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Author Topic: Mathew Higbee of Higbee & Associates Bullshits People about "National Law Firm"  (Read 13347 times)

Matthew Chan

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This is one reason why ELI continues forward after 8.5 years. We still catch BIG bullshit lines by sleazy lawyers fed to extortion letter recipients.  I was forwarded a copy of one of Mathew K. Higbee's emails and this is his signature line.

Quote
Law Firm of Higbee & Associates  (http://www.higbeeassociates.com)
1504 Brookhollow Dr., Suite 112, Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: (800) 716-1245

This is not a scam. Higbee & Associates is a national law with an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (click here to verify ). Our lead attorney, Mathew Higbee, has been licensed to practice law since 2006 (click here to verify ). We have 21 offices across the country. Our headquarters is in Santa Ana, California (click here to verify with the California Secretary of State. Select Corporation and search “Higbee & Associates").

In the email signature area, he provides web links to corroborate that he is a member of the BBB, licensed to practice since 2006, his "headquarters" (office) are in California. As far as I can tell, these appear to be true statements.

However, I will tell you what I think is bullshit.  Higbee is trying to pretend to be MUCH BIGGER than he really is by saying that he is a "national law firm". I know about large law firms and he definitely does not fit the profile. Not even close.  He is not any larger than most of the small-time copyright extortion lawyers we have covered who work for commissions.

Higbee tries to bullshit people on a much larger scale.  What he has is an association/network of virtual offices, address rentals, and "friendly" lawyers willing to exchange or rent out virtual presence through utilizing other's mailing addresses. He appears to use inexpensive mailing address rentals and virtual offices to create his "national presence".

I challenge the fact he is a "national law firm" with 21 REAL offices. While I have not checked out every address of all "21 offices", I have checked out seven of them which is 1/3 of his claims.  https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1-3KDmbJ-vNQMtQzPH22fZxG1ENc&ll=37.93652818569319%2C-98.33626955&z=4 . This is what I found.

The address of his "Florida office" goes to https://www.galleria-international.com/ which provide address rentals and mini-offices. There is no Higbee & Associates registered with the Florida corporations database.

The address of his "Ohio office" goes to http://www.vllasilaw.com/ . There is no Higbee & Associates registered with the Ohio corporations database.

The address of his "Michigan office" goes to http://penninggroup.com/grand-rapids-cottage-law-attorneys . There is a Higbee & Associates in Michigan but it is signed by a Gary Higbee, not a Mathew Higbee and does not appear to be related.

The address of his "Indiana office" goes to http://www.rutkowskilaw.com/Contact.shtml . There is no Higbee & Associates registered with the Indiana corporations database.

The address of his "Washington state office" goes to http://thinkspace.com/ . There is no Higbee & Associates registered with the Washington state corporations database.

The address of his "Arizona office" goes to: https://www.davincivirtual.com/loc/us/arizona/phoenix-virtual-offices/facility-2118 . There is no Higbee & Associates registered with the Arizona corporations database.

The address of his "New York office" goes to https://www.davincivirtual.com/loc/us/new-york/new-york-city-virtual-offices/facility-1066 . There is no Higbee & Associates registered with the New York corporations database.

How much you want to bet that if I went through all 21 of his alleged office addresses, that the vast majority will have similar bogus results. 

If any victim is inclined to make a complaint (State Bar, Attorney General, BBB, etc.) against Mathew Higbee and/or Higbee & Associates for FALSE & MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENT and FALSE STATEMENTS, you can begin with the research and information I have revealed on this post. Most state bars have stern rules regarding misleading advertising claims.

As I have frequently stated, many of these extortion lawyers who work for commissions are STUPID! Mathew Higbee is stupid for taking these actions.

No reputable lawyer I know would every make the crazy claims he has by saying he is a "national law firm" with 21 offices especially when he has NOT been registered in these states. I question whether he has business licenses in most of these locations and states.  I also question how many states he can actually practice in. Being able to practice in any given state is authorized on a state-by-state level. What I do know is that he isn't corporately registered in many of the states to do any direct business there for the offices he makes claims for.

To the best of my recollection, no one we have covered as ever attempted to sell a bigger line of shit (his fairy tales) on how large their firm is than Mathew Higbee. He gets ELI's award of "Sleaziest Extortion Lawyer for 2016."
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

stinger

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The Darwin Awards get published every year and picked up by various publications.  I'm thinking ELI should sponsor a "Sleaziest troll of 20xx" award.  All it would take is a press release sent out to a large range of publications with an analysis like Matthew's post.  It would be easy to cite past winners of the award. 

Winning involves no reward of any type, merely the recognition of the ELI community.  To deflect any claims of slander and such, we can nominate losers and let the ELI community cast votes so that certain past favorites like Timothy McCormack don't win every year.

If there is one thing I have seen in my years on this forum, it's that the Trolls don't like being called out for what they do.  The press release, besides naming a winner, could also cite runner's up and honorable mentions.  That way ELI can share the names of those who are actively trolling every year.

Wadda ya all think?

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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I can vouch for Matthews research, I had previously gone through every single "office" and came to the same conclusion, they are all for the most part "virtual offices" Anyone considering a Bar complaint, should ALWAYS make sure you have a legit complaint, and this certainly appears to be one.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

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Patrick Zarrelli

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Hi Techie here,

What you guys have to realize is that this is the business model. There is no money in selling photos online. Compared to what these lawsuits can bring in. Most of these though unscrupulous, are in fact legal.

This is one is not though.

The comopany RM Media intetionaly SEO'd their pictures to the top of Google "free for reuse" or "no copyright section." They did this to bring in as many copyright infractions as possible. The SEO trail is easy to see. They even out rank the big pictures houses in most image searches RM Media is the number one free image. They put a lot of effort into SEO ing all these pics to the front of Google free image search.

But, at the same time they were commiting a massive fraud.

They were not acting in good faith. They put these pictures up for free use on purpose to bring in lawsuits. Thats the new business model. Then when people inivitable use them because they were intentiaonlly SEO'd to the top of free use. They threaten to sue them.

Who are you gonna call to complain Google?

They know this and brag about their settlement rate because of it. This firm knowingly commitied a masive fraud and should be disbarred or sanctioned. No one should pay. Everyone should file a bar complaint.

They could have got away with it if they didnt purposly SEO the piuctures to top of free search. Hard to argue you have damages when you spent time and money pushing your photos to the top of free search. This is the equvilant of purposly causing a car accident and then filling a personal injury law suit. A total fraud and the lawyers are either to dumb to realize or in on it.

A Lawyer

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Patrick Zarrelli,

I'm intrigued by your comment. Is there any way to prove it though, like meta data or something (please excuse my technological ignorance) that shows the SEO trail? I've been a long time lurker on these forums and have read what others have written about RM Media's suspected business model. If they are seeding the Internet solely for purposes of bringing legal claims it seems like that would be hard to prove though, unless I am missing something.


The comopany RM Media intetionaly SEO'd their pictures to the top of Google "free for reuse" or "no copyright section." They did this to bring in as many copyright infractions as possible. The SEO trail is easy to see. They even out rank the big pictures houses in most image searches RM Media is the number one free image. They put a lot of effort into SEO ing all these pics to the front of Google free image search.


ldgc89

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Patrick Zarrelli is 100% right.  I've also made this observation.  They SEO optimize ALL of the images on their many free/attribution sites, but don't optimize all of the images on the one paid stock image site they have.

Why try and get more exposure for images that you're giving away for free, rather than focusing on more visibility for the paid images site?  Hmmm....

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Don't take this is as  me defending the troll, I'm certainly not! However..

Him SEO-ing some images and throwing them up as creative common images, is not "illegal". He's banking on the fact that most people are to lazy or dumb to read the license agreement, of which many don't read.. So showing a trail of how he performs SEO on some images, while not on others, would not be a defense to infringement, even though it's a sleazy tactic. One might be able to convince a judge to lower any awards, for "innocent infringement", but at the end of the day it falls upon the end user to adhere to the "agreement"..

Would not surprise me at all if this is indeed his method to get infringments, and it's a sleazy, dirty thing to do, he's largely banking on the ignorance of those that download the images.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

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A Lawyer

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This was my thought as well. On their website, RM Media appears to be pretty open about offering some of their images for free. Short of them admitting nefarious intent, simply showing that they SEO an image as free doesn't seem to prove much.

Don't take this is as  me defending the troll, I'm certainly not! However..

Him SEO-ing some images and throwing them up as creative common images, is not "illegal". He's banking on the fact that most people are to lazy or dumb to read the license agreement, of which many don't read.. So showing a trail of how he performs SEO on some images, while not on others, would not be a defense to infringement, even though it's a sleazy tactic. One might be able to convince a judge to lower any awards, for "innocent infringement", but at the end of the day it falls upon the end user to adhere to the "agreement"..

Would not surprise me at all if this is indeed his method to get infringments, and it's a sleazy, dirty thing to do, he's largely banking on the ignorance of those that download the images.

UnfairlyTargeted

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Is it not enough to just show the damn image is on 1000 free wallpaper sites and whatnot?  That it doesn't have any copyright info on it?  I can't imagine a court would award anything but the minimum if you show them that.

Again I argue photographers lately are seeding the internet and then calling up places like Pixsy.  It's just the in thing to do.  And the right thing to combat it is to call the photographer out and make their lives so miserable for contacting you (pointing out that you're onto this seeding trend) that they never dream of contacting anyone again over their mediocre basically worthless image that they think is so damn valuable.  Worked for me.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Is it not enough to just show the damn image is on 1000 free wallpaper sites and whatnot?  That it doesn't have any copyright info on it?  I can't imagine a court would award anything but the minimum if you show them that.

I think that byou would need to prove the artist uploaded the image(s) to those wallpaper sites, which are mostly run by scummy image pirates, that would be very difficult. I imagine you would need to subpeona the wallpaper site to get upload data, and with most of them hosted offshore, you would not get very far.

Copyright info (watermark) is not a requirement, so that argument would go nowhere..
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

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Matthew Chan

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I am not endorsing this but as a matter of practicality, passion, and effectiveness, people tend to stay away from those who are able to "go there" and attack/retaliate back very hard.

I don't necessarily have to agree with your position to see how very effective this would be.  Sometimes, you don't have to be right. Sometimes, you have to get mean, tough, and vicious to get people to back off. I've had to take that approach a few times in my life. It gets ugly but it often works.

This is why the ELI Forums exist and hosted primarily by non-lawyers. We can have these nitty-gritty discussions that would make most people and lawyers cringe. Some lawyers may secretly agree with your tact but they could never publicly or recommend it.

I will admit that my earlier years on ELI, I took a much more aggressive, meaner, and more vicious tact and tone in telling people to fight back. I read your post and the tone of it reminded me of ME several years ago.

I do believe sometimes it requires a certain meanness, viciousness, and ruthlessness as a response if people refuse to be reasonable. I don't prefer that as a first-response but it never hurts to have that in your back pocket.

I cannot endorse your tact but I can certainly appreciate and understand its effectiveness.  Every person can read the public discussion and make their own decisions on how to handle their cases.

And the right thing to combat it is to call the photographer out and make their lives so miserable for contacting you (pointing out that you're onto this seeding trend) that they never dream of contacting anyone again over their mediocre basically worthless image that they think is so damn valuable.  Worked for me.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Matthew Chan

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In November 2016 (the very first post of this discussion which unfortunately strayed off-topic), I called bullshit on Higbee & Associates being a "national" law firm because of their use of rented addresses and "virtual offices". I am not a lawyer so I really couldn't say how this might be important to any defendant.

It would appear that in New York, this is going to fall apart very quickly. In two articles written by Sean Murray and published by the deBanked website, the case of  Platinum Rapid Funding Group, Ltd. vs. H D W of Raleigh, Inc. d/b/a Pure Med Spa, a/k/a Pure Cosmetic and Surgical Center and Holly Donielle Wybel a/k/a Holly D. Wybel, Index # 0605890/2017 was brought to my attention.

This case is significant because this might be the first time any U.S. court has publicly and bluntly ruled that Higbee & Associates and one of its lawyers, Raymon Ngo, be disqualified from the case, ultimately forcing Ngo to withdraw from the case.

https://debanked.com/2018/01/attorney-suing-dozens-of-mca-companies-disqualified-as-counsel/

https://debanked.com/2018/04/usury-suit-by-higbee-associates-made-null-and-void-by-judge/

Because I am not familiar with either Sean Murray or the deBanked website, I wanted to check the story out.  I spent time looking for the online court docket and case information for the New York Supreme Court in Nassau County. (Coincidentally, our own Oscar Michelen is based out of Nassau County, New York)

The direct link to the New York Supreme Court online court document and case information can be found here:

https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/webcivil/FCASSearch

The index number for the case is:  0605890/2017.  You have to type that exactly or you won't pull up the information. I was able to access all the court filings for that case.

I was able to corroborate the facts of the article and confirm that the case truly exists and that the court ruled that Attorney Raymon Ngo and Higbee & Associates are NOT authorized to directly practice law and directly file lawsuits in New York.

Because of the bombshell information that was brought to my attention, I continue this story in a new discussion thread.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

 

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