Tag Archives: Anime California

So Ryan Kopf is Suing Me… Again

We do a lot of stuff here at Nerd & Tie. We produce a podcast, are helping start a new convention, and provide in-depth coverage of the con scene. That last bit is one of the things we’re most proud of, but is also what’s led to some of our biggest headaches.

As those of you who follow this site may be aware, for the first half of 2016 I found myself fighting a lawsuit AnimeCon.org/Chrono LC CEO Ryan Kopf filed against me in the state of Iowa. It was over some of the coverage of his events I’ve written over the last couple of years (mostly these two articles). He later amended the suit to include Nerd & Tie co-creator and contributor Pher Sturz.

It should be noted that Pher was added to that suit solely because of posts made on his personal Facebook page in support of me.

Eventually things ended, with the case against myself and Pher Sturz being dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. We had hoped that would be the end of this situation, but unfortunately rather than take the minor PR hit and move on, Mr. Kopf has decided to keep this going.

Late last week both Pher Sturz and I were served once again.

You see, Ryan Kopf has had his attorneys refile the case in the state of Illinois in late June. You can read the new petition (2016-M3-003898) here, but it is almost identical to the amended petition filed in the Iowa case. Pher and I are both named, along with Nerd & Tie itself (although that last bit is less important as Nerd & Tie is not its own legal entity — as I am the sole legal owner of the site).

Now, as I said last time, I don’t want to discuss details, but I still stand by what I wrote.

Unfortunately though, legal fees and lawyers are not exactly cheap, and we expect costs to be much higher this time around. So while we hate to do it, we’re asking for your help again.

I’ve launched a new GoFundMe campaign, and if you can help contribute we’d appreciate it. We’re asking for $6,000 right now, although we may need more down the road. I know it’s a lot of money, but theres a good chance this case is going to drag out longer than the last one.

Honestly we appreciate any help you can give us.

Hopefully Our Final ‘Ryan Kopf v. Trae Dorn’ Update

Update (7/5/2016): Kopf has refiled the Lawsuit in Illinois

So for those of you not following along, for the last several months AnimeCon.org/Chrono LC CEO Ryan Kopf has been suing some of us here at Nerd & Tie. He began by directly suing me (Trae Dorn), and then later expanded the suit to include Nerd & Tie contributor, co-host, and co-creator Pher Sturz. If you’re not sure who he is, Kopf directly runs Anime Zap!, QC Anime Zing!, Con+Alt+Delete, Animinneapolis, Metacon and Anime Midwest (and has ties to Black Materia, Inc and Anime California).

As the suit progressed, my lawyer successfully got the suit against me dismissed on the grounds of personal jurisdiction (as Kopf tried to sue us in Iowa). Before the judge could even hear Pher’s motion to dismiss though, Kopf’s lawyer attempted to fight this. Even after the case was dismissed against Pher Sturz, I was still dealing with motions to reconsider.

Well, today I have good news.

This last week, the final motions to reconsider were finally denied. With that, I have been assured by my lawyer that (fingers crossed) this entire mess is done. Since its true that since the case was dismissed on the grounds of jurisdiction, Kopf could refile the suit in Indiana (where I am actually based) though. If this occurs, we’re certain things would still go in our favor — as I stand behind the factual correctness of all of the articles published here on Nerd & Tie.

Because, as we all should know, American defamation law does not apply to true statements and opinions.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped support us through this. The majority of our legal defense was paid for by readers like you who chose to contribute to our GoFundMe campaigns, and the fact that you all were willing to put your hard earned money to support this rinky-dink website means a lot. Hopefully what’s published here will continue to be worthy of your support.

(I will say that if you still are willing to help out, Pher Sturz still owes a couple hundred dollars to his lawyer. His GoFundMe is still open if you still have any spare cash you can throw his way.)

Update (7/5/2016): Kopf has refiled the Lawsuit in Illinois

Yet Another Update on ‘Ryan Kopf v Trae Dorn’

So it’s been a few weeks since we updated you on the current state of the lawsuit filed against us by Ryan Kopf in the state of Iowa.

For those of you not following along, at the end of last year AnimeCon.org CEO Ryan Kopf filed a defamation suit against me for articles published about his conventions here on Nerd & Tie. He later amended the suit to include Pher Sturz who had vocally supported me on Facebook. In February my lawyer filed for dismissal on jurisdictional grounds. In March that dismissal was granted, and that’s where we left you.

Well, a couple more things have happened since then.

First of all, Kopf’s attorney has now filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Dismissal ruling and also a request to do jurisdictional discovery. A judge will hear that on April 15th (though we don’t know when we’ll know the results). We are, of course, resisting this.

Secondly, on the “good news” front, Pher Sturz’s motion to dismiss was granted. The dismissal was, unsurprisingly, granted on the grounds of Jurisdiction. It was ridiculous that Pher was ever dragged into this, and we’re exceptionally happy that it’s over for him.

So this post is a bit of an inverse of our last update. Pher Sturz now seems to be in the clear, while I still have a bit more to deal with. We’re optimistic though, and hopefully this will soon be over.

Update (5/9): This may finally be over.

The Current State of ‘Ryan Kopf v Trae Dorn’

Some of you may be aware that in December AnimeCon.org CEO Ryan Kopf filed a defamation suit in the state of Iowa against me for articles published here on Nerd & Tie. After I launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover my legal costs, Kopf had the lawsuit amended to include Pher Sturz (who had vocally supported me on Facebook).

Well, for the first time since this ordeal started, I’m happy to report some good news.

In February my lawyer filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of personal jurisdiction, and I’m pleased to announce that yesterday that motion was granted. For now, it seems, I am (at least personally) out of the woods.

Now, this doesn’t mean this thing is over. The case is still active for Pher Sturz, and he’ll need to file his own motion to dismiss. That motion would also need to be granted by a judge, so the suit doesn’t end until that happens. Likewise, this also doesn’t prevent Kopf from trying to bring a case against me in Indiana (where I actually live).

But it’s still wonderful news, and things are moving in the right direction.

Update: Aaaand Kopf’s attorney has filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Dismissal ruling and also a request to do jurisdictional discovery. Because of course he did.

Update (4/4): So more has happened since this was written.

So AnimeCon.org CEO Ryan Kopf is Now Suing Pher Sturz Too

So many of you already know that in December AnimeCon.org CEO Ryan Kopf filed a lawsuit in the state of Iowa against me for articles I published here on Nerd & Tie about his organization. After I was served, I quickly went public — starting a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for my legal defense (because, y’know, lawyers are expensive).

Pher Sturz, who co-hosts the podcast with me (and came up with the name for it — which is where the name of this site comes from), was very vocal in his public support for me. Pher did this because he’s a good friend, and wasn’t really any more inflammatory (and in most cases significantly less so) than most other people sharing the link.

Here’s the twist — after that happened, Mr. Kopf had the petition amended. Now it names not just me, but also now Pher Sturz as well.

You can read the full amended petition, but there are some basic things you need to know. To start, you may have noticed that “Nerd & Tie” was also named directly in the petition. We haven’t made a big deal about that only because it’s wholly inconsequential. We don’t talk about it that much, but for a very long time (and long before any of the mentioned articles were published), the ownership of the Nerd & Tie website has been solely in my hands.

There is no other legal entity, and I pay all the bills and personally own all the assets.

This means that Pher Sturz is not being sued for anything published on this website, but solely for posts he allegedly made on his personal Facebook page. I don’t want to go into the legal merits of Kopf’s case, but Pher’s never made any claims that haven’t been posted by others before him. It seems like his support of me is the only thing that has put him in the firing line.

To make this worse, Pher, frankly, doesn’t make a lot of money. And I know he won’t point this out himself, but he has a young daughter as well. Lawyers are really, really expensive and he needs to hire one fast. His original attempt to secure aid fell through, so now we’re reaching out to you — the Nerd & Tie readers.

Pher has launched a GoFundMe campaign (Titled ‘The Ryan Kopf is Suing Me Too! Fund‘) to try and get money together to hire someone, and I hope you’ll consider contributing. He’s asking for $3000 right now because (after fees) that’s effectively what he’ll need to get started.

Pher has also stated that any money raised through the GoFundMe campaign beyond what he ends up needing will be donated to the Joyful Heart Foundation, so even if this gets settled immediately your money will go to a good cause.

So please, please, please try to help him out.

Update (3/8): While the case is still active against Pher Sturz, a motion to dismiss has been granted for me (Trae Dorn).

So Ryan Kopf is Suing Me

Update (7/5): After being initially dismissed in Iowa, Kopf has refiled the case in Illinois.

So we do a lot of stuff here at Nerd & Tie. We’re starting a new convention, produce a podcast, just launched a new show, run panels at conventions, maintain a geek news blog, and provide in-depth coverage about conventions. That last one is a particular point of pride for us, as we do our best to dig for stories most other convention news blogs avoid or don’t take time to investigate. Most of that coverage starts with reader tips sent to us via our contact form or email address.

AnimeCon.org/Chrono LC CEO Ryan Kopf has apparently taken issue with our coverage of some of his events though, and last week I was served a petition at my home. Ryan Kopf is suing me for defamation in the state of Iowa.

The case (CVCV295431) is specifically about the following two articles:

Now, I don’t want to discuss details, but I still stand by what I wrote – as do Nick and Pher (who co-created Nerd & Tie with me). I have secured legal counsel, and intend to fight.

But this isn’t going to be cheap for me.

Because of this, I’m launching a GoFundMe campaign to try and cover my legal costs. If you can contribute, please do – as we aren’t exactly a big operation here at Nerd & Tie, and can only continue with the help of people like you.

Wish us luck… and, y’know, help out if you can.

Update: People have been asking for a full copy of the petition, so I took some quick photos of the document.


Update (2/26): Pher Sturz has now also been named in the case.

Update (3/8): While the case is still active against Pher Sturz, a motion to dismiss has been granted for me (Trae Dorn).

Update (7/5): After being initially dismissed in Iowa, Kopf has refiled the case in Illinois.

Episode 53 – Highly Anticipated

On this fortnight’s installment of the podcast, we discuss the new Deadpool trailer, how we’re grateful that we won’t have to watch Uncle Ben die in the next Spider-Man movie, the bizarreness of a post-Apocalyptic adaptation of Little Women (you read that right), how The Dark Tower film(s) seem finally on track, Galacticon’s bizarre staff drama, Anime California’s inappropriate actions towards Summoner’s Cafe, and how we’re all super happy to be attending Geek.kon!

It’ll be fun. We have some big news for you there.

Important Links:

Video Version:

Audio Version:

Ryan Kopf’s Anime California Harasses, Threatens Maid Cafe Operators After They Refuse To Sign Over Ownership

It seems like if you wanted to find the poster child for unethical con running, Chrono LC/AnimeCon.org’s owner Ryan Kopf appears to be the perfect candidate. I mean, I normally would start out this article pointing you to all the things we’ve written about him — but the very fact that we’ve had to cover him enough where there even is a “normally” says so much right there.

Instead, I’ll just direct you to our Ryan Kopf Tag… and, well, there’s always this thing.

So it came as no surprise when I came across a post by Chuwei Cosplay yesterday which detailed extensively how Ryan Kopf’s Anime California tried to strong arm the Maid Cafe group she was involved in into signing over ownership, and when they refused to, Anime California began a campaign of harassment that boggles the mind.

Buckle in kids, it’s going to be an interesting ride.

Now former CEO of Anime California Jeff Suddarth first approached a friend of Chuwei back in the fall of 2013 about bringing a Maid Cafe to Anime California’s 2014 event. No contracts were signed, and the people behind what would become called “Summoner’s Cafe” operated completely independently from Anime California’s management.

Prior to Anime California 2014, the Summoner’s Cafe group was invited to attend the League of Legends Championship Series. Immediately after the group’s outside exposure, Suddarth sent a contract to the operators of Summoner’s Cafe demanding that they sign it. The contract would make Anime California the sole owner of all the IP surrounding the Maid Cafe, with zero compensation provided. When Summoner’s Cafe refused, things took a turn.

When Summoner’s Cafe withdrew from Anime California and began operating at other events, Suddarth began to send harassing cease and desist letters to Summoner’s Cafe’s sponsors. Even after Suddarth supposedly stepped down as head of Anime California, he continued to openly demean Summoner’s Cafe to potential partners.

Seriously, this is just the cliff’s notes — read the full account here.

Now, to get to the crux of the matter, there are a couple of issues at play here. Summoner’s Cafe operated under the impression that they were an independent group brought in to just run the cafe. Anime California claimed that Chuwei’s friend was brought in as an employee, and that as such any work done for the con belonged to the con. Without any written agreement, it’s all one person’s word against the other’s.

The thing is, regardless of whether it was a misunderstanding or a malicious action on Anime California’s part, if everything Chuwei says is true, Jeffery Suddarth’s repeated harassment of the Summoner’s Cafe is unacceptable. Considering the event’s connection to Chrono LC, it’s not surprising though.

The constant legal threats and ongoing harassment are a ridiculous overreaction when looked at in the best light, and a dangerous, malicious attack when looked at with a more realistic lens. These actions are anti-community, and part of the continuing poison those associated with Chrono LC seems determined to bleed into the con scene.

Or, in other words, business as usual for Mr. Kopf.

This article was edited August 18th. An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that Summoner’s Cafe operated at Anime California 2014.

It should also be noted that while Suddarth claims to have stepped down as head of Anime California, he is still listed as the operator of Anime California Inc with the state of California.