Lawfare…with a whimper

I had missed this among the various histrionics among the right post Biden’s inauguration. The legal dispute between Owen ‘Flat Earth’ Benjamin and Patreon appears to be over. Patreon asked for the case they had lodged to be dismissed. Court documents for case CGC20584586 PATREON, INC. VS. PAUL MICHAEL AYURE ET AL show that the case was taken off calendar on January 20 after Patreon had asked for it to be dismissed.

Vox “I have never been a neo-Nazi” Day did make a short post about it and was obviously pleased but there are no surrounding details.

Previous posts can be found here https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/11/14/lawfare-developments/

15 thoughts on “Lawfare…with a whimper

  1. Pleased, but puzzled, which has me suspecting that the Dark Lord Gossage-Vardebedian Spode is once again applauding another self-immolation. Beale may not be QUITE a Sovereign Citizen, as opposed to Daddy, but he shares with the creed that strange combination of nasty litigiousness married with contempt for the law, as well as an arrogant belief in his own mastery of it coupled with a fabulous ignorance of how it all works.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patron converted the request for dismissal to a dismissal with prejudice. It looks like someone folded and I don’t think it was Patreon. The immediately preceding document requested $30,000 in costs from the defendants. If I understand correctly (IANAL) that means there was a settlement that specifically allowed Patreon to recover costs. That doesn’t look like an abject surrender from Patreon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My deepest apologies, I appear to have misread the document. Badly. It looks as if I got the wrong side, so maybe they did win. Of course there very likely is a settlement. Also I think this is just the case on the terms and conditions. Even if Patreon did lose that case, it just means they have to eat the cost of the arbitrations this time, it’s a blow, but probably not fatal.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. The Problem with this news is: Beale will always declare victory, so that is meanigless.
    For me case dismissed doesn’t sound like a victory for Mr Flat earth and what Paul King sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dismissal with prejudice is pretty strong stuff. And Patreon being legally allowed to collect all those fees from the RWNJ is in no way a loss for Patreon, but a pretty big loss for the RWNJ.

    I’m sure Patreon doesn’t actually expect to collect the money — I doubt if the defendant idiots could scrape up $30K between them — but the judgement stands (I said the costs were going to go way into the thousands, and lo they did).

    The idiots, far from owning Patreon as Teddy promised them, now owe them $30K — which at minimum is going to show up on their Permanent Record, probably badly affecting their credit rating. And of course, anyone who searches for them will now find this in public records. They lost bigly. They are LOOOOOOSERRRRS. And we all know who they are and where they live.

    Plus Patreon now has a ton of supporting court documents to reaffirm their ToS. Those were written at a 12 year old’s level, so it doesn’t say much for the acumen of the people who signed on for this.

    Mr. Flat Earth is still banned from Patreon. Patreon gets to arbitrate-enforce their ToS terms. These chuckleheads are self-doxxed, out at least a few bucks for the filings, and on the hook for their share.

    Notice Teddy never puts his money where his mouth is? He leads from the back. Why are people still so stupid as to believe anything he says? Keep your hand on your wallet and count the spoons when he’s around.

    He’s free to declare victory since the defendants didn’t lose everything they own, and he got free publicity out of it. Attention (good or bad) is all he really wants, and he got that.

    Not that it will ever win him his father’s love.

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  5. I’m fairly sure that Beale and his cronies are gushing over complex legal maneuvers they don’t understand that have insulated Patreon from any serious damages. Because that’s what he does–declares stalemates and defeats victories.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What I suspect is that there was a settlement. Patreon agreed to dismiss their case if the plaintiffs withdrew their requests for arbitration and requested a dismissal with prejudice after they did so. Dismissal is the usual way to handle settlements and dismissal with prejudice if the settlement is locked in. It’s not the only possibility, but it is a plausible one that fits the facts we know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Which I think would mean Patreon’s ToC stands — or if not, this case is a powerful disincentive to anyone else who might think suing them over it is a good idea.

      I mean, it looks like at BEST that the dozens of dopes ended up right where they started, provided they aren’t out their lawyer’s fees (which, maybe not — their lawyers likely took it on contingency and will have to eat the filing fees and billable hours). And of course, everyone now knows who they are. Companies don’t like to hire litigious people (esp. ones who weren’t directly harmed by the action), so I hope they’ve all got secure employment.

      $30K seems like a small price to pay for Patreon to get a legal re-affirment of their ToC.

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  7. I asked my law-adjacent friend (IANAL, and they aren’t either) to take a gander at the case, and ELI5.

    1. Any money that may or may not have been exchanged is confidential, so we’ll never know.

    2. Whether the Flat Earthers can now proceed in arbitration is also confidential.

    3. It was a genuine compromise between the parties, who pinky-swore not to tell anyone and the matter was withdrawn.

    4. Patreon had its contention about the T&Cs upheld — everything has to go to private arbitration, not a public court of law.

    5. My friend said arbitration is “a private court that you have to pay for”, but it does have a different standard of proof than actual court, since you only have to convince one judge and not a whole jury. OTOH it usually favors corporations, not individuals.

    6. Patreon’s arbitration provider has offices on a high floor of a building in the Financial District of downtown San Francisco. Think about how much that costs in rent, and thus how much those arbitrators probably charge.

    7. You still have to do evidence, depositions, etc. in arbitration, just like in a real trial. With real lawyers, real money, piles of documents, etc.

    So maybe they go to arbitration. Maybe they don’t. Maybe the lawyers on both sides got reimbursed, maybe they didn’t.

    Bottom line:

    a) Patreon now has a court judgment/legal opinion that says you HAVE to go through arbitration if you have a problem with them.

    b) their T&C saying you can’t sue on someone else’s behalf is upheld, as is their right to refuse service to anyone.

    c) the chuckleheads are still self-doxxed.

    d) Teddy’s wrong again (we knew that going in).

    Last fall: “These 70 people will soon own Patreon and make all the rules!”

    Now: They not only don’t own Patreon, Patreon’s rules are upheld, they’re doxxed, some lawyers may or may not have been paid, and Teddy has no idea what a 998 is. He thinks it’s some seekrit legal ju-jitsu; it’s really a standard process in settling out of court. (But what do you expect from Bob the Federal felon’s boy?)

    The Evil League of Evil strikes out again.

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      1. That’s what I thought, the plaintiffs were trying to weaponise the arbitration by all filing the same complaint. The idea being that it would be so expensive to fight that Patreon would give in. Patreon changed their terms of service so they couldn’t file those complaints and that’s why they sued Patreon.

        The dismissal of the case with prejudices is a pretty big sign that it’s moot. Winning the case doesn’t do much in itself – the worst it could mean for Patreon is having to defend all those arbitrations. But the dismissal is more likely a sign that Patreon have won in another way, and won’t have to do that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Patreon was trying to stop the arbitration because the RWNJ were suing on behalf of someone else, which their updated T&C didn’t allow. Patreon didn’t wanna do anything.

        However, Patreon is certainly more willing to do arbitration than suing in court, because they can afford arbitration more than J. Random Person can. * They were willing to pony up the extra money to have it declared a complex case.

        It looks as though the settlement means nobody gets/has to arbitrate Mr. Flat Earth’s case at all. He’s out, finito, has to grift elsewhere.

        In sum:

        Mr. Flat Earth is still banned from Patreon
        Patreon now has legal precedent for its current T&C
        The RWNJ are possibly out some money (which they can’t write off, like Patron can)
        The RWNJ are self-doxxed.
        The RWNJ lawyers had to eat the court costs IF they took it on a contingency basis.

        The latter is the easiest way for a random person to do court. The contingency fee lawyers advertise “you don’t have to pay us anything unless you win!” Which (and I speak from experience), is literally true. If you lose, you’re out nothing and the lawyers eat their own hours. If you win, they get 33-40% of your money. Settling out of court, they might only get 25-33% of the money. You may have to pay filing fees, deposition costs, etc. either way.

        So even in their wildest dreams, they’d have only gotten 2/3 of Patreon, split between them all.

        *This is the building the arbitrators have their office in. It is LITERALLY “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”. Before Covid, it was $75-80 per square foot per month. A small office thus was running near unto a cool quarter-mil every month, $3 million a year just in rent.

        https://www.cbre.us/properties/properties-for-lease/office/details/US-SMPL-41616/4-embarcadero-center-94111?view=isLetting

        https://42floors.com/us/ca/san-francisco/4-embarcadero-ctr

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