A bellwether trial, designed to test the validity of trolls’ evidence, was widely covered by press over the last week. Being obviously serious about his intentions to bring this business to completion, Judge Baylson setup a very tight schedule that included a trial date in April 2013. Not surprisingly, Lipscomb/Fiore/Malibu Media are currently trying to sabotage the process in a hope that Baylson will dismiss the case on the procedural grounds. It’s an awkward situation: all 5 defendants will be happy if this nightmare is over, and, of course, we will be happy for them too, yet in a long run a premature dismissal will result in continuing extortion and much, much more victims.
Raul originally posted the following as a comment to the original post. I don’t think that anyone disagrees that Raul’s comment deserves a wider audience. Hence, a separate post.
On 10/15, at the 11th hour, just before the deadline was set to expire for Troll Fiore to effect service on the Does, they file their Second Motion for an Extension of Time to Effect Service. The motion requests an additional 30 days insofar as Fiore does not have the personal info for Doe 6 because:
On October 3, 2012, this Court entered an order granting in part and denying in part John Doe 6’s motion [Dkt. 24]. Plaintiff has forwarded this order to the ISP to obtain John Doe 6’s identity and is waiting on the response.
In your Bullshit Alarm clanging?
Charles Thomas files his Brief in Opposition to this motion on 10/16 (embedded below) and makes many excellent points as to why the motion should be denied and I’ll just point to a few of my favorites:
This delay is outrageous, and clearly leaves the impression that the Plaintiff is less than enthusiastic about actually trying these cases. Indeed, taking these cases to trial is not consistent with the so-called “copyright troll” business model — raise the spectre of statutory damages to obtain quick settlements.
…this maneuver has an secondary effect on the Defendants and the Court which very clearly evidences the Plaintiff’s blatant attempt to undermine this Court’s clear directive to advance this case a timely trial.
In essence, the longer the Plaintiff can avoid laying its cards upon the table, the more profitable its shadow business. Already, the Court’s decision to schedule a bellwether trial is rippling through the media and presumably the Plaintiff is aware of the intense scrutiny that this trial will generate.
In Paragraph 4, Plaintiff states that it has forwarded the Court’s October 3 Order to Comcast, but does not indicate when it did so — this is a very telling omission. Clearly, if Comcast received the Order on October 3 or 4 and failed to reply timely, Plaintiff would surely note all the relevant dates of communication and be well within its rights to lay the blame squarely on Comcast’s shoulders. That is has not spelled out the dates in question suggests that the cause of the delay was simply that Plaintiff failed to act.
Based on these points Thomas arrives at the logical conclusion that Fiore/Lipscomb are trying to scuttle the lawsuits before they get to a Bellwether Trial:
All of the above amply demonstrates that Plaintiff is doing its level best to remain in the shadows, almost goading the Court to dismiss its Complaint on procedural grounds — and thus to avoid a precedential ruling that could dismantle what Judge Wright of the Central District of California calls “essentially an extortion scheme.”
Thomas followed his hunch that Fiore never contacted Comcast and the lie is revealed in an Addendum filed also filed on 10/16:
John Doe 6 has now learned through a conversation with Comcast’s Legal Response Center that Plaintiff never informed Comcast of the Court’s ruling.
This directly contradicts Plaintiff’s assertion in the Second Motion that it has forwarded the Order to the ISP to obtain John Doe 6’s identity. This even more strongly suggests that Plaintiff is actively attempting to evade judicial oversight of its highly profitable settlement machine.
In closing Thomas notes that such “shenanigans” should be sanctioned as he had suggested in his Brief.
Two more defense attorneys on this case filed very similar oppositions to plaintiff’s motion for extension of time to serve. Leonard French was one of them. Note that C. Fiore filed a response to at least one motion, claiming that the
Mafioso family plaintiff “welcomes the opportunity to try this case on the merits” and that “defendants [sic] actions make clear that they do not want to proceed with the Bellwether trial.” Pot full of BS calls the kettle back? The claim that defendant made in his addendum (that plaintiff disobeyed the court’s order to forward its ruling to Comcast, and lied that he did) has not been addressed.
Judge Baylson issues an order on Plaintiff’s motion to extend the time. Granted in part and denied in part. The most interesting part is that Baylson wants trolls’ memo to be filed under oath, meaning he no longer takes their word.
A follow-up post: Bellwether trial update: a delicate art of bullshitting under oath.
Bellwether trial update: Telephone conference, new filings. New updates will be posted there.