CEG-TEK

The Domino Effect: Trolls are not welcome in the Southern District of New York anymore

Two weeks ago a New York (Eastern District) judge Gary Brown made it clear that copyright trolls are not welcome in his district. His epic ORR (Order and Report and Recommendation) still reverberates in the online news (see the incomplete list of publications about Brown’s ruling at the end of my other post).

Federal judge
Colleen McMahon

Following Brown’s recommendations, a district judge Colleen McMahon completely destroyed troll business in the Southern District of New York yesterday: she dismissed all Does but #1 from “My Little Panties Two” case (11-cv-08170-CM) brought from under the bridge by a weretroll Mike Meier on behalf of a pornographer Digital Sins. “I am second to none in my dismay at the theft of copyrighted material that occurs every day on the internet. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to litigate, and so far this way strikes me as the wrong way,” judge concluded, preempting any doubts about her position regarding these abusive lawsuits.

It would be outstanding news half a year ago, but these days, when trolls are on the run, such events fill all the honest people with joy, yet at the same time we don’t exclaim “wow!” anymore, and that’s wonderful.

What about Does #1?

We always express our joy and congratulate Does who are dismissed from improperly joined cases. But what about the hapless Does who were unlucky to find themselves at the top of the trolls’ lists? Scapegoats as they seem, in reality are not in any more danger: trolls rarely pursue them further; it is not in trolls’ interest to spend their time and effort on random individuals when there are so many new uneducated fresh victims to extort.

After a spectacular downfall in Maryland, where chief district judge Deborah Chasanow assigned most of mass bittorent MD cases to herself and subsequently cut them to single Doe suits, Mike Meier was expectedly quick to use any excuses to get rid of his not-lucrative-anymore cases. For example,

  • 12-cv-00023-RWT: Doe #1 is dismissed because he “used a mobile device as he was traveling through New York. Doe #1 resides outside the jurisdiction of this Court.”

…and, back to this SDNY case,

  • 11-cv-08170-CM: Doe #1 is dismissed because “Plaintiff has received a notice from ISP for Doe #1 (Verizon) that Doe #1 cannot be located.” Note that this dismissal notice comes the next day after McMahon killed the lawsuit.

Given the rich history of documented lies produces by trolls, I would take these claims with a grain of salt and double-check this information: if Mike Meier could be caught lying, it wouldn’t be a surprise, yet would undoubtedly be another nail in the coffin of copyright trolling.

Updates

5/17/2012

Rob Cashman posted a very interesting in-depth analysis of this ruling.

6/20/2012

Raul’s follow-up featuring the same actors: Mike Meier has an audacity to continue fishing in the Southern District of New York. Judge McMahon is not impressed

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Discussion

58 responses to ‘The Domino Effect: Trolls are not welcome in the Southern District of New York anymore

    • Quick summary of 2012 troll Federal cases in Florida through 5/15/12:

      57 trolling cases in 92 work days (staggered between Northern, Middle & Southern districts). Nu Image case of 2/29/12 in FLMD involves 2,515 Does.

      Additional cases are going in Florida state courts.

  1. These judgements will begin to pick up steam through the summer. This is one of many and they will be used/referenced in other courts by judges and defendants.

    The legal system is so neat in this way.

    “Hey Trolls, lookie!” (snicker)

  2. I think judges are recognizing the threat to adequate function of the Federal civil courts, on top of the greed, malice and legal distortion behind trolling.

    There have been 16 copyright trolling cases listed in May so far in 16 days in The New York Southern District alone.! One case a day in only one jurisdiction.

    At that rate, the courts would be overwhelmed. If troll cases were green lighted, there’s nothing to stop them from filing hundreds of cases per month in one state. Neither allegation accuracy nor troll alleged tracking methods have been tested. Lists of IP addresses could be slapped together. Does would respond more and more in each case. Imagine if there were two Doe counter suits per case. It leads to thousands of cases just about discovery. Courts would come to a standstill for greedy porn purveyors.

  3. Hopefully Steve Jones will thank me when he finds out I reported his hacker problem to the FBI.
    Oh wait, he could have done that himself, but he’s not concerned about justice just money. Keep ringing bells and making the Trolls run for cover.

  4. A better question to ask was how long did they know Doe 1, who used the mobile device, was not in the jurisdiction of the court and why did they wait so long to mention that?

    • Yes, it would be informative to go back and look at Troll Meier’s numerous other Notices of Voluntary Dismissals to see how many Doe 1s have had similar regrettable infirmities with moving forward against them once severance has occurred. Maryland would be a good place to start.

  5. Judge McMahon’s Memorandum Decision and Order of 5-15 and this post could not have been better timed. On the same date Troll Kotzker, as to be expected, filed an Objection to the Report and Recommendation of Judge Gary Brown. This Objection argues, in part, that the SDNY has applied the correct standard in uniformly finding joinder proper in a troll lawsuit. Thanks to Judge McMahon this finding of proper joinder is no longer uniform in the SDNY.

    As I have suggested before, its time for out of state Trolls to pack up their carpet bags and leave NY.

    As of this writing Troll Kotzker’s Objection had not hit RECAP, but it will http://ia601205.us.archive.org/21/items/gov.uscourts.nyed.328094/gov.uscourts.nyed.328094.docket.html

      • Quite! Cashman makes a nice point hinting that some or all EDNY Malibu Media Does may have been moved to SDNY. If so, that grouping of Does is a bad luck charm for Kotzker.

        • Will this have an immediate impact on the batch of cases assigned Judge Foster? Checking pacer I see an order today instructing plaintiffs to confirm with given does whether or not the elected to proceed anonymously or not, but nothing else new.

  6. Very difficult to say. Judge McMahon makes the point in her Memorandum and Order that if Troll Meier had been playing by the rules she would have control of Judge Forrest’s lawsuits. So far it seems as if Judge Forrest is being very cautious just as Chief Judge Chasenow in MD was initially. Ultimately Judge Chasenow’s view of the issue of joinder changed from finding it proper to finding it improper. In other words, she had the courage and humility to admit she was wrong. Lets hope Judge Forrest has those same strengths.

    • Raul> Thank you very much for the response, and your numerous insightful posts on articles. I suppose I will hold out and wait a little longer. Thought I noticed a new order regarding Judge Forrester’s cases yesterday where she idicated the plaintiff must ask does beforehand if they have requested to proceed anonymously or not,and accordingly treat them anonymously at this time. But this seems to be a result more of her concern that requests for anonymity may not have reached the court and been processed…

  7. BTW Judge McMahon has 2 other Troll Meier lawsuits in her sights: 12-cv-125 and 12-cv-1098. The question is: Does Meier dismiss them quietly or does he allow Judge McMahon to dismiss them publicly? Frankly I am surprised he has not filed Notices of Voluntary Dismissals regretfully claiming the ISPs’ Data Retention Centers had been blown up by Al Qaeda on 5-15.

    • Well, now it’s 5/21. That’s not saying much since the judge responded to him on Thursday, and now it’s Monday morning. In all seriousness (and I’m not egging him on here), but he cannot file a letter like that without following up with actually naming people or else he’ll lose credibility. It’s one thing to be a troll. It’s another to be a troll that is known to bluff.

        • You bet. Absolutely. No doubt. The only reason he and the other copyright trolls have been able to get away with the joinder issue is because the judge finds it more convenient to not worry about it until there are actually named defendants. Even Judge Beryl Howell of the DC cases (the monster multi-thousand defendant cases) wrote in her orders that she would re-think the joinder and jurisdiction rulings once DGW named someone. Here, Judge Forrest is no fool. She is well aware of the joinder problems, and I would be shocked if she didn’t bring them up if and when Meier named someone.

          • In other words (and sorry for not saying this succinctly above), no judge wants to have 200 separate yet identical lawsuits on their docket when they can have them all bunched together as one. So they [for the time being until the issue is un-ignorable] ignore the issue until the plaintiff attorneys name the defendants.

          • What are the odds that the plaintiffs go through and name all the Does? Do most of these cases get dismissed and or tossed out?

  8. Truly hilarious to me that the web address in the header of the letter is still ‘www.copyrightdefenselawyer.com’

    • @DoedbyTroll I’m happy to elaborate — I just don’t know on which comment you are referring to. As to Mike Meier and his letter — if you make a threat (his letter to Judge Forrest re: how to name defendants), be prepared to follow up on it or else you’ll lose credibility. As to joinder after he names people, judges have been kicking the “joinder” issue down the road because they don’t want the copyright trolls to flood their dockets with cases — they would rather have a Troll v. Does 1-5,000 rather than 500 cases of “Trolls v. Does 1-10.” Yes, the court makes more money with the “1-10” cases, but still, it is practically a lot more work for a judge to handle multiple dockets than it is to have them all joined together in one case (even more convenient than consolidating them which in its essence is a punishment to the troll),

  9. I wouldn’t be surprised to to see Mikey name a few. He’s had terrible luck and it doesn’t look like there is anything left for him to do but drop trolling or try some new tactics; the courts are on to him and calling his bluff at every turn now. He got into the game after his buddy Ira Siegel and Brett Langdon Gibbs of Prenda Law, Inc. did a ton of damage to copyright trolling by overreaching in the Northern District of California. At this point Meiers isn’t even getting to discovery in most of his cases, so he’s not even able to get to the shakedown phase with most of his Does. And being relatively new to the scam, he doesn’t have a big pile of backlogged contact info to try to milk for settlements in the medium term.

    Keep in mind that CEG’s principal, Ira Seigel, pretty much blew his trolling career by overtrolling Cali, and Ira is desperately trying to claw himself out of bankruptcy through extortion. Mike is Ira’s lackey and if Ira thinks naming defendants is the only way to get this scam back on track, don’t think for a second that Ira will have any qualms about risking someone else’s career for the cause. That’s what pawn are for, after all.

    • My apologies for correcting what you’re writing. The only reason I’m doing so is because it’s important to know who is who in this game, so you know who to fight and who to laugh at. CEG is just one of many IP monetization companies who hires attorneys (and others) to enforce intellectual property rights. They’ll hire you as an attorney if they think you’ll make their clients some money. Each attorney is sort of his own franchise, so to speak. Marvin Cable appears to be their newest one. Terik Hashmi (remember him?) was another. Mike Meier is another. Ira Siegel is (was?) another. As far as I understand, these guys know each other, but it seems as if each is an independently operating law firm who thinks they can make a few bucks out of doing this line of work. While they all work as local counsel for CEG, they each can pursue the cases however they see fit, and according to their abilities. We see this with other IP monetization companies with Jason Kotzker as a local attorney along with many more of them in many states. Similarly, Steele has his own local attorneys as well. See the way these entities are structured?

      Many of us defense attorneys have been approached by a number of these companies and have been asked to switch sides. Mike Meier took the bait and did. Anyway, just an FYI. This would make a good blog post for anyone who wants to piece together the lawyers with their “parent” IP enforcement companies. “It’s a small world” also applies to the trolling world as well.

  10. Today the plaintiff requested an extension of time to serve. It seems that the deadline for him to serve individual does is Tomorrow, 5/25. The extension is based on Judge Forrest’s decision that does have the right to proceed anonymously, and further that the plaintiff had to confirm whether any such request was submitted. Likelihood this will simply be granted? Also interesting, the plaintiff notes that(regarding the request for confirmation that does wanted to proceed anonymously):

    “Plaintiffs notified the 122 remaining John Does by letter (priority mail with delivery
    confirmation) on May 22, 2012 of the Court Order of May 17, 2012. A copy of Plaintiffs’ letter
    is attached as Exhibit 1.”

    Can we take this to me he intends to file against those 122 remaining?
    I did not total up all these linked cases, but it seems the original doe count was around 1300 or so.

    Also of interest, a response to some of the recent New York judges comments, which may tie in to some of the recent discussions on this board about links between troll frims:

    “In order to give the John Does time to respond, Plaintiffs are requesting an enlargement
    of 30 days to serve individual John Does.
    Finally, because of certain practices of other law firms that have been criticized in court
    decisions, Plaintiffs’ counsel would like to note that (i) he personally conducts all
    communications with John Does and their attorneys; (ii) Plaintiffs’ counsel does in fact
    investigate any defenses presented by John Does; (iii) Plaintiffs’ counsel is independent and does
    not belong to any law firm that may represent the same Plaintiffs in other proceedings. Many
    production studios use different lawyers and different data providers for enforcing their
    copyrights nationwide.”

    • Meier is taking instruction from another entity. There’s no reason to expect a lower price with Meier’s NYSD setback. Fear not reason is the troll’s tool. There’s no history of naming (with or without serving) 100 Does total out of 300,000 Does involved, let alone in a single case.

      See the advice at the end of SJD’s newest post:

      https://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/2012/05/25/who-and-where-is-prenda-law-what-happened-to-john-steele/
      “Don’t pay these clowns. I understand it is very scary in the beginning, but take your time to get educated — you’ll thank yourself for not succumbing to fears and saving your money, starving the troll in the process.
      If you can afford a lawyer, hire a lawyer. Not any lawyer, but one with a good heart and lots of experience with troll cases. This is much better use of your money than paying a ransom.”
      etc.

      • Thats what I gathered from reading further… any other advice? Trying not to sweat it too much… any words are helpful!

  11. Unbowed by Judge McMahon’s lashing of 5-15, Troll Meier continues polluting the SDNY in the aftermath:

    Combat Zone v. Does 1-33 (12-cv-4132)
    Combat Zone v. Does 1-34 (12-cv-4133) assigned to Judge McMahon!
    Exquisite Media v. Does 1-21 (12-cv-3983)
    SBO Pictures v. Does 1-20 (12-cv-3925)
    West Coast Production v. Does 1-29 (12-cv-3924)

  12. so, what does this mean for me if I have an outstanding case in this district? Can I expect my case to be thrown out, even though a different judge is presiding?

    • It is always difficult to predict the future but the trend in the SDNY is starting to break for the Does. The judges are finally beginning to take notice of the sheer mass of trolling lawsuits filed by Trolls Kotzker and Meier and are taking defensive steps against these foreign invaders. My guess is that the judges will let most lawsuits filed in December, January and February play out as they are approaching the end of the typical life cycle of a troll lawsuit. My further guess is that the judges are going to take a firmer stance against those lawsuits filed after February in an effort to stem the flood of these lawsuits. Keep in mind that there is a next to zero chance you will be served as both trolls are out of state and it makes no sense for them to do so logistically or financially.

  13. Mike Meier’s has asked to dismiss the remaining Does in his debut DC cases:
    11-CV-01833; 01962; 01977; 01976.

    (Exception: Doe 45 11-CV-01977, he’s using 3rd Degree BZ Tactics on this Doe)

  14. Weretroll Meier realizes his other 2 lawsuits pending before Judge McMahon (Patrick Collins v. Does 1-179 (case no. 12-cv-1098 and Media Products v. Does 1-59 (case no. 12-cv-125)) are dying a slow death and puts them out of their misery on 5-30. Slinks back under the bridge to ponder the uncertain future of his May filings.

  15. This is good!

    After getting his ass handed to by Judge McMahon as SJD explains in this post, Troll Meier files another passel of lawsuits in the SDNY. One of these lawsuits, Combat Zone, v. Does 1-34 (12-cv-4133) gets assigned to the troll’s nemesis, Judge McMahon (you know this will not end well for the troll). Meier moves for expedited discovery which Judge McMahon denies and she orders Meier to show cause, in light of her earlier Order in Digital Sins, why she should not sever Does 2-34 in this new lawsuit.http://ia600601.us.archive.org/24/items/gov.uscourts.nysd.397092/gov.uscourts.nysd.397092.6.0.pdf Meier puts in his response and on 6-18 Judge McMahon hands down her Order severing Does 2-34. Excerpts:

    “First, Counsel argues that I should permit these defendants to be joined because I have been inconsistent on this issue….To which I say, with Justice Holmes, that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”

    and

    “Second, plaintiff calls my attention to the fact that my colleagues Judges Forrest and Nathan have reached a different conclusion in “swarm” cases….I respectfully disagreed with my learned colleagues then and I continue to do so now, having concluded that other precedents were more persuasive in light of the Second Circuit’s holding-never overturned, despite advances in technology-that permissive joinder is not authorized when a large number of people use the same method to violate the law.”

    finally and to get the full flavor you need to recall that Meier always seems to find a convenient excuse not to pursue Doe 1 after severance

    (In discussing the reliability of Meier’s geolocation technology) “In Digital Sin, I allowed plaintiff to proceed against Doe 1 (after severing the other 246 John Does), only to have plaintiff’s counsel file a discontinuance in short order; the cited ground was that plaintiff had learned that Doe1-his geolocation technology notwithstanding-was not a New York resident and was not amenable to suit in the Southern District of New york! I commend counsel for his candor in admitting the want of jurisdiction once it was uncovered, but he makes my point: the amenability of these defendants to suit in this district is suspect” 😉

    The Order is here ia700601.us.archive.org/24/items/gov.uscourts.nysd.397092/gov.uscourts.nysd.397092.8.0.pdf and the docket is here http://ia600601.us.archive.org/24/items/gov.uscourts.nysd.397092/gov.uscourts.nysd.397092.docket.html

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