update records.
      Not people who keep transferring a house back and forth to keep the tax liabilities down.

      • Anonymous

        It also seems from google (given he has a fairly unusual name) that Darryl has worked as a consultant in a Florida firm supposedly offering Tax Resolution with the IRS and that his photography work included adult photography.

        I find it really hard to believe that someone with that background wouldn’t be aware of copyright issues and would ignore a federal summons.

        Hopefully, this will all rebound on the trolls.

        • That_Anonymous_Coward

          I hate to think the worst but it wouldn’t be the first time a troll sued someone who was deceased.
          One also wonders if he has been in a hospital for a long time including the alleged time how he could be found responsible or capable.

          I laugh when the service document claims that the address was his “usual place of abode” when I can’t find a single white pages listing tying him to the address.  Someone really needs to nudge this Judge to do some due diligence and make sure the defendant actually still exists.

          Anyone want to place bets on Pretenda (i typed what I meant) Law already running around with this “win” to scare people into settling?  Wouldn’t surprise me if they knew he was deceased or in long term care and pursued this anyways.

          • Anonymous

            Why is the plaintiff not required to file documentary evidence to support the claim that this is the defendant’s address before obtaining a default judgement, in cases where the person served is not the defendant? I understand that it should not be permissible for a defendant to simply refuse to answer their door indefinitely and postpone a judgement indefinitely, but by the same token it should not be possible for a plaintiff to serve a random person or address.

            I wonder if this address is even the one from the subscriber info returned from Lessere’s ISP. If he does not own the house, is not living in the house, and the owner/occupant is not his relation, why would his name be on an account at that address? The case was filed in June so there has only been so much time for all this turnover to take place and for Lessere to go missing.

            Of course there are reasonable explanations; he has moved since the alleged infringement took place, he was renting the house (although it seems unlikely as the homeowner was served), or was a roommate to a family of Luddites and had to subscribe to internet service himself. But in light of the fact that he was not served personally and Prenda’s lack of an aversion to filing documents that are not backed up by facts (see for example the Abrahams case you covered previously, where Prenda’s client did not have copyright registration before the alleged infringements took place, but claimed they had a registration and asked for statutory damages and attorneys’ fees which require the registration as a prerequisite), I think this deserves scrutiny.

          • That_Anonymous_Coward

            This is why you pay someone to effect service, and there are usually rules allowing for alternate service if they are being dodgey.

            His name could be on the account if he was at one time a resident, and they never changed it.
            All the ISP knows is they provide service, send a bill, and are getting paid.
            If he has passed away, it is possible they didn’t feel like dealing with the hoops to end the service left the bill in his name and keep paying it.
            People who share homes sometimes divvy up the “utilities” into each persons name.
            There are plenty of problems with this the least of which being the Judge assuming that the defendant was even aware of the case even after “service”. 
            The service could have been done to an ‘ex’ of some variety who tossed the letter into the trash to be spiteful.
            I can not understand how a Judge would accept a random person getting the summons as actual service.

  • Anonymous

    Lives in, maybe (although I wouldn’t hold my breath knowing Troll trickery), but does he own it? If anyone has access to a decent public records search the homeowner would certainly be an interesting data point.

    It wasn’t one of Prenda’s goons, but I believe other Copyright Trolls are known for shenanigans like serving the middle of a lake, and Prenda’s lawyers have a history of doing everything they can to deny defendants the opportunity to litigate; note the recent Guava, LLC case in Illinois where Prenda is systematically dropping every defendant that hires a lawyer and refiling in a different jurisdiction so that they won’t have to face opposing counsel in the primary case.

    Suspect everything.

  • Guest

    http://southflorida.blockshopper.com/property/3122020060790/18700_n_bay
    Bad. Service.

    Owned since 2000 by Anthony Kosar. 
    In 2009, owned by Anthony and Jamie Kosar.

    Darryl probably is clueless.

    • http://www.copyrightinfringementadvisor.com/ John Whitaker

      Awesome. So the Kosars couldn’t care less what happens to Darryl, and Darryl has no clue that he’s been sued.

      If this isn’t abuse of process, I don’t know what is.

      • Guest

        Can’t blame the Kosars. Somebody shows up. Says some random person is being sued and hands it to you. You’ve never heard of the guy. You have no way of getting hold of him.

        Why would you contact anyone?

        I think half of Steele’s litigation plan is finding these bad addresses and trying to get defaults. Helps sign new clients.

        • http://www.copyrightinfringementadvisor.com/ John Whitaker

          I agree, the Kosars didn’t have any reason to look into it. Default judgments like this are usually easy to set aside, which is why it makes me a little crazy to see them.
          And no doubt Prenda is trying to use this as a big marketing ploy. Scare more people into settling by waving a worthless piece of paper around.

          • That_Anonymous_Coward

            Or if you were cynical (oh wait, I am) you could think they are following the model exported from Germany even further.  You can most likely sell a default judgement to a debt collector, you will most likely get more cash that other debt types.

            After this business model started to fail in Germany there was a resurgence in these types of cases, and the lawyer was selling off the “debts”.  Mind you Germany has a much wackier idea that if a troll says it, its factual even if the evidence doesn’t add up.  One of them collected against a woman who had sold off her computer before the alleged infringement happened, it was cheaper to keep the bundle than to drop off the internet.  So because she had active net access she had to be guilty… even with no way to download.

  • Joes

    Could you help curtail copyright trolling by encouraging your readers to sign this petition at Whitehouse.gov?
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/work-modify-copyright-laws-end-predatory-practice-copyright-trolling/3cGn2JFL