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888-753-3849 Paul Hughes David Allen Collections

I answered a phone number from a blocked call. A kind soul informed me that he was a process server paying me a courtesy call. He had tried serving me twice at my home, and now was going to serve me at my place of employment. Isn't that thoughtful? 

Who would want to be served with process at the office? How embarassing. No doubt I should arrange to have him serve me.

Of course, this isn't how process servers work. If they can't find you, they assume you're hiding from them. You don't warn someone who is hiding from you that you're coming to get them. Some uninformed souls would no doubt be tricked.

I asked for the caller's name and phone number. He identified himself as Paul Hughes of Process Serving Incorporated. He gave me a telephone number to call (888-753-3849) as well as a case number.

I immediately called 888-753-3849. A man answered with this greeting, "Corporate Office." I asked him what company resided there. "There are two entities," he told me. I asked him to identify them. He would not.

He then asked me for my case number so that he could route my call. I told him his company was a scam, and he hung up.

A couple of minutes later, I received another call from a blocked number. Someone who identified himself as David Allen was upset that I'd call his company a scam. He did, however, want to talk to me about an alleged debt.

Unfortunately for him, I monitor my credit report. There is no debt to collect on. He insisted I was wrong.

He then gave me the last four digits of someone's Social Security Number. So I had some fun:

My friends are consumer class action lawyers, and I'm actually doing an investigation on their behalf.
You are committing fraud!
Look, you deal with some unsophisticated people that you can take advantage of. I get that. 
I am going to call the police. This is a crime!
I'm sure you're able to intimidate most people you talk to. This won't work on me.
Shame on you, for impersonating someone to get information! 

He hung up on me, leaving me to wonder whether I should track him down.

Rakofsky Tries Settling Frivolous Lawsuit for Nuisance Value

In a motion for sanctions, it's revealed that Joseph Rakofsky has already tried extorting $5,000 out of the people he's sued:

Mr. Doudna, Earlier this month, I proposed to certain defendants that we entertain discussions of possible settlement. My proposal was that each of the defendants pay a nominal sum of $5,000 in full and complete settlement of the claims asserted against them in my Amended Complaint and refrain from making any further publications that in any way relate to me or my law firm. My offer presumed that each of the defendants who wished to accept my offer and I and my law firm would exchange general releases. I made the offer to be accepted by any defendant who wished to do so within 7 days. Even though you have thus far failed to make an appearance or to come forward, I will extend to you the same offer. Thank you.

Yours truly, Joseph Rakofsky

What's interesting about this shakedown attempt is that the person he seeks the money from - like me and dozens of other defendants - doesn't live, work, or have any business in New York. Thus, New York's long-arm statute doesn't apply to us. 

Rakofsky has dug himself into a deep hole in record time. He might be the worst lawyer who ever practiced law.

Has Joseph Rakofsky Become a Self-Parody?

Josephy Rakofsky has sued a bunch of people (including me) for, among other things, calling him unethical and incompetent. How does a person defending himself from a defamation claim prove that a lawyer is incompetent? Perhaps the best way is to have that lawyer submit a moving paper and res ipsa loquitur

Rakofsky has thus given the defendants a great gift with his motion. In his motion, Rakofsky accuses a lawyer of unethical conduct for telling him to, "Shut the fuck up." His support? The Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which are not binding in New York. While accusing other lawyers of incompetence for violating New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR), Rakofsky's motion cites not a single New York case or statute. How can you support your claim that a lawyer violated the CPLR without actually citing the CPLR? 

Rakofsky's motion is also full of words that are sure to not impress a court, including, "odious and egregious," "false, scandalous and defamatory," "vile and scandalous," "egregious," "extremely vile, inflammatory and insulting," "vile and offensive," "egregious and offensive," etc.

This is an amazing piece of work, and a lot of people are starting to eye Rakofsky's trust funds and real property. 

According to his motion, Rakofsky made a settlement offer. He demanded that everyone erase any negative reference to him, and pay him cash. There will be no settlement. 

Comparing a Father and Son

I poured a quart of Epsom salt into a stream of hot water. It was a rough week of training, and I needed to soak in a hot bath. Grief overwhelmed me, and I began crying.

Some people wiser than I appreciated their fathers from an early age. Although I've always loved and been grateful to him, fatherhood didn't make sense until my 30's. 

My life is hedonistic and self-indulgent. I don't own a home, and never want to. Other than student loans and a dog, I have no obligations. If times get tough, I can stay with friends and live a piker's existence. 

When I jump into a hot bath, it's because my muscles are sore from lifting weights, which I do mainly because I'm vain. When my dad took the same Epsom salt baths, it was because his body was beaten down from eight-dollar-an-hour factory jobs.  Dad

When my dad was my age, he had four children and a wife to support. What must it have been like, waking up every day, knowing others depended on you?

What was it like knowing you had never-ending obligations. Four kids and a wife to support? What kind of pressure was that?

When he was just a couple of years older than I am, he applied for a state police job. A friend within the force told him he didn't get the job because of affirmative action - and this was confirmed years later, as the state police settled a class action reverse discrimination lawsuit.

What must it have felt like to work hard and be cheated? How does one continue on? Again, he had no choice. He continued grinding out in factories. 

Well, that's a lie. He did have a choice. He could have left his family. He could have sought some "me time." Instead, he kept answering the far-too-early morning's alarm clock.

When you're poor, ordering pizza is a big deal. Every Friday night was pizza night. I used to argue with my dad, as he liked taco pizza. I preferred Meat Lover's, and he'd sometimes let me win.

During junior high, I took a part-time job cleaning the offices of the factory where my dad worked. My grandmother took me on a tour of the factory floor. After I saw his working conditions - sooty, with iron clanging and people screaming, I never argued with him again.

When you live in a poor area, there aren't many jobs. You work in a factory or you take a city job. When my dad was 35, he applied for a job with the city police force.

He studied the police question-and-answer books. He set goals, lost 30 pounds, and go into fantastic shape. He was prepared for the test.

His hard work paid off. He had the highest test scores, and thus was guaranteed a job. His family's standard of living would have been twice as high, and he would have gotten out of the factories. 

My dad must have felt so proud. He worked hard. No one did him any favors. He earned his job. He did everything right. He played by the rules. Or so he thought.

Then someone read that although my dad wasn't too old to be offered the job, he was too old to have applied for it in the first place. The police thus went to disqualify him, and the issue came before the police commission.

My grandfather was on the police commission, and abstained from fighting for my father. He said nothing. Was my dad's dad more worried about preserving relationships with the local psuedo-aristocracy than fighting for his son? What must it have felt like to not have your own father defend you?

My dad's disappointments would have sent me into a self-destructive rage. My dad fought on. He never abandoned his family. He never took any vaction days. He worked up at 4:30 a.m. to begin his 5:15 a.m. shift. He abused his body for us.

While I can't identify with my dad, I can compare myself to him, and realize what a horrible person I am - and what a great person he is. I'm basically a narcissistic piece of shit, and the world needs less men like me and more like my dad.

Thankfully for my brothers, sister, and mother, we had my dad. Thankfully there are still a few men like him in this world.

Happy Father's Day.

Hermon Raju and the Value of an NYU Education

Highly proficient professional with a passion for pushing limits on expectations. Able to contribute towards business development and strategy pertaining to the energy and financial services sectors. Specialized ability to finance renewable energy projects. Excellent management and communication skills with knowledge of trading systems and strategy.

Never Trust a Lawyer Who Doesn't Study Psychology

Lawyers, like humans, seem to be only contextually smart. Tell a lawyer what you think the law is, and he will ask: What are your case citations? It's simply understood that a person making a claim must support his claim with the best available evidence. 

Yet talk to a lawyer about trials or juries. Juries are human, and thus one would think a lawyers opinions on jury dynamics would have some basis in the study of human behavior, namely psychology. You'd be surprised at the number of lawyers who have never read a book on psychology.  Charming

Thus, much of what is considered conventional wisdom is nothing more than superstition. Take, for example, the example of mug shots. Imagine your client is going to be arrested. What do you tell him to do? More importantly, what do you base your advice on? 

John Edwards was arrested, and he's smiling. What would one lawyer advise?

In high-profile cases, clients will sometimes ask defense counsel how they should look in a mug shot that will be plastered across the media. There are different schools of thought, but John Edwards clearly went with the smiling “I Can’t Believe These Guys Are Doing This” shot.

On one hand if you look sad, you look guilty On the other hand, if you look happy, you appear callous.

I have serious reservations about this case and its legal grounding. However, I would have encouraged Edwards to adopt a more neutral look for his mug shot. 

This is stupid. As much as you might intellectually dislike people who smile (and, yes, you should be suspicious of smilers), it's a fact that smiling and being well dressed makes people well-liked. It works even when you know that the person in front of you is a viper

Interestingly, recent findings also show that narcissism is detectableat zero acquaintance (Vazire et al., 2008). Observers thus seem to like narcissists at first sight, although they accurately perceive their narcissism.

Are narcissists really more popular at first sight? When perceivers were exposed to the full amount of information available from targets’ appearances and behaviors at zero acquaintance, a significant positive effect of narcissism on popularity was found. Narcissists indeed make a positive impression on strangers. This was found for uninvolved as well as for highly involved perceivers. Thus, despite the negative interpersonal consequences of narcissism in long-term relationships, narcissists are more popular at first sight.

Thus, if you want people to like you - and if you're charged with a crime, you need people to like you - then you had better smile and wear nice clothing:

Narcissism was related to fancier clothing, a more charming facial expression, more self-assured body movements, and more verbal humor, all of which led to popularity.

In trials, the law is almost always going to go against the defense, and thus reading cases has only marginal value. I'll wager that Gerry Spence hasn't read a published opinion in several years. Far more valuable than the most recent published opinion is the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which you can scan here.

Is Righthaven's Steven Gibson, of Dickinson Wright, an Unethical Lawyer?

Steven Gibson is the CEO of Righthaven, a notorious copyright troll that has found itself beaten up in court, over and over again. Courts simply do not trust Righthaven, and thus people being sued by Righthaven/Steven Gibson should think hard before settling.  Earth to Steve

In a rececent court order, a federal judge accused Righthaven, and thus Gibson, of unethical conduct. No, the trial court did much more. The court issued a show-cause order. That, the court gave Gibson 20 days to prove to the court that Gibson did not lie to the court. If the federal judge is correct, Gibson committed serious misconduct: 

As shown in the preceding pages, the Court believes that Righthaven has made multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements to the Court. Here, however, the Court will only focus on the most factually brazen: Righthaven’s failure to disclose Stephens Media as an interested party in Righthaven’s Certificate of Interested Parties. (Dkt. #5.) Rule 7.1-1 of the Local Rules of Practice for the District of Nevada requires parties to disclose “all persons, associations of persons, firms, partnerships or corporations (including parent corporations) which have a direct, pecuniary interest in the outcome of the case.” This Local Rule requires greater disclosure than Federal Rule 7.1, which only requires non-governmental corporate parties to disclose parent corporations or corporations owning more than 10% of the party’s stock. Frankly, if receiving 50% of litigation proceeds minus costs (Dkt. #79, SAA Section 5) does not create a pecuniary interest under Local Rule 7.1-1, the Court isn’t sure what would.

Making this failure more egregious, not only did Righthaven fail to identify Stephens Media as an interested party in this suit, the Court believes that Righthaven failed to disclose Stephens Media as an interested party in any of its approximately 200 cases filed in this District. Accordingly, the Court orders Righthaven to show cause, in writing, no later than two (2) weeks from the date of this order, why it should not be sanctioned for this flagrant misrepresentation to the Court.

The full order is here: Download Order. One would hope that the State Bar of Nevada would begin an investigation asking why a federal judge "believes that Righthaven has made multiple inaccurate and likely dishonest statements to the Court," involving at least one "flagrant misrepresentation."