A cable company that had been ordered by St. Clair County Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson to provide the identities of nearly 300 of its subscribers to a distributor of pornographic films is renewing its request for payment of that production.

Comcast says in a motion to compel that it has not been paid $26,280 in costs for providing the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and media access control addresses of its customers who were alleged to have accessed porn sites unlawfully in a hacking lawsuit brought in 2012 by Guava LLC.

"John Doe" subscribers who objected to having their identities turned over had appealed, and in May the Fifth District Appellate Court ordered Gleeson to dismiss Guava's pre-suit discovery petition.

The Fifth District also remanded the matter for an evidentiary hearing on a petition for rule to show cause as to why Guava, its attorneys and others should not be held in contempt and sanctioned.

The former Chicago firm Prenda Law sued on behalf of Guava. Belleville attorney Kevin Hoerner has acted as local counsel.

Three attorneys believed to be behind Prenda Law — Paul Duffy, John Steele and Paul Hansmeier — 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.

Gleeson had previously denied Comcast's motion to compel payment while the case was on appeal. In an amended motion to compel filed July 28, Comcast says that it complied with Gleeson's order of Dec. 12, 2012, providing Guava with relevant information.

Comcast attorney Andrew Toennies wrote that Gleeson also had ordered Guava to pay Comcast's costs, but it has failed to do so, even though the parties agreed to a rate of $90 for each complete identification and $30 for each Internet Protocol (IP) address that could not be identified.

Comcast says that it provided 288 complete IP addresses and 12 unidentifiable IP addresses.

In its May ruling, the Fifth District ordered Gleeson to compel the attendance of those named in the petition to show cause. The petition named Prenda-clients Guava LLC and Lightspeed Media Corp., as well as their officers and directors; Duffy; Hoerner, who served as local counsel for Guava, as well as in other Prenda-related cases; Steve Jones, a supposed agent of Lightspeed; and Allan Mooney, an alleged principal of Guava whose signature is listed on the pre-suit discovery petition, although there are claims it was falsified and forged.

The Fifth District also ordered Gleeson to address at least 10 issues including:

- whether Guava and its attorneys knew it was false when they said at least one of the alleged hackers lived in St. Clair County;

- whether Mooney’s verification was forged and falsified;

- whether Guava was an actual company with standing to bring the original petition, and if not, whether the attorneys knew that;

- whether Guava intended to go forward with litigation or just wanted to extort the John Does into settling;

- whether Guava’s attorneys had personal interests in Guava and if they intentionally hid such interests from the court;

- whether Guava engaged in sanctionable conduct; and

- the relative culpability of Guava’s attorneys, both lead and local, in relation to potential findings of misconduct.

Hoerner filed a motion to withdraw from Guava v. Comcast on July 28, stating that "Plaintiff Guava, LLC will not be prejudiced by the withdrawal as other counsel of record already represent(s) Plaintiff."

As of Aug. 6, the evidentiary hearing has not yet been set, and no ruling has been made in Hoerner's petition to withdraw.

Comcast also wants Gleeson to order Guava to pay reasonable attorneys' fees in having to bring the motion to compel payment of expenses.

St. Clair County case number 12-MR-417

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