Today magistrate judge Maria-Elena James has put (hopefully) the last nail in the coffin of monstrous p2p infringement lawsuits. She dismissed both of Ira Siegel’s cases in her docket, 13:11-cv-02766 Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Does 1-2590 and 3:11-cv-02770 New Sensations, Inc v. Does 1-1474.
It all started on December 1st, when Judge James ordered Ira Siegel to answer some uncomfortable questions about the case status, because he did not name a single defendant in violation of the 120-day rule. Almost immediately after that she issued another order, this time questioning the Court’s jurisdiction over the majority of putative defendants. Remembering how Ira Siegel disregarded judge Zimmerman’s order to disclose how much money he extorted from Does, I did not have any illusion that Mr. Siegel would comply this time, so it was no surprise when instead of
- Conducting a search to obtain geographic information about the IP Addresses listed in its Complaint and thereafter provide the Court with the location for each IP Address¹;
- Voluntarily dismiss without prejudice out-of-jurisdiction defendants (or to show good cause as to why it has a good faith belief that jurisdiction exists and venue is proper as to each individual Doe Defendant).
Ira Siegel had audacity to ask the Court
- To allow the ISPs to comply with the subpoenas;
- To allow Plaintiff and those potential Doe defendants who desire to settle their claims to reach settlements;
- To postpone any requirements that Plaintiff name and/or dismiss any potential Doe defendants until February 20, 2012.
Judge James was rightfully angry. She did not swallow Ira’s insult to her intelligence and dismissed both cases outright:
After this order, as well as other judge’s ones, it is not conceivable that any troll would attempt to lump together IP addresses from all over the USA, at least in the Northern District of California.
Rob Cashman expects Ira Siegel to follow John Steele’s path and file smaller cases in other states using proxy law firms. I second this prediction.
Lumping together thousands of Does, many of whom are innocent, will flourish in Florida state courts until the “pure bill of discovery” loophole is patched, the era of monstrous cross-jurisdiction shake-down lawsuits in federal courts is likely over.
Our fight is far from being over. Trolls adapt by filing smaller cases in proper jurisdictions, we should adapt too. Although those smaller cases enable trolls to avoid jurisdiction and (to some extent) joinder issues, the basic ethical flaw has not changed: even cases against carefully picked single defendants are still nothing more than extortion.
¹ Update: Actually Ira Siegel has provided this information.