Extortionate Investigative Blogger Crystal Cox: Summary By a Federal Judge

crystal cox extortion

Crystal Cox Might Be an Extortionist

Crystal L. Cox has a perfect record so far in her litigation against a large group people she claims are involved in a vast conspiracy… Every single case gets thrown out of federal court. The latest federal lawsuit by Crystal Cox to get dismissed is in the District of Massachusetts.

Almost as important as the dismissal itself is a 15 page opinion by Chief Judge Patti B. Saris. (Of the 10 district judges in Boston who could have handled this case, the chief herself saw fit to handle this idiocy!) The opinion is important because it summarizes the Crystal Cox saga so well. Cox is not well, so much explanation is necessary to for anyone to understand how Cox went from making up baseless allegations of tax fraud and money laundering by Obsidian Finance and Kevin Padrick, all the way to suing about 65 largely unrelated parties for largely unrelated matters, which Cox alleges are all “connected” to conspiracies steal technology and ruin her life.

You can read the entire opinion here, but I am cutting and pasting liberally from the order to give readers a fairly complete picture of the shenanigans of Crystal L. Cox. (Bold added to selected text by me.)

Notably, within the past six months or so, Cox has filed a number of law suits making related allegations and/or naming many of the same defendants as in this action. See Cox v. Randazza, et al., 2:13-cv-00297-MMD-VCF (D. Nev (Las Vegas))(filed Feb. 24, 2013); Cox v. Hill et al., 4:13-cv-02046 (N.D. Ca. (Oakland)) (filed May 2, 2013); Cox v. Godaddy, et al., 2:13-cv-00962-MEA (D. Ariz.(Phoenix Division))(filed May 8, 2013); Cox v. Michaelson, et al., 3:13-cv-03136-AET-DEA (D. N.J.(Trenton))) (filed May 9, 2013); Cox v. Coenen, et al., 2:13-cv-00534 (E.D. Wisc.(Milwaukee))(filed May 13, 2013); Cox v Coenen, et al., 1:13-cv-03633 (N.D. Ill.(Chicago))(filed May 14, 2013); Cox v Carr, et al., 2:13-cv-00938-APG-GWF (D. Nev.(Las Vegas))(filed May 28, 2013)(transferred from the Southern District of New York, see 1:13-cv-03257-LAP).

The complaint is not entirely intelligible or organized. It is set forth in rambling narrative rather than in paragraph form, is repetitive, and contains bald allegations of defamation and conspiracy. Interspersed in the complaint are copies of e-mail correspondence. From what can be gleaned from the complaint and public records, the relevant background is as follows.

In 2011, Cox was the defendant in a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. See Obsidian Finance Group, LLC, et al. v Cox, 3:11-cv-00057-HZ (D. Or. (Portland)). In that action, Obsidian Finance Group LLC (“OFG”) and Kevin D. Padrick (“Padrick”) alleged that Cox defamed them, causing them to incur substantial financial injury.

Specifically, they claimed that in Cox’s numerous blog posts and websites, she stated that Padrick and OFG had engaged in, inter alia, tax fraud, bribery, and money laundering. A jury trial was held before District Judge Marco A. Hernandez, and on November 29, 2011, the jury returned a verdict for plaintiffs. They awarded $1,000,000.00 to OFG and $1,500,000.00 to Padrick. Thereafter, Judge Hernandez denied Cox’s motion for a new trial. See Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 2012 WL 1065484 (D. Or. Nov. 29, 2011). Cox’s appeals are pending. See Nos. 12-35238 and 12-25319 (9th Cir. 2012). Apparently, the watershed moment in that case was Judge Hernandez’s ruling that Cox, an internet blogger, failed to produce any evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist. Thus, she was not deemed to be a “journalist” or part of the media, and therefore she was not entitled to the protection of the state’s shield law in the defamation suit.

After that lawsuit, Randazza, his wife Jennifer Randazza,and their (then) three-year old daughter, brought suit through their attorney, Ronald D. Green (a defendant in this action) against Cox alleging that she registered no less than 32 internet domain names that incorporated all or part of the plaintiffs’ names, in an effort to extort and harass them and capitalize upon and damage the goodwill that Randazza has in his name. See Randazza, et al. v. Cox, et al., 2:12-cv-02040-GMN-PAL (D. Nev (Las Vegas))(filed Nov. 28, 2012). The case was assigned to Judge Gloria M. Navarro, also a named defendant in this action.

Specifically, the Randazzos alleged that Cox acted in a manner similar to that alleged by OFG and Paddick, arguing that Cox had a bizarre pattern of online harassment, by identifying her victims, registering (through herself or under proxy) multiple domain names using their full names, and accusing them of various wrongdoings. They claimed that Cox informed her victims that she would not cease her false attacks unless they agreed to purchase her fee-based “reputation management” service to “clean up” her search engine results. She also offered to sell a registered domain name to Randazza or another purchase for $5,000,000.00. They claimed that Cox violated, inter alia, the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. They also claimed she violated individual cyberpiracy protections, committed cyberpiracy, cybersquatting, and civil conspiracy. Cox has defended the action claiming violations of her First Amendment rights as media.

[snip]

On January 11, 2013, Judge Navarro issued a preliminary injunction and directed, among other things, that Cox and others were temporarily enjoined and restrained from registering or trafficking in any domain name containing the Randazzas’ names or confusing similar variations thereof. Cox was also prohibited from operating or maintaining any website that included the Randazzas’ names. Further, she was ordered to immediately cease and desist any and all use of the Randazzas’ names, including the use of the domain names, and to take all necessary actions to transfer the domain names to the plaintiffs. Thereafter, on February 22, 2013, Judge Navarro struck Cox’s counter-complaint, stating that she could only file her counter complaint as a separate lawsuit. This action remains pending.

The instant action apparently arises out of the circumstances surrounding both the OFG lawsuit and the Randazza lawsuit. Here, Cox alleges that Randazza was her attorney, and that he committed legal malpractice and other torts by knowingly lying to judges, media, and others regarding a trademark with respect to RLG. She claims the defendants “took massive online media and intellection [sic] property from [her].” Compl. at 10. Included in her allegations are claims for loss of domain names and business, destruction of online content, and deleted websites.

Next, she claims Randazza conspired with other defendants in connection with the OFG case to sabotage her appeal in the Ninth Circuit, and to defame her. Without reiterating each of Cox’s allegations against the multitude of defendants (which is virtually impossible to organize and discern in any meaningful way), suffice it to say that generally, she claims the various media defendants conspired to defame her by publishing false and defamatory statements that Cox was guilty of extortion and attacking a three-year old, and that she acted in an unethical and criminal manner. She also contends that Judge Navarro’s grant of preliminary injunctive relief to the Randazzos caused a backlash of defamation, harassment, retaliation, loss of reputation, clients, and friends and family, and that Kevin Padrick sent a false e-mail in order to put her in a false light to entrap her for extortion. In short, she challenges actions in connection with the OFG lawsuit and the Randazza lawsuit, and the aftermath from those actions.

As relief, Cox seeks $100 million in damages from each of the defendants Forbes, Inc., New York Public Radio, New York Times, Sequence, Inc., Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and 1-50 John and Jane Doe defendants. She seeks $10 million in damages against each of the remaining defendants. Finally, she seeks injunctive relief enjoining the defendants from publishing false and defamatory statements about her.

[snip]

Nevertheless, even under a liberal construction, this action must be dismissed for the reasons discussed below.

C. Improper Venue
Given the litigation history discussed above, it is crystal clear that the District of Massachusetts is not the proper forum to address Cox’s claims. Because the defense of improper venue is “obvious from the face of the complaint and no further factual record is required to be developed,” this action will be dismissed. See Trujillo v. Williams, 465 F.3d 1210, 1217 (10th Cir. 2006).

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a district court may transfer the action to any other district or division where it might have been brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Because Cox has many lawsuits pending in other districts (e.g., Nevada, California, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Illinois), this Court declines to transfer this action to any particular court.

D. Declination to Appoint Counsel
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, a “court may request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e (1).  In view of the dismissal of this action for improper venue, appointment of pro bono counsel cannot be justified.

Accordingly, this Court will DENY Cox’s request to appoint pro bono counsel (contained in her complaint).

E. The Motion to Submit Documents Electronically
Cox seeks permission to electronically file in this case. She claims to be familiar with this process. Presumably, this would permit faster filing/docketing and would reduce the need to serve paper documents to 100+ defendants. Nevertheless, in light of the dismissal of this action, there is no good basis for granting her access to CM/ECF or PACER. Accordingly, this Court will DENY her Motion to Submit Documents Electronically (Docket No. 3).

F. Certification That Any Appeal Would Not Be Taken In Good Faith
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) and Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3), the Court finds, and will CERTIFY, that, based on Cox’s litigation history as set forth herein and the finding of improper venue, that any appeal by Cox of the matters contained in this Memorandum and Order would not be taken in good faith. Such a certification prohibits in forma pauperis status on appeal even though Cox has been found to be indigent, unless permission is obtained from the appellate court.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) “[a]n appeal may not be taken in forma pauperis if the trial court certifies in writing that it is not taken in good faith.” Id. Similarly, under Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3), a party who has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis in the district court may proceed on appeal in forma pauperis without further authorization, unless the district court certifies that the appeal is not taken in good faith. Id. (emphasis added).

For the reasons stated herein, this Court finds that any appeal of the rulings contained in this Memorandum and Order would not deserve additional judicial attention.

Should Cox seek to appeal the dismissal of this action, she must pay the appellate filing fee or she must seek leave to proceed in forma pauperis from the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

And THAT, my friends, is how a judge puts a stop to Crystal Cox’s nonsense.

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