According to Rick DeBruhl, Chief Communications Officer of the State Bar of Arizona, Attorney Daniel Warner is currently under investigation by the Arizona Bar. The Arizona Bar is also considering whether to launch an investigation on Warner’s partner, Attorney Aaron Kelly, in which we will cover in a follow-up story.
This investigation may have been prompted by a formal complaint filed by Eugene Volokh, a frequent contributor to the Washington Post.
In an article published recently in the Washington Post, Volokh describes how Attorney Daniel Warner and his partner Aaron Kelly have engaged in litigation that seems to be fraudulent. The purpose of the lawsuits? To “trick” Google into removing negative articles and comments from their search results about people accused of very serious crimes and other misdeeds.
Eugene Volokh wrote an article last year describing how certain lawyers and their clients are using less-than-legal methods to remove damaging information from Google’s search results. As a result of his discoveries, he began investigating Daniel Warner and Aaron Kelly’s connections to alleged court fraudster Richart Ruddie, publishing his findings here.
We are going to break down the details of the alleged fraud that has taken place here, and will dig a little deeper into a few connections that were not fully made in the Washington Post article.
Let’s start with Aaron Kelly and Daniel Warner. These two, through their firm Kelly/Warner Internet Law, specialize in “internet defamation law and reputation management.”
On their website, KellyWarnerLaw.com, they state:
“As one of the first firms to concentrate on Internet reputation legalities, Kelly / Warner has assisted hundreds of businesses and individuals with various online defamation challenges. We represent businesses, professionals, and persons who’ve been unfairly disparaged online.”
On their website, they also mention that the truthfulness of the “defamation” is not always important. “You’ve heard the saying: ‘it’s not defamation if it is true.’ And yes, for the vast majority of slander and libel lawsuits, this adage holds true – but not always.”
It would be hard to dispute that both Warner and Kelly advertise themselves as experts at internet defamation. They imply as much and claim to know exactly what processes to take when removing content from Google.
“We know how to get disparaging, negative comments removed from the Web – quickly.” – Daniel Warner & Aaron Kelly
The rapid way that information is shared, re-shared, and spun across the internet has resulted in the rise of attorneys that specialize in “removals” of internet defamation from Google. The services provided by these law firms has become more important than ever to large corporations and public figures.
We published an article earlier this year discussing Yelp’s fight to protect themselves and consumers from being muscled around by these firms. Indeed, it has become much more difficult to get negative content removed from the internet. These days, internet defamation attorneys have to take a different approach to remove this content. How do they do this?
According to InternetLiveStats.com:
“Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.”
Billions of users each day begin their search for information on Google, so many attorneys have begun focusing on removing content from Google rather than taking down the original source, reducing the majority of negative exposure to damaging content.
Law firms do this by filing an injunction on the creator of the content for libel or defamation. If the court files an injunction order, Google will, in most cases, de-index the content from being found on their search engines.
According to Volokh’s article, “…one danger with this practice, as we’ve seen, is that it leads to an incentive for unscrupulous people — whether plaintiffs, their lawyers or reputation-management companies hired by the plaintiffs (and potentially working out the details without the plaintiffs or the lawyers’ knowledge) — to file lawsuits against fake defendants.”
Volokh, a UCLA Law Professor, in his research, found multiple lawsuits that were filed by Daniel Warner and Aaron Kelly that appear to have fake, non-existent defendants & have fake notarizations. Let’s take a look at these suits:
Lawsuit 1 – Chinnock v. Ivanski
Joseph Chinnock, AKA Joel Cassaway, hired Attorney Warner to deindex (remove) 39 website listings from Google that cast him as a scam artist that harmed multiple people over a span of several years.
Attorney Warner then filed a lawsuit against a person located in Turkey named “Krista Ivanski.” The lawsuit claimed that Krista Ivanski was responsible for publishing all 39 of the different “defamatory website listings” across websites like RipOffReport, Scam Exposure, USA Complaints, and more.
This is a highly improbable scenerio that someone named “Krisa Ivanski” from Turkey wrote all 39 of the different complaints across many unique websites over a 5+ year period…rather the links appear to have clearly been written by different people over that 5+ year time frame that were all harmed by Chinnock from a multitude of different experiences, some of which resulted in real litigation.
In addition to the fact that the alleged defendant is from Turkey, left no address of record, and appeared pro se. Ivanski was also willing to admit to the liability just shortly after the lawsuit was served.
Kristin Ivanski appears to be a non-existent person that was contrived for the sole purpose of removing the negative information online about Joseph Chinnock.
Just as alarming, it appears as if the notary for Attorney Warner’s lawsuit is fake as well. There is no “Samantha Pierce” registered as a notary public in the State of Colorado and the Notary ID used is 20121234567. No such seal or notary exists in Colorado.
In fact, the Notary ID 20121234567 with the expiration date of August 8, 2016 was likely pulled from the Colorado Secretary of State website where it is used as an explanation to notaries as to how they should format their seals.
Digging deeper, we noticed that Krista Ivanski and Samantha Pierce have signatures that are strikingly similar, one significant similarity being the very distinguishable way that the “i” is dotted.
On a motion filed earlier in the case by Attorney Warner, the Notary is “Amanda Sparks of Fulton County,” but, once again, there is no Amanda Sparks in Fulton County. Volokh notes in his article that there is an Amanda Sparks in a different county with a different expiration date. So, it appears that the real Amanda Sparks may be a victim of identity theft.
In the image below, it appears that the handwriting for the “Amanda Sparks” notarization was also the same as that used for “Krista Ivanski” & “Samantha Pierce.”
In summation, this lawsuit, filed by Attorney Daniel Warner, appears to have the following characteristics:
- Fake signatures
- Fake notaries
- Fake defendant, representing herself pro se
- Purpose was to remove negative material from Google
Lawsuit 2 – Lynd v. Hood
Adam David Lynd of Lynd Company, Inc. hired Daniel Warner & Aaron Kelly to deindex multiple RipOffReport listings that portrayed Lynd as a scam “artist.”
One of the RipOffReports was written by someone named John Duran, http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/david-lynd/san-antonio-texas/david-lynd-lynd-company-lynd-world-lynd-ripoff-report-warns-of-perceived-questionable-co-1151560, a real person. In fact, in the rebuttal on the RipOffReport, Adam David Lynd responded to John Duran acknowledging that he and Lynd were “engaged” in business together, which is key: If the actual author of the RipOffReport post, John Duran, was known to Lynd, Attorney Warner and Attorney Kelly should have known better than to name someone else as the defendant in the lawsuit:
The lawsuit Attorney Warner and Attorney Kelly filed didn’t name John Duran as the defendant in light of the evidence that was available to them at the time, rather it named “Connie Hood” & “Jesse Wood” as the defendants: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2017/03/LyndvHoodOrder.pdf.
On further investigation, it appears that neither Connie Hood nor Jesse Wood exist, strikingly similar to the defendants in the first lawsuit we discussed.
The notary listed on this lawsuit, Jose Garcia from Harris County, Texas, is, predictably, non-existent as well. There are two Jose Garcias from Harris County listed on the Texas notary website, but neither had an expiration date of March 2, 2016, which leads us to wonder who truly “notarized” this document.
Upon comparing the signatures and dates on these documents by the notary to the other documents, there are, again, notable similarities:
This lawsuit filed by Attorney Daniel Warner & Attorney Aaron Kelly appears to have the following characteristics:
- Fake signatures
- Fake notaries
- Fake defendants representing themselves pro se
- Purpose was to remove negative material from Google
- Similar handwriting to other lawsuits filed by Attorney Warner
Lawsuit 3 – Gottuso v. Marks
In this lawsuit, the same pattern is followed as the first 2 except it was filed by Aaron Kelly, Daniel Warner’s law partner: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2017/03/GottusovMarksOrder.pdf
- Fake defendant representing himself pro se
- Purpose was to remove negative material from Google
- RipOffReport.com is deindexed
Lawsuit 4 – Ruddie v. Kirschner
This is, if fraudulent, the most egregious lawsuit of the bunch. Here, Attorney Daniel Warner appears to have orchestrated a fraudulent legal scheme to have a RipOffReport published about him removed from Google. This RipOffReport written about Attorney Warner is likely written by his aggrieved former client, Charles Rodrick. Though the website has heavily redacted the report, you can find the previous version here.
The Arizona Republic covered Rodrick’s grievances in depth.
“Daniel Warner, who has been called as a witness in the federal case and testified Wednesday, said Rodrick filed a complaint with the State Bar of Arizona alleging misconduct after Warner withdrew from the case.
Rodrick accused Warner of violating several professional rules, including fraudulent billing, conflict of interest and revealing privileged attorney-client information through an article on the firm’s blog last year with the headline, “Two men, one extortion racket website?”
Rodrick even went so far as to file a bar complaint.
Considering the likelihood that Charles Roderick wrote the RipOffReport, Attorney Warner’s subsequent actions are puzzling, at best.
Attorney Daniel Warner’s friend and colleague, Richart Ruddie, whom Warner has a relationship with and has worked with on multiple occasions, appears to have filed a fake lawsuit to deindex the RipOffReport. NOTE: Kelly Warner represented Richart Ruddie in the Walters v. Coopers Picks LLC case where Richart Ruddie was sued for Conspiracy and Deceptive Trade Practices.
In what appears as an attempt to hide Richart Ruddie’s identity, Ruddie filed a lawsuit listing his name as “R. Derek Ruddie” against another seemingly fake defendant named “Jake Kirschner” that chose to represent himself pro se.
“R. Derek Ruddie” AKA “Richart Derek Ruddie” claims that “Defendant Kirschner (Defendant) posted false and defamatory statements about Plaintiff Ruddie (Plaintiff) here.
Interestingly, R. Derek Ruddie (Richart Ruddie) is not mentioned one single time in the RipOffReport listing about Daniel Warner. Yet, Ruddie claims in his lawsuit that he was “harmed” by the RipOffReport about Daniel Warner.
Considering the history that Daniel Warner and Richart Ruddie have together, and Warner’s history of similar lawsuits that appear to have fraudulent elements, it would seem that Attorney Warner, the true beneficiary of this filing, may have played a role in this suit as well.
This lawsuit filed by Richart Ruddie with the ultimate beneficiary being Daniel Warner appears to have the following characteristics:
- Fake defendant representing herself pro se
- False assertions
- Purpose was to remove negative material from Google.
This is not Daniel Warner’s first time attempting to de-index the listing.
In fact, on June 23, 2015, less than 5 months before Richart Ruddie filed the lawsuit, it appears that Attorney Warner attempted to take down the RipOffReport listing by claiming that the picture listed on the report violated his copyright because it was taken from LinkedIn.
Eugene Volokh points out in his Washington Post article:
“The private investigator who has been helping me (Giles Miller of Lynx Insights & Investigations) couldn’t find the ostensible Lynd v. Hood defendants, Connie Hood and Jesse Wood, at the addresses given for them; nor could he find any evidence of the existence of Krista Ivanski, of Chinnock v. Ivanski; nor could he find Jake Kirschner, the ostensible defendant in Ruddie v. Kirschner, the case aimed at deindexing a RipOffReport post about Daniel Warner; nor Howard Marks, the defendant in Gottuso v. Marks, another Kelly/Warner case (though one without a notarization).”
Indeed, true to their word, Attorney Daniel Warner and Attorney Aaron Kelly “know how to get disparaging, negative comments removed from the Web – quickly.”
We have attempted to contact Kelly/Warner Law for comment, but our calls have gone unanswered, and (strangely) the line does not have a voicemail box.
A special thanks to Eugene Volokh on his research [email protected] 310-206-3926
This is the first article of a series of articles on this story. We expect Attorney Warner to have action taken against him soon and likely Attorney Aaron Kelly to follow. If you have a tip please email us at [email protected].