As expected, it looks like Prenda, along with John Steele and Paul Duffy, have a tiny bit of good news as the first case which suggested they were committing fraud on the court, in the courtroom of Judge Mary Scriven, has been closed without any further action. If you don’t recall, this was the case in which the transcript was something of an Abbott and Costello worthy routine, with various lawyers trying desperately to back out of representing Sunlust, a Prenda client. You really need to read the whole transcript, but among other things, Paul Duffy claimed Prenda had nothing to do with the case, while the lawyer seeking to get out of the case said he was hired by Prenda. Mark Lutz makes an appearance in which he’s dressed down by the judge for dressing down in the courtroom and being a sham of a “corporate representative.” And then there’s the appearance of John Steele, who claims he’s there on no official business other than to observe, but who repeatedly confers with Lutz, and who the judge quickly figures out likely has his hands in this whole mess.
Unfortunately, some sort of settlement was clearly reached, as the defendant Tuan Nguyen, represented by Graham Syfert (who has battled against Prenda on numerous fronts), recently withdrew all motions against Prenda, Steele and Duffy, so the court agreed to close the case without further investigation into the potential fraud on the court. Of course, in a bit of irony, the final order of business before closing the case is to… let another set of lawyers off the case, after they claimed conflict of interest among their clients (mainly because Brett Gibbs had filed a declaration implicating Steele, and they were representing both). It’s a bit unfortunate that this case is closing, as it seemed like another one where a judge might suss out some clear examples of fraud on the court by Prenda (denying they were involved at all in this case is a big one, for example…). But, this case is now off the docket entirely. Hopefully Nguyen is cashing a nice settlement check from Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy.