Status conference set in St. Clair County porn hacking case

Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Feb. 16, 2016, 3:04pm


After months of inactivity, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson scheduled a status conference for the porn site hacking case, Guava v Comcast.

The status conference is set for March 1 at 9 a.m.

Based on Internet Protocol (IP) addresses it had obtained, Guava sued Comcast claiming “John Does” hacked their porn sites. In December 2012, Gleeson ordered Comcast to provide the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and media access control addresses of its customers who were alleged to have accessed the sites unlawfully.

“John Doe” Comcast customers who objected to having their identities turned over to Guava appealed, and the Fifth District Appellate Court ordered Gleeson to dismiss Guava’s pre-suit discovery petition.

The Fifth District also ordered Gleeson to compel the attendance of those named in the petition to show cause.

The petition named Guava LLC and Lightspeed Media Corp., as well as their officers and directors; Duffy, Belleville attorney Kevin Hoerner who acted as local counsel, Steve Jones, a purported agent of Lightspeed; and Allan Mooney, a purported principal of Guava whose signature is listed on the pre-suit discovery petition.

Duffy, Steele and Paul Hansmeier were behind the now-dissolved Chicago-based Prenda Law Firm. They have been accused by a few judges of “brazen misconduct” and creating shell companies in order to file copyright infringement and computer hacking suits to exploit the court’s subpoena powers and extort settlements.

In April, 2015, the Active Doe parties asked the court to sanction the lawyers pursuing the porn hacking case.

“Guava, LLC filed this case in bad faith and never intended to follow through. It has a history of doing so...," their April 20 response stated. "Other courts have sanctioned Guava and its attorneys for their conduct. During the course of this litigation, Guava and the Show Cause Parties have misled the Court and the Active Doe Parties."

"Active Doe Parties" refers to unnamed, but potential defendants in a 2012 lawsuit porn distributor Guava LLC filed against Comcast seeking names of customers who allegedly, illegally downloaded porn. The Doe parties filed a consolidated response to a memoranda Guava attorneys Paul Duffy and John Steele submitted seeking to champion the credibility.

“None of the arguments put forth by the Show Cause Parties have any merit,” the response states. “Their ruined professional reputations and their history of being sanctioned and referred for disciplinary and criminal investigations are a matter of record. It is right and just that the Active Doe Parties be compensated for the losses caused by the fraudulent, intentional and dishonest conduct of the Show Cause Parties.”

Duffy and Steele filed their memorandum on Feb. 18, 2015, after Gleeson gave the attorneys and others 90 days to show why they shouldn’t have to pay cable provider Comcast $26,280 for producing the identities of nearly 300 of its subscribers in a case the lawyers brought for plaintiff Guava LLC, represented by Prenda Law .

Andrew Toennies of St. Louis represents Comcast.

The John Doe real parties are represented by attorneys Laura Beasley, Erin Russell, Morgan Pietz and Thomas Leverso.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 12-MR-417

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