Righthaven catches a break in court

Copyright lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas finally received a break on Wednesday when a judge rejected requests that it be found in contempt of court, be placed in receivership and that U.S. Marshals seize its assets.

All these requests were made by attorneys for Righthaven defendant Wayne Hoehn after Righthaven failed to pay his $34,045 in legal fees by a Sept. 14 deadline.

The fees were ordered to be paid after Hoehn prevailed against Righthaven in one of its copyright infringement lawsuits.

Righthaven is appealing the rulings dismissing its lawsuit and awarding the fees to Hoehn.

U.S. District Judge Philip Pro on Wednesday wrote in an order that "plaintiff does not enjoy a reasonable probability of success on the merits of its appeal."

Nevertheless, Pro stayed judgment against Righthaven having to pay the attorney’s fees while the case is on appeal — on the condition that Righthaven post a bond to secure the judgment within 30 days.

In a setback for Hoehn’s attorneys, Pro ruled, "The court rejects defendant’s argument that any bond posted to secure the stay pending appeal should account for additional potential attorneys’ fees which may be incurred in this case."

Hoehn’s attorney’s at Randazza Legal Group in Las Vegas had sought a bond of $148,118 to cover their fees that are due and that will be incurred during the appeals process.

Without commenting, Pro also rejected requests by Randazza Legal Group that Righthaven be found in contempt, be placed in receivership and that marshals be authorized to seize its assets.

Attorneys appeared to be operating with the understanding that when Pro didn’t immediately act on Righthaven’s Sept. 9 stay of judgment request, and the Sept. 14 deadline passed without Pro acting, that the Sept. 14 deadline was still in place.

But in Pro’s order Wednesday, he said Righthaven had up to Sept. 22 to reply to the Hoehn opposition to the stay request.

Similarly, when Righthaven didn’t hear from Pro and the deadline passed, Righthaven took the issue to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday as an "urgent motion."

In that request, Righthaven said it potentially faced bankruptcy if Hoehn tried to seize its assets.

The action by Pro on Wednesday appeared to make Tuesday’s filing with the 9th Circuit moot.

Wednesday’s ruling followed recent legal setbacks by Righthaven including Tuesday’s ruling in Colorado finding it lacked standing to sue over Denver Post content there.