Lawsuit filed and served to PSA/DNA, JSA, Roger Epperson, REAL, Houston Texas, Steve Cyrkin of autograph magazine and LIVE the online forum, and RR Auctions, Bob Eaton, MA

From Courtroom news service: Courthouse News

By. Jonny Bonner

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Autograph dealers, auction houses and authenticators conspire as a "cartel" to push out rival dealers, two memorabilia dealers claim in nearly identical antitrust complaints.

     Defendants in both cases are Collectors Universe dba PSA/DNA, James Spence Authentication, R&R Auction Co., Roger Epperson dba Signed Sealed and Delivered dba Roger Epperson Authentication, Steve Cyrkin dba, and Momentica.

     Both plaintiffs - Todd Mueller dba Todd Mueller Autographs, and Nelson dba Iconographs- are represented in federal court by the Christman, Kelley and Clarke law firm of Santa Barbara. Mueller is based in Colorado, Deedle in Nevada.

     Authentication is crucial in the memorabilia business, both plaintiffs claim in their July 14 lawsuits. Both say that without authentication, memorabilia are "essentially worthless."
     "Therefore, to ensure the value of their items that they are purchasing, selling, or offering for consignment, dealers, collectors, and auction houses will use third-party authentication services to get a second opinion on the authenticity of an item," both lawsuits say.

     Both claim the defendants refuse to authenticate their celebrity-signed memorabilia "to increase their own market presence." Both say that violates antitrust laws.

     Both say that two of the defendants dominate the authentication business: defendants PSA/DNA and James Spence Authentication. They are two of the third-party authenticators accepted by eBay, the complaints state.

     Mueller dove into the autograph industry as a collector in 1978 and began working as a dealer in the early 1990s. He claims the defendants call his items "questionable" and refuse to authenticated them.

     "Defendants have joined together as a complex association of autograph dealers, auction houses, authenticators, and public personalities to act as the only authority on authenticating items that dealers are attempting to sell to their customers," both lawsuits state.

     Both claim that the defendants, though in the same business, are not true competitors.

     "In addition to sharing the same experts, these seeming 'competitors' in the autograph memorabilia market are not competitors in any sense of the word. Through their shared staff and relationships, the cartel routinely shares information with each other regarding the autographed memorabilia market," both complaints state.Mueller claims that a customer who bought five autographed photos from him, with his own certificates of authenticity, signed by non-parties Shailene Woodley, Jennifer Lopez, Bernadette Peters, Debbie Reynolds and Lindsay Lohan, submitted the items to PSA/DNA for authentication.

     PSA/DNA returned the items as failing authentication, Mueller says, and he was forced to refund the money
     That customer "has never done business with Mueller since," he claims.

     He says Prestige Auctions also refused to sell five autographed items from him with his certificates of authenticity, including photos signed by non-parties Tom Hanks, Dennis Quaid and Cher, Doris Day, Joe Frazier, and Uma Thurman.

     Authenticated, signed photos of Hanks fetch more than $200 online.
     PSA/DNA is currently selling a robe signed by Frazier for $500.

     "This cartel exists to drive out any competition from the market by intentionally failing the authenticity of a dealer's items based on the dealer's identity and not on the item itself,'" Mueller claims.
     Mueller and Deedle both say they want to hold the defendants "responsible" and "break up" the cartel.

     Mueller and Deedle each seek $4 million in damages for antitrust violations, interference, and violation of California consumer laws.

Autograph Planet will follow this and keep you up to date as things progress.

For Steve Cyrkin, These will bring him up to 5 lawsuits, with 2 going on right now.  He has been sued; first by Christopher Morales (dismissed), then Kevin Martin and his company, Piece of the Past (we prevailed), and in another, ongoing lawsuit by Todd Mueller and Todd Mueller Autographs.  In these lawsuits, he has lost every motion, and might be held in contemp of court if he does not follow what the judge has ruled in the case so far.

Any attempt to talk to him about this on his forum has been met with the deletion of the thread, and the person asking the question removed from the forum.  There has been no updates to the ongoing case or the other cases by Mr. Cyrkin, because they are all losing the motions that were filed, and he does not feel that it's "newsworthy"

Again, more on this and the other cases here on Autograph Planet as they become available.

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  • Autograph Alert dot com is still up? I thought that it was defunct, although always easily available via the wayback machine of course.

  • I guess Allen you don't read well if you did you'd know my views on the depositions.   When someone makes an offer and they don't want to return the items 'cause they think they can get the money & keep the items -or- when they were trying to leverage a class action and sending requests to settle for 1million 1.2 million, etc....   I suppose I'd say no as well.  Good thing I'm not on the jury.

    Sometimes you win jurisdiction arguments and sometimes you loose them in the US District courts. 

     In conclusion, this case presents a close question as to
    whether specific jurisdiction exists.  Although R&R Auction has
    proffered (barely) enough evidence to satisfy the relatedness
    and purposeful availment requirements as to some of its claims,
    the reasonableness requirements – and the appearance of possible
    harassment in particular – cuts strongly against jurisdiction. 
    Therefore, after weighing the gestalt factors with the relative
    weakness of R&R Auction’s showings on the first two
    requirements, I conclude that R&R Auction has not met its burden
    of proving personal jurisdiction with respect to any of its
    claims.7  Because exercising specific jurisdiction under the
    facts presented here would be unreasonable, I grant Johnson’s
    motion to dismiss.8   
     For the reasons set forth above, defendant’s motion to
    dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction (Doc. No. 13) is
    granted.  I deny as moot and without prejudice defendant’s
    motion to dismiss for improper venue, or to transfer venue
    (id.), and plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief
    (Doc. No. 2).  

  • Alan Hoover - could you post a link to the 28 page New Hampshire ruling please?  Thank you...

  • DB, you keep saying that this case is "Frivolous"  Yet, in the deposition of Bob Eaton when he was asked did you honor your money back guarantee with Mr. Johnson, his answer was NO.

    So all this back and forth between all of the public people on these blogs where everybody is saying that he (Johnson) was offered his money back, is untrue, all you have to do is watch Bob Eaton's own words, 40 minutes into the first tape!

    Also, how come you have nothing to say about that 28 page ruling in New Hampshire?  You want to talk about "Frivolous"?  Just curious since you keep bringing it up as all.

    I get you want to stick up for these friends of yours, but at what point to you say, guys... come on.  This kind of reminds me of the OJ trial.  When confronted with the blood evidence, the odds were what?  1 out of 710 million?  At what point do you look at these people either as a group or as individuals and say "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE???"  Either you are playing the devils advocate which is good for the group on this site, banter back and forth is good and healthy, or A plant for them, to try to get information, or you are just not as smart as you come off.  The writing is on the wall and in the court documents, you can't stand up for these guys with what they have done, there are no excuses, NONE for some of the things they have done, especially Roger Epperson.  Look at the list of crap he files.  How anybody can back him is beyond me?  I'm glad somebody put up what he filed, it's important people see him for the person he is and what he files with the court.  He's a "media person/consultant" yet private person?  Where does he get this crap?  It is beyond UNREAL!  I can see why you don't even try to defend him anymore, as it can't be done.  Even you saw it was a losing cause.

  • DB:  I'm just going by what is posted on the Harris county website.  If you go by what has been posted throughout each case, as far as PASSED and DENIED, it's not hard to piece things together, especially when there was a appeal in the case already.

    Look at the info you'll see. Everything is posted.

  • well then, you need to contact  Justice Jennings, Justice Keyes and Justice Bland and tell them that they are not doing their appellate jobs.  You can also send in your information below as they are apparently delinquent in doing their jobs.  Let us know how far you get.

    You seem to be intimate in all of this as you are noting information that only someone involved in the matter would have.  So what is your relationship to the case or are you just another internet lawyer?

  • So when it says that his "entry of judgment" was "DENIED" (which it was) that's just nothing then?

    HE LOST!  Just like the notice that went out in October stating, that Roger had to have a TRIAL DATE or a SETTLEMENT IN THIS CASE or it would be DISMISSED FOR WANT OF PROSECUTION!

    HE HAD ZERO, his last filing in this case was that 4-8-15 filing where he stated, let him prove the case and he will re-buff it as it goes. (which isn't how the court works)

    Since when do appeal's get more then 30 days?

    He didn't even do his last appeal right, and he's way past his time to appeal this.


    1. Failure to Appear. A case may be dismissed for want of prosecution on failure of any party seeking affirmative relief to appear for any hearing or trial of which the party had notice. Notice of the court's intention to dismiss and the date and place of the dismissal hearing shall be sent by the clerk to each attorney of record, and to each party not represented by an attorney and whose address is shown on the docket or in the papers on file, by posting same in the United States Postal Service. At the dismissal hearing, the court shall dismiss for want of prosecution unless there is good cause for the case to be maintained on the docket. If the court determines to maintain the case on the docket, it shall render a pretrial order assigning a trial date for the case and setting deadlines for the joining of new parties, all discovery, filing of all pleadings, the making of a response or supplemental responses to discovery and other pretrial matters. The case may be continued thereafter only for valid and compelling reasons specifically determined by court order. Notice of the signing of the order of dismissal shall be given as provided in Rule 306a. Failure to mail notices as required by this rule shall not affect any of the periods men­tioned in Rule 306a except as provided in that rule.

    2. Non-Compliance With Time Standards. Any case not disposed of within time standards promulgated by the Supreme Court unders its Administrative Rules may be placed on a dismissal docket.

    3. Reinstatement. A motion to reinstate shall set forth the grounds therefor and be verified by the movant or his attorney. It shall be filed with the clerk within 30 days after the order of dismissal is signed or within the period provided by Rule 306a. A copy of the motion to reinstate shall be served on each attorney of record and each party not represented by an attorney whose address is shown on the docket or in the papers on file. The clerk shall deliver a copy of the motion to the judge, who shall set a hearing on the motion as soon as practicable. The court shall notify all parties or their attorneys of record of the date, time and place of the hearing.

  • Last time, I say this;  It is not DISMISSED.  It is still in the appellate and the way they move it could be tomorrow or next year when they decide on the issue which will send it back to Superior.  That is what hold for appeal 12-15 means.

  • That is my take on it also.  Dismissed for want of prosecution-PASSED, (DWOP)  The letter that was mailed out, stated that nothing had been done so he had to have either a settlement (win/lose) or a trial date.  He had neither, so this.

    It seems to me, this all was back when Roger was in his "Internet tough guy" phase where he was throwing out his "I'll sue you" threat's out left and right.  What I find amusing is, when he would put other people's business's down, it was always "Tongue in cheek" jokes,(he's not friends with ANY of these people) yet if something is said about him, right away he was set to sue, and he was sure they were doing it to "harm his business" You can't have it both ways!  How many times can you go about suing people?  Why not just shut up and stay off the blogs?  Not just him but EVERYBODY?!

    He can't answer for any of his many mistakes.  Never a recall on anything.  All those Michael Jackson's that he help flood the market.  Always a huge story with everything.  Says one thing, does another.  If the AUTOGRAPH SPEAKS how does he make so many mistakes?   Is he vetting the PERSON?  The Story? What?  It's not the autograph.  Why is he so scared to have his video deposition taken?  What's he got to hide?  Better yet, what is he afraid of?   People finally seeing what him for what he really is?  If a person has nothing to hide, they don't do what he and the others in the case are doing?  You don't go to the lengths to hide and delay if you are Innocent.  ANYBODY can see that.

    He admitted to being a poker player, turns out he's nothing but a bluffer.  His cards are muck.  He's got nothing.  He files, tries to get it dismissed, that fails, tries to settle, fails, let the case sit (hoping it would go away???) and now loses on merit. 

    With the Federal case being moved or shifted or being told "hold it at the state level"  I look for the Mueller counter claim in THIS matter, which IS still open (which is why you don't see this case as closed, Rogers case is done, Todds is NOT) to really ramp up, especially with a Federal Judge saying, this is a state court's problem.  OH BOY!

  • Harris County District Clerk, search the online records, look at the Epperson/Mueller case, go to settings after the "judgements/events" tab and you will see

    11-20-2015- Court 133-Dismiss for want of prosecution! In the very next column is says "PASSED" (hold for appeal 12-15)

    On 1-12-2016 there was a delay, and on 1-26-2016 the appeal was dismissed

    If you want to see that this was set for dismissal, you need to look at the images to see that the notices were mailed out in Oct, look at the images, and look at image number 67586489

    As far as the "rock solid" using his words, as pointed out in the post on AML, if it has not been "edited" by the "manager" over there.


    or read about the case here: Here on Planet

    As stated, his case vs Todd is over.

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