samedi 29 novembre 2014

Douglas Handshoe, CPA looses fight to block $180,000 copyright infringement judgment under the SPEECH Act

Justice may finally be coming, her sword drawn, for inveterate blogger Douglas Handshoe, a homophobic Mississippi accountant who seems to have too much time on his hands.

homophobic blogger Douglas K. Handshoe
On November 24, 2014, a judge of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi granted the motion of Trout Point Lodge and its owners to send a court action seeking enforcement of their $180,000 Canadian copyright infringement judgment against Handshoe back to state court. The significance of this ruling is that Handshoe had attempted to remove the litigation to federal court under the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (SPEECH) Act in June.  Trout Point, Perret, and Leary have won a total of $817,000 in Canadian judgments against Handshoe, and this will be the first to move towards actual enforcement. Another $210,000 in defamation awards awaits eventual enforcement by the Trout Point plaintiffs, who have demonstrated a calm persistence in pursuing Handshoe in his home state.

Handshoe has also been sued for defamation by at least two persons in Louisiana, including a case where his attempt to have the defamation action against him dismissed as a "strategic lawsuit against public participation" or SLAPP suit was flatly rejected, not once but twice, by Chief Judge Piper Griffin of New Orleans Civil District Court. Handshoe has publicly cried  about all the lawsuits against him being SLAPP suits, and his opponents being "SLAPP happy nut jobs." The courts apparently do not agree.  

Handshoe's loss in Mississippi comes more  than 2 1/2 years after Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Hood awarded record damages for defamation against Handshoe in February, 2012. Since then numerous other courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit have called Handshoe's homophobic rhetoric "reprehensible" and "grotesque."

Concluding the second Canadian lawsuit against the Mississippian, in which Handshoe appeared and defended, on Valentine's Day, 2014, Nova Scotia Justice Kevin Coady issued a written decision finding Handshoe had violated the Trout Point plaintiffs' copyrights in four images by publishing them without permission on his blog Slabbed juxtaposed with homophobic, false, and defamatory words. The pictures were of the Plaintiffs. He award maximum statutory damages of $20,000 for each instance of infringement and also awarded a significant $100,000 in exemplary damages.  Both cases have attracted significant media attention in Canada, and test the waters of cross-border legal relations in the Internet age.

Trout Point quickly moved to enforce that judgment in Mississippi state court; Handshoe removed it to federal court 6 months ago claiming it was a federal question under the SPEECH Act. The case ended up in Chief Judge Louis Guirola's court. The blogging CPA also filed numerous motions seeking that the federal court require a bond from Trout Point, and also asking the Mississippi court to stop the third-party New Orleans lawsuit against him through an anti-suit injunction. Such an injunction would violate basic constitutional principles going back to the Founding Father's Anti-injunction Act. Handshoe frequently yammers on his blog about how Leary, Perret, and others seek to violate his constitutional rights, but apparently has a serious problem recognizing the rights of others. Judge Guirola ignored such filings by Handshoe.

In what the Chief Judge did take up, Handshoe petitioned the court to find that because the Nova Scotia Supreme Court's 2014 decision also included findings of, and damages for defamation, the copyright infringement damage award was also somehow susceptible to the SPEECH Act's provisions. He also at points argued that the decision was somehow res judicata, obviously not knowing the first thing about this legal principle despite claiming his web site to be "the premiere legal affairs blog in the Gulf South."  Handshoe also again hurled numerous baseless allegations of felonious criminal activity against the Nova Scotia gay couple in his federal court submissions, which he has been doing online since 2010. Handshoe does not know Leary and Perret. Comments he published on his blog have referred to them as "queer fag scum" among numerous other epithets.

In his removal notice, Handshoe tried to argue the Plaintiffs were doing something untoward by enrolling the copyright judgment; the federal court did not agree.

Chief Judge Guirola wrote: "Plaintiffs argue that they are not seeking to enforce a foreign judgment for defamation but for copyright infringement. The Court agrees. Based on the clear and explicit language of the Canadian court Order incorporated by reference into the state court petition, the underlying judgment is for copyright infringement."

However, the federal judge did not stop there. Knowing the full background of Handshoe's previous SPEECH Act case, he conducted a further analysis, asking: "whether this foreign judgment for copyright infringement falls within the purview of the SPEECH Act. If so, then removal was proper. If not, the case must be remanded."

Handshoe failed to convince the judge on any point.
Copyright infringement is not included in the language of the SPEECH Act,
which specifically includes defamation, libel, and slander in its definition of
defamation. Furthermore, the Court finds that the judgment sought to be enforced
– which concerns the publication of photographs that Plaintiffs claimed to be
copyright-protected – is not a judgment for a “similar claim alleging that forms of
speech are false, have caused damage to reputation or emotional distress, have
presented any persons in a false light, or have resulted in criticism, dishonor, or
condemnation of any person.” 28 U.S.C. § 4101. Indeed, unlike the judgment at
issue in the claim previously before the Fifth Circuit and this Court, the judgment
at issue here does not involve allegations of false or damaging forms of speech at all.
See generally Trout Point Lodge, 729 F.3d 481. Instead, the judgment concerns
purported property rights in photographic images. See, e.g., Axcess Broad. Servs.,
Inc. v. Donnini Films, No. 3:04-cv-2639, 2006 WL 1115430, at 3 n.1 (N.D. Tex. Aug 26, 2006) (“A copyright is a property right . . . .”).
The judge also took up and flatly rejected Handshoe's yammering about"bifurcation," and his innuendo that the Nova Scotia court justice somehow illegally colluded with Trout Point.  
Defendant claims that the Canadian court bifurcated the Canadian case into
multiple component judgments in an effort to circumvent the SPEECH Act. Defendant’s mere argument is insufficient to meet his burden to show that removal was proper. See Simons v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 193 F.3d 848, 850 n.7 (5th Cir.
1999) (“‘Removal . . . cannot be based simply upon conclusory . . . allegations.’”)
(citation omitted). Nonetheless, Plaintiffs are not seeking to enforce any defamation component judgment, but only the copyright infringement component judgment. There is no indication that the judgment sought to be enforced encompasses any monetary damages awarded for defamation, and, thus, no basis for removal under the SPEECH Act. 
Defendant’s statement that the final opinion of the Canadian court and Plaintiffs’ filings in that court “indicate[] a vastly differing fact pattern where defamation is the primary tort alleged[,]” (Def’s. Mem. 2, ECF No. 13), does not persuade the Court that removal is proper, either. This Court was not provided a copy of the final opinion of the Canadian court, only the judgment. And, while the filings attached to Defendant’s Memorandum do include defamation allegations, again, the actual judgment sought to be enforced is not for defamation. 
Thus Mr. Handshoe will be heading back to state court, where the Canadian judgment for copyright infringement is very likely to be enforced considering the close relationship between the U.S. and Canada, as well as their common respect for copyright protections. This precedent-setting decision will help delimit future inquiries into the breadth of the SPEECH Act's protections. It also eliminates a large swath of legal arguments Handshoe might have hoped to make to avoid justice. 

samedi 30 août 2014

SLAPPed down redux: Doug Handshoe loses his anti-SLAPP motion . . . twice . . . a legal jackassery update

Homophobic blogger Douglas K. Handshoe, a Mississippi accountant, has not once, but twice failed to get the Chief Judge of New Orleans Civil District Court (CDC) to accept his motion purporting that civil rights attorney Daniel G. Abel's damning defamation lawsuit against him is somehow designed to prevent public discourse on a matter of public interest. These types of motions are called "anti-SLAPP" (strategic lawsuit against public participation).

Handshoe has referred to his legal adversaries repeatedly as "SLAPP Happy Nut Jobs." Now it appears the only nut job is Handshoe and his dwindling coterie of followers. 

Inspection of CDC documents reveals that Handshoe first attempted his anti-SLAPP motion in October of last year, and when the court flatly denied it, he tried again a few months later, only to have the same result confront him. How the extremely litigious Mr. Handshoe could file two motions for the same relief in the same court is unknown, but it could be deemed an abuse of the New Orleans court's process. In the same hearing, Handshoe co-defendant and former attorney Bobby Truitt attempted to quash Abel's subpoenas, and failed:

Handshoe, however, apparently thought he knew better than the court, and attempted his at this point idiotic and ill-conceived motion again a few months later. On April 25, 2014. the judge again denied Handshoe's anti-SLAPP motion.

Douglas Handshoe, CPA
Legal Jackassery at its finest!

Handshoe owes some $817,000 in Canadian court judgments to Abel's business partners Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret as well as Trout Point Lodge. An effort to collect a copyright infringement judgment against Handshoe is currently winding its way through the Mississippi court system.

Handshoe's campaign to damage and embarrass those he has chosen to target using the Internet may be entering a new chapter as Abel's lawsuit moves inevitably forward.

CDC documents also show that Abel has applied for a default judgment against Handshoe and his co-defendant Vandenweghe. The court set a hearing to confirm the default on September 3, 2014.

Handshoe, who has claimed to be the premiere legal affairs blogger in the Gulf South, apparently will have some serious lessons to learn about legal process.

Stay tuned for more Douglas Handshoe legal jackassery from the federal courts of Mississippi . . . 

lundi 14 juillet 2014

Douglas Handshoe's "interest in the sexual activities of other men"

After miserably loosing his limp-wristed attempt at an anti-SLAPP motion in New Orleans Civil District Court (SLAPP stands for "strategic lawsuit against public participation"), Mississippi homophobe & blogger Douglas Handshoe has now taken to making allegations about a minor child's sex drawing he has distributed on his blog Slabbed and now (allegedly illegally) using the U.S. federal courts online PACER system.

Louisiana civil rights attorney Daniel Abel is reportedly acting as attorney for the child's father and legal guardian, who has sued Handshoe and his fellow blogger Jack Truitt for defamation in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Handshoe has in turn "dubiously" sued Abel in Mississippi federal court under the Copyright Act for allegedly misrepresenting his role as agent for the owner of copyright in the drawing. A lawyer "misrepresenting" that he's the legal agent of the father? Huh?

Anyway, in his first court filing in that latest lawsuit brought by Handshoe, the defendant Mr. Abel has drawn attention to what he alleges is Mr. Handshoe's obsession with the sexual lives of other men (and now, children):
Slabbed Nation member and financial backer Jack Truitt has already found out that courts do not favor the kind of alleged private libel that the Slabbed blog dishes out on a daily basis (Truitt lost his anti-SLAPP motion too), and Abel's tack will ensure Slabbed publisher and primary author Handshoe will soon have serious explaining to do in federal court. Why a Wiggins CPA is so interested in gay men and sex drawings found in Louisiana divorce documents raises a lot of questions about Mr. Doug (or is it Ms. Doug?).

On July 3 Abel let the federal court know exactly what he thinks of Handshoe's conduct involving exposing the minor child and his drawing to public scrutiny:

The legal brief filed by Abel speaks for itself. While asking for more time to answer Handshoe's charge of "misrepresentation," it also claims serious violations of civil procedure and criminal law by Handshoe.

Indeed, it appears to be much more serious than violating civil procedure. Douglas Handshoe has apparently made serious accusations on Slabbed related to child molestation, and also published what he himself claims is child pornography. His conspiratorial, homophobic mentality is on full display in this episode of how Slabbed crumbles.  There are laws against such actions; that Handshoe has not only allegedly used his own blog, but also illegally used the federal court's Public Access to Court Electronic Records (P.A.C.E.R.) system to distribute such materials astounds even the most jaded of legal observers.

Again, Abel's motion speaks for itself:

And now PACER shows that copyright troll/hypocrite Handshoe has yet again taken to the federal courts of Mississippi to try to stop the enforcement of a CAN $180,000 final court judgment against him for 4 kinds of copyright infringement on Slabbed and elsewhere. Apparently, his arch enemies Chalres Leary and Vaughn Perret enrolled their newest Nova Scotia money damages award against him in Mississippi state court. This was after Handshoe appeared in Canadian court, defended, filed all sorts of motions, and then when things didn't go his way, retreated back to Gulf Port. Having subjected Slabbed readers to the full extent of his engagement of the Canadian judiciary, Mr. Doug might be in trouble this time.

Seems like there's a pattern here of blogger Doug stealing the creative words and images of others, and then hurling allegations at those whom he had robbed.

Handshoe's serial copyright infringement on his blog might finally catch up with him . . . and accusing Abel of violating the Copyright Act? Really, Doug?

"Gay robots," Doug?

Mr. Abel may be on to something in Handshoe's seeming obsession with gay sex . . . 

vendredi 4 juillet 2014

Slapping down Douglas Handshoe's and "Jack Etherton" Truitt's hilarious SLAPP motions: New Orleans Civil District Court

The "Slabbed Nation" is crumbling. The House of Handshoe teeters, fated to fall. "Super Lawyer" Bobby Truitt can't seem to BS his way out of this one, either for himself or his former client.

A now-erased comment left by former Douglas Handshoe attorney, financier, and alleged co-conspirator "Jack Etherton Truitt" on Handshoe's hate-filled blog "Slabbed" caused curious minds to wonder what exactly was going on in the year-old litigation brought by New Orleans civil rights attorney Daniel Abel against the alleged perpetrators of Slabbed's vicious and unceasing campaign to damage and injure others (including Abel) through the Internet. On July 2, Handshoe had published a check list of his blog's "accomplishments" and Truitt was adding to the list with his comment. Handshoe quickly removed the quip from publication. Now, why would he do that?
Turns out July 2, 2014, was the same day Chief Judge Piper Griffin of New Orleans Civil District Court considered various motions brought by Truitt trying to get out of the multi-count defamation lawsuit. Abel had opposed them all. Truitt denied that he was part and parcel of Handshoe's defamatory publishing activities. Too bad, at the end of the day, Truitt remains a defendant alongside Handshoe. Truitt's public showing of "having fun" using civil legal process might just backfire on him.

Also turns out, according to informed courthouse sources, Chief Judge Griffin has in fact flatly denied various motions by homophobic blogger Handshoe, slip-and-fall lawyer Truitt, and former Asst. Jefferson Parish Attorney Anne-Marie Vandenweghe in the defamation litigation against them. All three claimed that Abel's lawsuit was a "strategic lawsuit against public participation" or "SLAPP" suit. Some sources indicate Handshoe attempted to have his anti-SLAPP argument heard twice. Judge Griffin has repeatedly found no SLAPP, and that the lawsuit seeking redress from all three will go forward to trial in New Orleans. "Denied" is a simple word Handshoe, Truitt, and Vandenweghe do not appear to understand.

Judge Griffin also denied repeated motions by Truitt trying to change the venue out of New Orleans, and to dismiss the suit against him for being too "vague." In evidence presented by Abel, Truitt has admitted to giving money to Handshoe to publish the hate-filled and homophobic blog, and also frequently contributes to it.  

The consequences of Judge Griffin's decision for defendants Handshoe, Truitt, and Vandenweghe are serious. Handshoe has unceasingly crowed on his web site Slabbed that lawsuits from various individuals against him involving defamation were frivolous SLAPP suits and that he is being pursued by "SLAPP-happy nut jobs"; now a court of law has said decisively otherwise. In this case, purported "free speech" will meet head on with longstanding standards of civil decency and defamation in the Internet context.

Under Art. 971 of the Louisiana rules of civil procedure, Judge Griffin's decision has precedential value and can be used in later parts of the trial. This is not good news for Truitt and his pals Handshoe and Vandenweghe. In addition, Art. 971 mandates that any loosing party in a motion made under the article must pay attorney's fees to the prevailing party, in this case Mr. Abel.

Looks like Truitt will have to pony up for "having fun with Danny Abel."

lundi 24 février 2014

Homophobic blogger Douglas Handshoe: "Bashing can be beautiful for its own sake."

Doug K. Handshoe, copyright violator 
Douglas K. Handshoe, is a Mississippi accountant and blogger who has targeted Charles Leary, Vaughn Perret, and their Nova Scotia business Trout Point Lodge for years. He has said he's "not homophobic at all."

On Friday, February 14, 2014, Justice Kevin Coady of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Canada, released his decision on Trout Point Lodge et. al. versus Douglas Handshoe. The Nova Scotia Courts then published the eighteen pages of well-articulated reasons at The judge summarized some of Douglas' publications about his legal opponents:
Handshoe seems to have completely embraced his fervent anti-gay sentiments, and put out on Twitter last month the statement that "bashing can be beautiful for its own sake" while discussing gay donors backing of Mississippi political candidates.
Indeed, even the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals referred to Handshoe's anti-gay invectives as "grotesque" and "reprehensible."

Back in April of last year, Doug wrote about how he's actually the victim of "harassment" from Canada. Huh? He also made sure everyone knew that he would teach those Nova Scotia judges a thing or two, because they've been "beclowned."
I guess you did some educating, right Doug? An additional $390,000 worth! You really taught those Canadian judges a lesson!

Looking at the Valentine's Day decision, it seems like Mr. Handshoe dealt with more than one Nova Scotia judge, and that he actually appeared and defended. No technical default this time. Oh yeah, and now Douglas is on the line for infringing copyright, not just defamation. Unless something has suddenly changed, the SPEECH Act doesn't block copyright judgments, Mr. Doug. In fact, looks like Canada-U.S. treaties mean that each country's copyrights get national treatment. Uh oh.

Trout Point Lodge pointed out on its blog that one of the sponsors of the SPEECH Act, U.S. Senator Leahy, has written about how important copyright is to "free speech." Imagine that. In a speech to the Media Institute, Leahy said:

Our Constitution is the source of another example – the protection of intellectual property.  The only place in the Constitution as initially ratified that specifically mentions a “right” is in the intellectual property clause, which authorizes Congress to provide authors with the exclusive right to their works. 
Copyright protection is not inconsistent with free speech.  It actively advances the goals of the First Amendment by supplying the economic incentive to create and disseminate ideas.  Justice O’Connor famously wrote that copyright law is the very “engine of free expression."
The opposite is also true.  Allowing unfettered theft of copyrighted works, whether online or in the physical world, is a disincentive to speech.  This is most often thought of as a problem for the music or movie industries.  But the news organizations represented here also know that if their work cannot be protected and monetized, they have to cut reporters and editors, and our democracy suffers from fewer sources of quality news reporting and ideas as a result. 
I will continue to promote the Internet but also want to protect the rights of creators in their works, so that there is more expression available for all of us to consider and consume.  This protection for copyrighted works must exist in both the physical and the digital worlds.

Other voices on Douglas K. Handshoe of Mississippi

  • "what a judge calls an “outrageous and highly reprehensible” homophobic Internet smear campaign from a Mississippi blogger." Toronto Star
  • "online attacks are relentless, nasty and homophobic" MSN Canada News 
  •  "A Mississippi blogger owes the owners of a Nova Scotia fishing lodge almost a million dollars after targeting them online in a homophobic smear campaign that tied them inexplicably to a corruption scandal." Daily Brew, Yahoo! Canada News
  • "the principals behind Trout Point Lodge in Yarmouth County have won a defamation case against an anti-homosexual blogger in Mississippi involved in “a misguided attempt to destroy” the businessmen and their East Kemptville inn." Halifax Chronicle-Herald
  • "reprehensible homophobic comments" "grotesque" Judge Walker-Elrod, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal
Examples of hate speech published by Douglas Handshoe on Slabbed.