IO Group, Inc v. Does 1-138 (closed)

RFC Case Number: ?
Court Case Number: 5:10-cv-04381-HRL
File Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Plaintiff: IO Group, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: D. Gill Sperlein of The Law Office of D. Gill Sperlein
Defendant: Does 1-138
Cause: 17:101 Copyright Infringement
Court: California Northern District Court
Judge: Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd

Court Documents

Some documents are on Scribd.

Last docket: #56 (ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS AND CLOSING CASE) filed 08/22/11.
Last checked for new dockets: 08/24/11

Case Details

ISP: Verizon

Case Summary

S.P., a pro se defendant from Wilmington, DE

    On 12/30/2010, S.P. (a resident of Wilmington, Delaware) Filed 3 motions:

  • Motion for Protective Order — Docket 20,
  • Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction (improper joinder was also addressed as an alternative) — Docket 21,
  • Motion to Quash and/or Vacate subpoena — Docket 22.

The two latter motions were supplemented by the Declaration in Support, Docket 23, stating that S.P. resides in Wilmington, DE, has no business in CA and no relations with the plaintiff, has several computers sharing the same IP and a wireless router, and has no knowledge of the alleged infringement.

The judge ordered S.P.

  1. To show cause why motion to quash should not be denied as untimely and
  2. to submit his IP and a copy of the ISP’s letter — Docket 26

S.P. filed a response to this order, Docket 31, stating that his ISP’s (Verizon) letter said that a motion to quash should be filed within 30 days from the date of the notice from the ISP, which the defendant’s filing was in compliance with. He also provided his IP: 173.49.157.78

S.P.’s motion to quash was denied — Docket 37: the judge stated that this motion is essentially equivalent to the motion for the protective order, yet to be considered.

Plaintiff filed two oppositions: Opposition to Motion to Dismiss — Docket 40, and Opposition to Motion for Protective Order — Docket 41, supplemented by his Declaration in Support of those — Docket 42.

Mr. Sperlein stated that the defendant used “ghost-written” motions provided by a FL attorney G. Syfert with the goal of creating more work for him (Sperlein) and for this reason Sperlein threatened to file a separate suit against G. Syfert and S.P.

In his response to plaintiff’s opposition to the motion for Protective Order — Docket 49 — S.P. noticed that this is what a protective order was designed to prevent.

He also noticed that Mr. Sperlein quoted form Mr. Syfert selectively and a full quote leaves no doubts about Mr. Syfert’s professional ethics.
As a basis for his motion, S.P. asked the court to consider the issues that he would face if his name is publicly associated with gay hardcore videos.

In response, the judge denied Motion for Protective Order (Docket 20) stating that embarrassment is not a sufficient reason. The judge did not address Mr. Sperlein’s threats, even though this judge stated in the same order that a valid reason for a protective order would be a situation “when identification creates a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm.” So it looks like a separate suit will not inflict any mental harm on the defendant.

S.P. has not filed a response to the plaintiff’s opposition (Docket 41), even though, per judge’s order — Docket 36, this reply was due March 4.

Other potential defendants

On 02/01/2011, Anonymous Speaker filed a motion to quash defendant’s subpoena — Docket 32.

In response, the judge ordered this defendant to supply his IP and a copy of the ISP’s letter — Docket 33. The order also noted that the defendant’s council was located in Georgia, i.e. was not admitted to practice in CA.

In response, the defendant filed a Notice of Withdrawal of his motion to Quash — Docket 39.

On 03/08/2011 a Courtroom Deputy filed a Letter to T. Wu (a resident of Tampa, FL) — Docket 48 — saying that the documents that Wu had attempted to file under seal were being returned to him and that he must follow the Local Rule 79-5. (It is not clear what kind of filing T. Wu intended to carry out.)

Latest developments

Partial voluntary dismissal by plaintiff: Dockets 47, 48 (03/01/2011), 51 (04/21/2011)

Numerous defendants were dismissed, so it looks like ransom was paid.

Note that the Initial Case Management Conference was scheduled for April 10, 2011 — Docket 19. There were no filings from this conference so far. Maybe the conference is automatically delayed until after the motion to dismiss is considered (I am not sure).

All defendants except Doe 10 were severed and dismissed without prejudice on 8/12/11.

The case was closed by the judge on 08/22/11

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