Aug 15, 2011

UW-Madison Grad and Veteran Win First Amendment Victory over Net Troll, Righthaven

Righthaven LLC [Image: Leon]

By Michael Leon

Congratulations are in order for Vietnam War veteran, Wayne Hoehn (Recon Company, E 2/12, 12th Cavalry Regiment (1969-70)), who won another major First Amendment victory over Internet troll, Righthaven LLC today.

It was announced today in the United States District Court, District of Nevada that Hoehn was awarded $34,045 in attorneys' fees and costs in a judicial order that looks to spell the doom of Righthaven LLC, a fraudulent outfit operating out of Las Vegas that pretends to own copyrights and then sues 100s of defendants, typically for $150,000.

Wayne Hoehn
Righthaven tried that scheme on Hoehn and today culminated in his final vindication against Righthaven and its attorneys, known variously as trolls and pond scum.

Congratulations are also in order for attorney and U.W. Madison Law School graduate, J. Malcolm DeVoy IV (Randazza Legal Group), and Marc J. Randazza [counsel of record and lead attorney] (Randazza Legal Group) in Righthaven LLC v. Wayne Hoehn (Case No. 2:11-cv-00050); both of whom we have noted here are made of the same cloth as Hoehn, and whose work on behalf of the First Amendment is a victory for all Americans.

Hoehn chose to hold true to his commitment to uphold and defend the Constitution seeking out DeVoy, but Righthaven refused to pay his attorneys’ costs, as ordered to by a federal judge in Nevada.

Not anymore.

Hoehn of Kentucky and other defendants (including this writer, also with the representation of DeVoy) have Righthaven LLC on the run, though Righthaven is backed by a billionaire and they believe they are beyond the reach of the order of federal judges.

Journalist Steve Green notes:
Righthaven [has] received plenty of national news coverage about the lawsuits by the likes of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Bloomberg News, Associated Press and Wired. This national media coverage wasn’t flattering for the Review-Journal, the Post or our city’s legal community, with Righthaven and its newspaper partners often portrayed as digital ambulance chasers using lawsuit settlement shakedowns and the court system to make a quick buck. That’s because of the no-warning nature of the lawsuits, court rulings finding some of the lawsuits were without merit, judges’ comments critical of Righthaven, a series of foul-ups in executing the suits and because the lawsuit spree was unprecedented for the newspaper industry. Ever.
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 Stephens.

United States District Judge Phillip Pro ordered that Righthaven LLC has until September 14 to pay up.

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