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Righthaven Stops Showing Up In Court 122

Fluffeh writes "This story has gone from funny to sad. Following copyright-troll Righthaven's recent whipping by a judge, it now appears the company has just given up altogether. CEO Steve Gibson is working at another job (while being investigated by the Nevada Bar) and main lawyer Shawn Mangano apparently has completely stopped responding to all attempts to contact him, even by the court. All this has resulted in the key appeals in its cases to be dismissed 'for lack of prosecution.' Last Thursday it also had a key case closed, with prejudice, driving another nail in its already buried coffin."
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Righthaven Stops Showing Up In Court

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  • What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "This story has gone from funny to said."

    Another quality slashdot article!

  • by V. P. Winterbuttocks ( 2246736 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:01PM (#39478039)

    Now that's a bizarre twist to that metaphor...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:05PM (#39478093)

    I wish I could ignore court orders and get on with my life. Somehow I don't think that works for people.

    • You could ignore orders from RIAA. "Pay us $5000 settlement cost, or else appear in court on this date ______." Ha. Yeah right. Trashed.

      • Well, they have certainly been electronic bullies far longer than Righthaven was, so perhaps their eventual down fall will be even more spectacular. We can only hope! Come to think of it, they have been amazingly quiet since Righthaven got taken to the judicial woodshed.
  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:06PM (#39478095) Journal

    And in other news Darl McBride has announced that SCO will be merging with Righthaven to "Leverage synergistic energies to protect our customers"

  • by Kylon99 ( 2430624 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:14PM (#39478173)

    IANAL, but is there some way to compel them to show up? Not to force them to prosecute their claims, but rather to compel them to answer for their frivolous lawsuits, for example?

    I mean, lodging a lawsuit against someone causes emotional harm and waste of time and money if they did it with malice. Can there be restitution with any of their cases for the injured party? Although I know it may be very hard to prove...

    • I'm not familiar with common law, but in continental law, you may be taken in by the police if you fail to answer your summons for a trial, or even taken in the night before, and held at the precinct overnight, then led forward handcuffed by an officer. The court has to order this specifically, and I've only seen this used in case of private persons, so I'm not sure it could apply in case of a corporation (after all, the legal persona applies to the whole corporation, who is there to summon by force in this

      • For civil suits?

      • When the plaintiff doesn't show up, one of three things can happen:
        1. The defendant moves for dismissal and wins
        2. The defendant can ask for a continuance* so that the plaintiff can show up
        3. The Judge gets angry and orders a arrest warrant or fine for contempt upon the plaintiff.

        When the defendant doesn't show up, see #3

        *unless you were trying to get sued and set a precedent, this never happens

    • by JazzHarper ( 745403 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:24PM (#39478267) Journal

      IANAL, but is there some way to compel them to show up? Not to force them to prosecute their claims, but rather to compel them to answer for their frivolous lawsuits, for example?

      Yes, the defendant can file a counterclaim. If they still don't show up, the defendant wins, automatically. Then, there's the little detail of collecting on the judgement, but take it one step at a time...

      • In most states, if somebody doesn't pay a judgement, then the plaintiff can do things like have the sherriff show up at their office and take anything of value up to the amount of the judgement. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if the individuals have already collected very handsome salaries and let the company go into bankruptcy so the actual money is hidden behind the corporate veil.

        • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:14PM (#39478689)

          In most states, if somebody doesn't pay a judgement, then the plaintiff can do things like have the sheriff show up at their office and take anything of value up to the amount of the judgement.

          Like this priceless gem: A Florida Couple 'Forecloses' On Bank Of America []

          Over the past few years, we've heard plenty of horror stories about bungled foreclosures. The one of Warren and Maureen Nyerges, from the Naples, Fla. area, is just as bad. In 2009, they bought a home with cash, yet in 2010 Bank of America tried to foreclose on them. It took two months of phone calls and eventually court intervention to clear up the misunderstanding.

          In December, a judge ordered the bank to pay the couple $2,500 in attorney fees. But months went by and the bank never cut a check. So, the Naples Daily News reports, Nyerges hired a lawyer, who pursued a levy, and this past Friday the showdown was on: The Nyergeses showed up to a local branch of Bank of America with the sheriff, the media and some movers with a truck:

          "I'm either leaving the building with a whole bunch of furniture, or a check or cash or something," the attorney, Todd Allen, vowed.

          ... An hour later, the bank cut a check.

          • Marvellous, except for them being given an hour (on the taxpayers' clock) to cut a check. The time to do that was months previously: private citizens aren't given a grace period once the truck shows up.
      • by triclipse ( 702209 ) <slashdot&combslaw,cc> on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @03:07AM (#39481959) Homepage

        If the plaintiff doesn't show up, the defendant does not even necessarily have to file a counterclaim to get a judgment in their favor. If the case is abandoned for lack of prosecution, the defendant can generally get a judgment for at least their costs and, depending on the type of case, for their attorneys' fees.

        With a judgment in their favor, the defendant could then call the plaintiff (now judgment debtor) in for a debtor's exam. If the debtor fails to appear, that's contempt of court and generally a warrant for the debtor's arrest is issued.

    • Several of the cases already have righthaven owing money to the defendant, which they are unable to pay.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      I don't know who's defending those lawyers, but if they are defending themselves, this would likely be contempt of court.

  • Is this the end? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:17PM (#39478207) Homepage

    With all Righthaven did, I wonder if this will simply be the end to the lawsuits. If so, this would be a really bad thing. When all is said and done, if the courts just shut down the lawsuits now, the folks behind Righthaven will have been able to sue a bunch of people and then walk away without any penalties. Sure, Righthaven will be shuttered, but there are indications that they shuttled assets elsewhere first to avoid paying debts. If the courts allow this, what's to stop any company from forming a shell company (to protect the parent), conducting a series of lawsuits, and simply dissolving the shell if things go badly? The downside here seems low and the upside (if you are successful in forcing people to settle) seems high. There needs to be a full investigation here with appropriate charges filed/fines issued to make sure other companies get the message that this is unacceptable.

    • Re:Is this the end? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:35PM (#39478367)

      It's called piercing the corporate veil, and if that happens, the principals are directly responsible for any and all judgments against the company.

      It has to be pretty serious fiduciary irresponsibility, though, at the criminal level.


      • IANAL, but I believe this may qualify.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        piercing the corporate veil applies to shareholders who normally have limited liability. The actors within a corporation are never shielded from any illegal activity they do themselves on behalf of a corporation. I'm not sure why so many people get this confused.
    • According to wikiedia Righthaven owes one gentleman (a blogger) $34,000 in a court case where they lost. It would be a shame if he spent all that money defending himself, but then never sees any of it. Yet another reason I'm opposed to limited-liability corporations.

      • Well, I tend to go through a friend of mine for matters like this. His phrase when collecting is something akin to "34 grand or 34 teeth".

        Works better than the average court order. No limitation of liability possible.

        • by sconeu ( 64226 )

          I'm guessing that your friend's name is either Guido or Vinny

          • I used to actually know a debt collector named Guido. We used to work at the same company. It used to crack me up every time I get to work his name into a call. Comedy gold... (Ok, I admit it, I'm easily amused.)

          • Get with the times.

            His name is Ivan.

        • I would be difficult to collect 34 teeth from most adults: []

          I guess this is somewhat of a limitation on the liability ;)


          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            Well, there's the incentive. He'll just keep digging deeper until he finds something tooth-like.

          • Believe me, he can be very convincing. He will keep digging until you spit out 34 teeth. One of them looked a bit like a chip from a rib and one looked funnily small like a child's milk tooth, but hey, I'm no monster, I don't dictate where you take your teeth from.

  • by amoeba1911 ( 978485 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:18PM (#39478221) Homepage

    What seems like beating a dead horse is necessary in this case. You must continue to beat the horse even after the horse is long dead. It's like a course of antibiotics, it may seem like the infection is gone but if you stop too soon a resistant strain might come back.

    • by Abreu ( 173023 )

      Beat the dead horse, then stake it through the heart, sever the head, fill it with garlic, and bury it separately from the body, preferrably across a body of water...

  • Fuck up careers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:20PM (#39478235) Homepage

    So these guys just fucked their careers for life, for what? A promise of some $$$ at the end of the line....

    • People do it all the time.
      They feel the need to stick it to the man, they believe in a get rich scheme or both. They go out full cock until until reality hits them like a train. They loose everything.
      I have seen a case where a Guy who was running a business sold it to an other company just as long as he would stay the manager. So they kept him, during this time he got Pissed off because he had to deal with bosses who were telling him to do things he didn't want to do (BTW he sold his company because he co
      • >>>stole companies data

        Stupid. He deserved to lose his money, because he's a thief.

      • They sometimes seem to be just attracted to crime, rather than turning to it as a last resort or because it makes so much money. A great example is a guy here locally who would break in to newspaper dispensers to steal the money. Well this was fairly hard work, they are built nice n' sturdy and this guy didn't have some tool to bust them open real fast. Also it required a good bit of walking around to get to them, there aren't all that many and they aren't densely packed. Of course the biggest thing is the

        • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

          Freakonomics had an article on this in the original book, most street drug dealers still live at home because they make less than they would at McDonalds.

    • Fucked their careers? They managed to patent troll and bully a couple people, lose EVERY SINGLE effin case and get away with it.

      I foresee a great future as MAFIAA lawyers.

  • by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:22PM (#39478249)

    ..with hardly any punishment for the thousands of dollars of losses they inflicted on their victims. Makes me sick.

    • by jd ( 1658 )

      That seems to happen a lot. *trynottomentionwallstreet* *trynottomentionwallstreet*

      The worrying thing is that it basically legitimizes patent trolling in that those wanting to organize a patent troll company now have a template to work from where they know they have a good chance of sponging lots of money and then escaping cleanly. Sure, the ending needs a little work, but most of the template is now proven solid.

      • Yeah, that's the real danger here. The people on the receiving end of the suits had their year wrecked. Then everyone whisks away, "Nah, I don't think I'll bother to respond to the court anymore".

        Then next year another one will rise, with a slightly different spin.

    • Victim that lost $50,000 can work through the courts, and when the courts find Righthaven has zero cash and can't return the money, shoot former CEO in head. (It's Vegas. People disappear all the time.)

  • by tobiasly ( 524456 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:32PM (#39478347) Homepage

    This story has gone from funny to sad.

    Nope. Still funny.

  • I am finally glad that this sue for profit scheme has completely unraveled. This should put some waves of fear into the likes of RIAA and MPAA to make certain they have absolutely valid claims before they try to strong arm people. I love it! This is so funny as to be better than Andrew Dice Clay!
    • Completely unraveled? Hell, it's a fucking template.

      1. Found limited liability company.
      2. Sue the crap out of people.
      3. If you lose, fold and start over.
      4. If you win, profit.

  • If they've stopped showing up entirely, I say the court should issue warrants and hold them in contempt until they take the proceedings seriously. They made their bed, time to lay in it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In other words, NOT this guy -> [] of "Shields Up" online security fame, correct?

    * Just asking for clarification, photo's not the same guy I remember (and to cover "the" Steve Gibson (I say "THE" because he's well-known & this can 'trash' HIS good name)).


    P.S.=> I hope not! I state that mainly because despite the b.s. many others tried to spread about the guy over time? He's pretty damned good (his early work on disk checkers showed me that from the DOS days, a

  • Pity they didn't name it Rightcraven -- that would have been much more appropriate considering that they have turned tale and crawled away. What a pathetic waste of resources this whole farce was, not to mention torturing people who did not infringe a single copyright. I agree that this must not go unpunished. The lawyers should at least be brought before the bar, even if the corporate bankruptcy shields them from paying what they owe.
  • Remember to drive a stake through its heart, or it will just keep coming back. Like SCO.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"