Court Directs U.S. Marshals to Seize Righthaven Funds

A federal court in Nevada has issued a writ of execution authorizing the U.S. Marshals to use "reasonable force" to seize $63,720.80 in cash and/or assets of copyright troll Righthaven that sued scores of bloggers and tried to take their domain names for publishing too much of news articles and photographs from papers like the Denver Post and Las Vegas Review Journal which had ostensibly assigned their copyrights to the company.

The money is owed to the Randazza Legal Group which represented many of the bloggers. The court awarded the firm a judgment of $34,045.50 for legal fees in the case of Righthaven v. Hoehn, 11-cv-00050-PMP. Righthaven filed an appeal and asked for a stay, claiming the judgment would put them out of business and push them into bankruptcy.

The trial judge granted the stay provided Righthaven file a cost bond with the court for the amount of the $34,045.50 judgment by October 28, 2011. Righthaven didn't file the bond. Nor did it timely seek further relief from the 9th Circuit, or file a bankruptcy petition. Randazza went back to court yesterday for a writ of execution. [More...]

In the motion for the writ, available on PACER, Randazza wrote:

To date, Righthaven and its counsel have needlessly and unethically multiplied the proceedings in any case in which they are involved, in clear violation of 28 U.S.C. § 1927. In this case, its actions raised the amount expended in this case from $34,045.50 to $63,713.00, exclusive of interest.

...Per the terms of this Court’s September 28 Order (Doc. # 56), execution of Hoehn’s
judgment is proper at this time, with no further delay or briefing required.

Yesterday, the Court issued the writ, which I've posted here. It includes this instruction to the Marshals Service:

YOU ARE FURTHER COMMANDED if necessary, to turn over any property seized under this
order to a third party custodian or to the plaintiff. The U.S. Marshal or his representative is authorized to use reasonable force in the execution of this Judgment/Order and the Judgment Creditor/Plaintiff will hold the U.S. Marshals Service harmless of any liability that may be imposed as a result of the execution of the Judgment.

As of September, Righthaven had filed 57 lawsuits in Colorado and 275 nationally. A federal judge in Colorado dismssed the Colorado cases, finding Righthaven had no valid copyright. Media News Group, which includes the Denver Post, has since bowed out of Righthaven, calling it a "dumb idea."

Next question: If Righthaven files for bankruptcy, and Hoehn and Randazza can't collect, will they go after Stephens Media?

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