The Lawsuit Against Art Pedroza is Over; We won

SANTA ANA — The nearly two year lawsuit against Art Pedroza and the OrangeJuiceBlog is over.  Federal judge David O. Carter issued a minute order on Thursday, December 15, awarding $30,000 in damages on charges of cybersquatting, trademark infringement and unfair business practices to Thinking Liberally Media, the publishers of TheLiberalOC blog, Madison Alexander PR, Chris Prevatt, Ryan Trabuco and Claudio Gallegos.

Our phones and email inboxes have been filling up with messages of congratulations all day Friday from elected and non-elected partisan politicos throughout Orange County who learned of the judgment. Everyone we’ve heard from is happy about the news.

This award is on top of a $17,000 judgment against the OrangeJuiceBlog awarded in November 2010 and about $8,000 in additional unpaid sanctions for Pedroza’s repeated failure to turn over his hard drives as part of discovery ordered several times by the court.  We filed our final motions for summary judgment in the case citing Pedroza’s admission on the material facts in the case, the multiple emails from him begging for mercy and asking us to drop the case.  If our motion had been denied, we would be headed for trial in January. 

The motion was granted largely on the grounds that Pedroza failed to file a response in a timely fashion.  Opposition to our motion was due November 28.  Judge Carter cited Pedroza’s failure to file a timely response effectively meant Pedroza granted consent to our motion. 

We did get a copy of a response document by Pedroza that was filed late on December 15 after the judge issued his ruling.  In that document, Pedroza repeatedly insists that buying web domains similar to TheLiberalOC, Madison Alexander PR and the defendants– then routing them to hardcore gay pornography and the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) which promotes legalized sex between men and young boys — was parody and therefore protected speech.  Pedroza’s defense also contained a number of inaccuracies — that as the defendent, he sought to buy the domain “ArtPedroza.com” from Dan Chmielewski first (that isn’t true), and that he offered a straight swap of all the domains he bought for “his” name (that isn’t true either; he repeatedly insistened on including SeanMill.com owned by Trabuco), among others.

Interestingly enough, Pedroza still did not know he had lost the case by mid-Friday afternoon, having sent an email to the court seeking to move the hearing back two and a half hours citing a meeting at work he could not get out of.

The damages awarded — $30,000 — is about the norm for cases like this.  When the original judgement and sanctions are added, the total damages Pedroza will have to pay are about $55,000.  The case stretched out for nearly two years because just before we were supposed to go to trial in May, Pedroza filed for bankruptcy which froze the case.  We filed for, and won, a relief of stay and after another round of hearings (Pedroza failed to show for one), the December hearing date was our last shot at a summary judgement.  We’re confident we would have had our motion granted on the law even if Pedroza got his paperwork filed on time. 

Art Pedroza (photo from Pedroza & Associates website)

In two years, we have held our ground while Pedroza went from “Veganza”, to “I want to resolve this on my terms,” to “screw you,” to a suicide threat, to finding Jesus, to nice blogging on NewSantaAna, web consulting on behalf of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, and council members Sal Tiniajero and Michele Martinez without ethically disclosing these facts on his blog, and back to nastiness, bankruptcy (his second), groveling, and then to angry attack mode.  At the very beginning, Pedroza said to us, “you can’t put Pandora back in the box and it is on.”  He was right.  It was on and we did not waver.

For all of us, the case has never been about the money but about protecting our names, our professional reputations, and our business rights.  As many in Orange County politics know, a handshake truce with Pedroza has the shelf life of a Tuna Sandwich outside on a hot August day.  So the judgment we have received with the full force of the law behind it means Pedroza cannot ignore it like the  “handshake agreements” he so often has in the past. And we will take steps to protect our legal rights again in the future if we need to.

There has been a lot written about in the suit on mostly OJ and New Santa Ana blogs and in many posts that have since long been scrubbed (to hide the truth?); anonymous commenters have been allowed to post all manner of rumor, innuendo and outright lies about us, our friends and our families.  It has not been an easy two years and in cases like this, you find out who your friends are.  All of us at Thinking Liberally Media want to express our thanks and gratitude to our friends that stood by us and encouraged us to stay strong.  Thanks a million.

We also want to express our thanks and gratitude to our lawyer, Todd Gallinger, who did a fantastic job of managing our case and setting our expectations accordingly.  Todd, dubbed “Jihad Todd” and a “Terrorist Lawyer” by Pedroza’s friend, Santa Ana planning commissioner Sean Mill, brushed aside criticism and never wavered in his belief we’d win this thing.  Our thanks to Todd and his magnificent team at Gallinger Law.

A frequent theme in Pedroza’s email appeals to us was that he was bullied as a child and that he stood up to bullies.  But since then, Pedroza has become the bully of the blogsphere.  During the past two years, we’ve stood up against the bullying tactics of Pedroza time and again. His failed response to our motion neglects reference to Gay Porn and he seldom mentions NAMBLA.  He suggests that he is the victim of “stalking and terrorizing” behavior, and for someone who used the “parody” and “they started it” defense, he didn’t understand the April 1st post where we had a Pedroza doll was in fact, parody.  He used that post to make an accusation that TheLiberalOC was supporting perverts in Santiago Park because of the April Fool’s Day post we did with the Art Pedroza doll.  It strains logic to see his point.

Pedroza fails to see that the real bully in the blogsphere is him. We are pleased to see him finally held accountable for his actions.

  40 comments for “The Lawsuit Against Art Pedroza is Over; We won

  1. Repulsed
    December 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

    What a wonderful Christmas present Dan! Thank you so much. I’m sure it was a huge intrusion on your life to bring this to fruition.
    Art Pedroza is a bully and a liar. What a waste of human skin!

  2. December 20, 2011 at 9:42 am

    The more important question is how much did either of them contribute to Planned Parenthood

  3. December 20, 2011 at 11:19 am

    You’re wrong. I was there. I was playing piano. I saw Sal. I saw everybody. Art wasn’t there.

    • December 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      Tell you what Vern, when all your anon commenters are completely truthful, you can complain. How do you know this commenter wasn’t there and saw Art?

      Sal still paid Art during his election campaign in 2010 and Art never disclosed it in spite of glowing post after post. Seems a tad…unethical…doesn’t it?

      • December 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

        Sometimes I think you’re retarded. I am not defending Art. This has nothing to do with commenters on the OJ either. I’m just saying Art wasn’t there.

        Unless he poked his head in for a second, saw Al Amezcua and lots of other folks he’s savaged, and ran away. My impression is the guy doesn’t go out in public any more.

        • Intoxicated
          December 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

          Maybe you were wasted at the time?

          • December 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm

            Nope. Smartass.

        • Dan Chmielewski
          December 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm

          Retarded? Really Vern. Look at some of the choices you’ve made over your life and I’m the one who’s retarded. Nice.

          • December 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm

            It’s just that, so often, simple concepts take so much explaining to you. “Art was not there” is not any kind of complex or controversial proposal, it’s just a simple fact.

          • Dan Chmielewski
            December 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm

            Vern – spare me; you’re the one who picks and choses which laws you follow based on what you think is BS or not.

          • December 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm

            And this somehow disqualifies me from pointing out your poor reading comprehension?

            I don’t THEENK so!

  4. Henry Gattis
    December 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    How digusting our mayor and two council members paid Pedroza after the gay porn and NAMBLA prank.

  5. Ghost of Ted Moreno
    December 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    So how many people in Santa Ana will step up and help Pedroza pay? Sean Mill is his only friend

  6. junior
    December 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I am curious Dan – if Pedroza had simply apologized for what he (outrageously) did and released the urls, would you have been more lenient with him?

    • December 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      Um… I think he tried that a couple times, junior.

      • Dan Chmielewski
        December 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

        He only apologized after he lost the first case directly against the blog and only after significant expense on our part. And he actually asked us to craft his apology for him. He is without remorse.

        • junior
          December 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

          If Pedroza had apologized and reliquished the url’s right off – before any litigation ensued – would he have earned your leniency at that point?

          • Dan Chmielewski
            December 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm

            If “if’s” and “buts” were candy and nuts, it’d be Christmas every day.

            He was too busy telling us to screw ourselves and that “it is on.” Oh, and how dearly we would pay for this….

            The scenario you describe was never in the cards

            • junior
              December 21, 2011 at 7:01 am

              …. and if ifs were skiffs we would all have a boat.

              Anyway, I know that scenario was not in the cards – (reason and logic are not in Art’s DNA) – but what if ……. ?

  7. December 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Congrats on the suit being over. I never doubted that you would win. ReadWriteWeb has a nice article on you guys. The best line is “Pedroza is pretty much the ultimate slime ball,”

    They’re damn accurate over there at ReadWriteWeb… :)

    • Dan Chmielewski
      December 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks Dan. We are all glad its finally over.

  8. Claudio W. Gallegos
    December 21, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Hello blogosphere, allow me to opine on this wonderful development. Art is getting exactly what he has had coming to him for the past three years since he decided to lstab myself, Phil Bacerra, Thomas Gordon, Tish Leon and Mike Tardiff in the back. We believe the order came from someone on the Santa Ana City Council or the Planning Commission, but Art will not talk, all we have is cryptic clues he put in texts and e-mails that do not admit who worked with him to malign so many people but give us a clear picture he did not act alone. Yet as a result of this behavior he, and he alone(and his family) owe $55,000 while his co-conpirators walk away and are probably laughing their asses off at him. Art may have to pull his son out of UCLA and the family will lose their home all because he wanted a little positive affirmation from a Planning Commissioner and his pals on the Santa Ana City Clowncil. MESSAGE TO PEDROZA FAMILY: YOUR HUSBAND AND FATHER THREW YOU ALL UNDER THE BUS FOR A BUNCH OF POLITICIANS.

    In response to a couple of comments. Vern is correct that Art will not go to any political event where people he has pissed off might be present, at least not without a “bodyguard”(Sean Mill) or some quick exit strategy in the case someone actually brings their grievances directly to his face. He is the ultimate chicken who is brave behind the keyboard but has a spine of jelly when faced with real consequences. The Planned Parenthood event would have had Julio Perez, Melahat and Al Amezcua in attendance, Art would have peed his pants at the sight of them.

    But as for the “apology”, Vern sometimes I think you have listening comprehension issues. We have talked about that before and his “apologies” were nothing more than hollow words trying to get out of trouble. When I did a post that gave a history of Art’s transgressions towards me, he sent an e-mail attempting to apologize so I would take the post down. He is not sincere. Last spring Art, during his Christianity phase, attempted to negotiate a settlement to the lawsuit. Him and I had several conversations and I gave him a ultimatum for me to get out of the lawsuit. He had to 1) Admit all people who were involved in the cyberstalking, the twitter pages that went after my family and admit to three visits to my house where Art and at least one or two other individuals harassed my mother in law with some vicious lies. 2) Allow to meet with me personally so I could record his confession. He did not want to do that saying it would cost him too much. Cost him what, the last friends he has left?

    He did admit the two “likely” culprits behind the twitter pages were Sean Mill and Paul Lucas, which begs the question once again why Sean is even allowed to serve as a Planning Commission. Truth is justice prevailed for the most part. Art, better ask Sean, either one of the two prime suspects who we believe are Ken Lays Not Dead, Paul Lucas, Sal Tinajero and Michele Martinez to pay their fair share of what they probably should be paying from this lawsuit or pay for your son’s schooling. Its the least they could do for you for falling on your sword for them. Thats my thoughts, good to finally get them out.

    • December 21, 2011 at 8:01 am

      Again, what I said to junior was not that Art was sincere, or that he might be sincere one moment and then relapse the next (we know a leopard cannot change its spots.) I only said that he “tried” the apology route more than once.

    • Keith Richards
      December 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

      Claudio,

      Art throws his family under the bus because he knows Camille will never hold his feet to the fire like most wives would. He has Camille UNDER HIS THUMB. But MOVES LIKE JAGGER he ain’t got.

  9. junior
    December 21, 2011 at 8:18 am

    “apologies” were nothing more than hollow words trying to get out of trouble.”

    So true – so true – all well stated Claudio.

  10. Matthew Cunningham
    December 21, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Congratulations! It would have been less expensive — financially, mentally, emotionally — to have shrugged off Art’s spitefulness and duplicity. But you all persevered and now Art has to eat a giant karma sandwich. He brought this entirely on himself, from beginning to end — continually acting against his own self-interest as if he were a slave to a massive, ego-maniacal character flaw.

    • December 21, 2011 at 9:22 am

      Thanks Matt. Art will always see himself as the victim here.

  11. junior
    December 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

    “ReadWriteWeb has a nice article on you guys.”

    I likedthis line in the story:
    “Don’t give in to cyberbullies. Pedroza was determined, but the liberal bloggers were more so, and kept after him for two years in the courts. They wanted to keep their reputations intact and eventually saw their efforts pay off.”
    http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2011/12/blogger-v-blogger-socal-cybers.php

  12. December 21, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I had a chat with Andrew Galvan last night and blanked on a piece of evidence we were saving for trial, if it got that far.

    From Art’s former webmaster Terry Crowley:

    ******The following is the two part account of my conversation with Art Pedroza regarding the domain issues. I had been the webmaster for orangejuice.com since 2004, with some interruption because I was not living in Orange County after 2005. But I had managed Art Pedroza’s first campaign for School Board in 1998 and had been a consultant on political and internet matters since then. I had been chief of office staff for the Buchanan Reform campaign in 2000, and had been involved in the domain name issue surrounding the campaign later as Webmaster. We were some of the first to deal with the http://www.yournamesucks.com domain issues and variations, successfully fair pricing domain names like Buchanan.com for the campaign, etc…

    The first conversation took place on or around the evening of November 13th, 2009. Art discussed with me that The Liberal OC and a former consultant (whose name escapes me) had gotten together and transferred ownership of artpedroza.com to theliberaloc.com. They were using it to post unfavorable commentary. I told him if he could find some kind of reason why he needed the domain name, like running for office, going into business, he could get it back. He might have to go to court, etc… but the law was in his favor. Then he suggested he might go out and do the same thing in response. I told him he could do that all day. But if he went out and bought a .org for a .com business site, or a domain name like just http://www.liberaloc.com if it was available, they would be able to do the same thing in return.

    About a week later, he called me in the middle of the day and we had about a twelve minute conversation (as long as I could take a break at IBM).

    In that conversation, he told me he had bought a bunch of domains surrounding The Liberal OC people, business names, campaign names, etc… He then told me with glee he was redirecting some of the url’s to gay porn sites and NAMBLA sites like his former consultant had done for Van Tran, I think, in a previous election. (the consultant who sold artpedroza.com to The Liberal OC. I still can’t recall his name.) I told him that was a bad idea and would open him up to litigation, and he might end up paying for it. He then said he would offer to sell the domains back to them if they didn’t like it. “Worth a couple thousand a piece, don’t you think?” were his exact words. I said they might pay for convenience, but whatever they offer you had better take it. If you don’t sell, then you’re screwed. They might just offer the price of the domain and you should take it if they sell you yours.
    “They probably wouldn’t go directly to litigation and might make an offer, but at some point, you’re going to lose them.” I said.

    Then I reminded him about “fair use” and what he was doing was the opposite of that and might be construed as being done strictly to gain money. His words: “Hell yes. I think what they’ve done to me is worth something. Besides, they started it.”

    He spent the rest of the conversation focusing on extraneous details, being offended at a former friend, things which had no bearing, but acting as if they were justification for whatever he wanted to do.

    It was one of the last conversations we had.******

    Terry is one of multiple former OJ bloggers who are pleased with the ruling.

  13. jose s.
    December 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Chemonowski, you won nothing. You wont get a dime in damages because you deserve nothing for your lame lawsuit. All it proves is how petty and childish both you and pedroza are.

    • December 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      It is not childish to defend one’s name or reputation.

  14. December 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm
  15. Dan Chmielewski
    December 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Reporters don’t write the headlines Vern. The copy desk does. And since the Register now requires a Facebook ID, it scared the anonymous commenters away

  16. December 22, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Mmm.. that’s frequently true … but I think that’s an Andy title. I’ll ask him. It’s perfect anyway.

  17. Dan Chmielewski
    December 22, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Given your own reasons for not cooperating with Todd, I’m pleased to slap the childish label on you. At best, someone who picks and chooses which law they follow. At worst, an accessory to bankruptcy fraud. Thanks for playing

    • December 22, 2011 at 8:33 am

      Oh, is this the conspiracy theory where I give the Orange Juice back to Art now? Look, a black helicopter!

      • Dan Chmielewski
        December 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

        actually no, it’s the inability to return a call from my lawyer

  18. Justice
    December 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Justice prevails. Pedroza deserves everything he has coming to him. I hope you guys get his house. If he had any friends, they should pool their money to help him. but all he has is Sean Mill

  19. Francisco Barragan
    December 23, 2011 at 7:29 am

    To Dan, Chris, Claudio:

    Congratulations in defending your reputation and winning!

    P.S. So sad that because of Art’s actions his family will pay some of the consequences, as I am sure your families have too because of Art’s actions and words.

    Francisco “Paco”

  20. December 23, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Thank you Francisco. We appreciate your congratulations. My email and Facebook email are getting lots of nice notes too. Everyone is very kind and we appreciate it.

Comments are closed.