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That Awesome Time I Was Sued for Two Billion Dollars 3: Weird Legal Threats Through Mail Drops

BBS archivist Jason Scott elaborates on the contents of the insane legal notices he was receiving from the Paul Andrew Mitchell guy for a few years since 1998.

Triple damages?

Triple damages?

At the time that he started to write these letters to me, at one point he indicated that the Lenham Act permits triple damages (see right-hand image). This is an interesting assumption, it’s not true. But he estimated that there had been 2,371,324 downloads of his book on my site and probably a couple hundred others. In fact, mine had actually come from the Loft; the loft had archived all texts and I had that archive, and among them was this file, fedzone.txt. So, he simply assumed this wonderful number – no, he doesn’t explain where he got the number because that planet asks not to be identified. However, he claims that because these 2,371,324 people failed to pay the $25, he was now owed $59,283,100.00 in damages. “Also, I am batshit insane”,– that’s what it says in the end.

If you don’t come away with anything else I’m talking about here, bear in mind that in the grand scheme of getting legal threats and being told I am a bad person, I am probably one of the more rynoskinned people at this point. I am told I am awful all the time, in all various bits. I’ve been told this on comment boards, I’ve been told this in text files, I’ve been told this in voice mail. It’s what happens when you do a lot of different things on the Internet and you talk like I, obviously, do in this bombastic crazy ass funny manner that makes fun of people. But there’re a lot of you who don’t actually live that kind of life like I do. You wish to express yourselves, and you will express yourselves and you will encounter something like this. And there’s a real danger that you’ll come away from it, feeling like you’ve done something wrong or that every single person who takes the time to threaten you in this kind of fashion, which is not just “You suck! I hate you!” – is somehow valid.

notification-of-claimed

Looks like some serious stuff

I want you to walk away at least knowing, even if you walk out now, that: No, that’s not true. Don’t fall for that bullshit. Find out all the facts before you respond and go back. I just want to make that clear, because when you start getting letters like this – “Notification of Claimed Infringement” – then the next one says “Notice of Intent to Sue for Racketeering and Related Claims” (see left-hand image). Racketeering was invented to get rid of the mob, the idea being that if you have a gas station and you sell pot out of it, the gas station is liable for your pot selling. This is partially why a lot of franchises are owned by single people so they can go after it. Yet, theoretically, if someone wanted to, they could almost claim that McDonald’s Corporation was responsible in a racketeering way for a crime committed at a McDonald’s. This almost never goes that way. It sometimes happens in drug laws, but not often.

So, racketeering is one of those things where it’s understood why that tool came along, but it’s not necessarily something that’s going to happen. And this guy is claiming I was a racketeering organization because he thinks I stole his book.

Did I steal his book? That’s another question for another few minutes. After getting about 20 of these letters over the course of two or three years – I started getting them in 1998 – I was sent mail from the Constitutional Educational Research Foundation located in California. I should also point out, by the way, that all the mail that previously came – came through a series of mail drops. Mail drops were fascinating, and if you haven’t really been dealing with the mail in your lifetime, the way that most people send mail is that you send it out and it has to have a return address. But when you get your mail back, you have to kind of give them address. There are companies and places that will do nothing but take your mail in and send it to another one, and they’ll do this for X amount of months. And so, you don’t ever give your information out, and then you cut off that mail drop and go to the next place, and that’s why you do it. That way, if there’re old bills they have this address for you.

Settlement offer

Settlement offer

Well, he was a great education on all these different mail drops, because they were all over the place. Forwarding agent is a pretty good sign, by the way. So, one day, from a forwarding agent, I got mail from Lonnie G. Schmitz, settlement negotiator. He sent to “All Named Defendants” in this “Mitchell v. AOL Time Warner, Inc. et al.” lawsuit, which didn’t exist yet, by the way (see right-hand image). But it offered me great settlement opportunities for this.

Settlement details

Settlement details

For only $25, which was the price of the original, all these people could have avoided the lawsuit. Now they are faced with extensive legal expenses and the very real prospect of massive damage awards, with no ceiling in sight (see left-hand image). And later in the letter: “For your information, Mr. Mitchell has begun to pre-assign a portion of His awards to worthy charitable organizations. Depending on your unique situation, it may also be possible to offset His damages with a tax-deductible donation”.

Check, please

Check, please

Now, it’s interesting because then it says: “Well, if you settle, some of the money will help kids.” But the thing is, again, I want you to understand this from the point of view of a person who has no other knowledge of this going on: this is truly terror, because this person is speaking in extremely scary language, and these weird threats are coming through the mail, and he would write everything in the form of a legal document – you’d start to think that you are really truly fucked, and you wouldn’t know what to do. Ostensibly you would give him $25, i.e. this is probably vaguely extortion. In fact, by this point he’d actually been able to show some of the unpaid settlements that he believed he was owed for this legal case that hadn’t happened yet. So, his number was now at $97,112,041.31 (see image above). Check, please.

Miranda warning in the mail!

Miranda warning in the mail!

He also included a Miranda warning (see right-hand image). That’s awesome! I was mailed a Miranda warning! In the mail, I picked it up and I was told that anything I would say and do from this point forward could be used against me, I guess up to today. But damn it if you didn’t do it, if you didn’t just say that. He said: “Because of the Fifth Amendment you can do this, and because of this it will be held against you.”
 

Read previous: That Awesome Time I Was Sued for Two Billion Dollars 2: Trademark and Intellectual Property Claims

Read next: That Awesome Time I Was Sued for Two Billion Dollars 4: Who Is the Eccentric Plaintiff?

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