Jul 21, 2011

Judge Roger Hunt on Righthaven LLC

Righthaven LLC [Image - Michael Leon]
"It is certainly understandable how Local rule 7-1.1 [requiring disclosure of all parties with pecuniary (financial) interest] could have arguably been reasonably construed to not require the disclosure of Stephens Media's interest in any recovery. I was impressed that you were able to get three hedge words or qualifiers within the space of four words in that sentence and wonder if maybe you ran out of them."
- Federal Chief Justice Roger Hunt of the District of Nevada ordering sanctions against Righthaven LLC [Righthaven LLC v. Democratic Underground LLC et al, Case No. 2:10-cv-01356 (D. Nev.)], imposing a $5,000 fine

Righthaven is a LLC that has filed some 275 federal copyright lawsuits claiming text from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Denver Post has been used without regard to copyright law by the Internet users including bloggers and message board posters.

Righthaven is half-owned by another LLC controlled by Las Vegas attorney and Righthaven CEO Steven Gibson, and half owned by a third LLC owned by the family of Little Rock, Arkansas investment banking billionaire Warren StephensJudge Hunt was described by an observer as delivering a "stern beating," using brutal language.

Judge Hunt said, Righthaven's "conduct was 'not negligence,' but part of a 'concerted effort to hide Stephens Media’s role in this litigation.'" Moreover, Hunt described Righthaven as a law firm masquerading as a company.


(a) Unless otherwise ordered, in all cases except habeas corpus cases counsel for private (non-governmental) parties shall identify in the disclosure statement required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 7.1 all persons, associations of persons, firms, partnerships or corporations (including parent corporations) which have a direct, pecuniary interest in the outcome of the case.

The disclosure statement shall include the following certification:

“The undersigned, counsel of record for ______, certifies that the following have an interest in the outcome of this case: (here list the names of all such parties and identify their connection and interests). These representations are made to enable judges of the Court to evaluate possible disqualification or recusal.

Signature, Attorney of Record for ______”

(b) If there are no known interested parties other than those participating in the case, a statement to that effect will satisfy this rule.

(c) A party must promptly file a supplemental certification upon any change in the information that this rule requires.

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