US District Judge Claudia Wilken issued an order regarding the case “IO group v. Does 1-138”. She had severed and dismissed without prejudice all the Does except Doe #10, who had earlier filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
In this order the judge also denied the motion to dismiss arguing that it is not possible to know if the filer is a party of the lawsuit before that filer is explicitly named, which is clearly a Catch-22 situation.
Although the judge made a right decision to dismiss misjoined defendants, and I praise her for that, with Doe #10, who remains on the case, she basically played along the troll’s ways and punished the one who fought. This alone creates significant chilling effect on any opposition to unethical copyright trolling business, strengthening extortionists’ impudence. It is fair to note, however, that judge Wilken did not pioneer this type of decision.
I still think that filing a motion to quash/dismiss does make sense: 1) there is a small chance that a judge had already made up his mind and is just waiting for an excuse to dismiss the case (for example, judge Shadur in Illinois dismissed copyright troll John Steele’s case in March); 2) many Does filing motions simultaneously create tons of additional work for plaintiff, which is always good: more troll’s time is wasted, less time he has for damaging the society; 3) this delays the progress of the case and buys you time to think about your situation and look how similar cases are progressing.
Yet I don’t recommend revealing any part of your identity in such motion: IP address, location, initials, etc. A protective order (even if granted, which is not likely to happen) does not actually protect – your initials and location are still must be publicized.
So I’m worried about Doe #10: given Sperlein’s history of vindictive lawsuits, the chance of pursuing this victim is high.
Also it seems that the judge did not bother to browse through the case history. Even looking only at the titles of filings, it is impossible to miss the fact that Verizon had already betrayed its customers and coughed out their identities: there is no way that selective dismissals of multiple Does could happen prior to the extortion phase of a predatory lawsuit. So for the judge ordering Verizon to stop revealing names after the names were revealed months ago looks troubling and unprofessional.