The total number of California cases as of today is 246 (CAND: 147, CASD: 45, CAED: 54). CASD and CAED cases are still in their initial stage (it seems that the troll didn’t even get the subscribers’ information yet in those districts). Nothing was filed in CACD: the troll is presumably scared of Judge Wright, which is understandable. Therefore, I’ll only talk about CAND for now.
Out of 147 CAND cases, 84 are still open, while 63 are closed: 5 were dismissed by the judge for failure to timely serve the defendant; 29 were dismissed with prejudice (which most certainly indicates settlement), 29 — without (two of these dismissals were due to sloppiness: duplicates).
Thus, the settlement rate is disappointingly high: it is depressing to see how many people were easily scared into submission. I fail to understand why: the cost of a competent defense is comparable to the settlement amount, which is at least $10,000.
Only 9 cases are currently contested: 4 defendants are represented by Nick Ranallo, 3 by Curtis Edmondson (one together with by Mark Lambert), 2 — pro se. Honestly, I expected more from Northern California. I hope more people will stand up against the bully in the coming months.
So, 30 settlements translate to at least $300,000, which is times more than the investment ($58,400 in filing fees, plus some minor paralegal work of copying the same documents over and over). Since the local attorneys’ cut of ransom proceeds is reportedly about 30%, no wonder that a young attorney has been joyously selling her soul to Mammon: apparently, the price is just right to justify closing eyes to the blatant dishonorableness of these lawsuits. For instance, for this price Ms. Erlbaum is seemingly OK with one of her lowest “achievements” — assaulting elderly:
The defendant is an 80 year old citizen surviving on an $800.00 per month pension with a $275,000 house mortgage and $1,250 per month payment, supported by renting rooms to individuals. This subpoena has disturbed the tranquility of his retirement, has threatened his safety net, created panic and has led him to the edge of mental break down.
The troll wants more time to pressure defendants
A recent development worth mentioning is an attempt by the troll to “streamline” the shakedown procedure, essentially a request for a privileged treatment under the Rule 4(m). Malibu wanted the judge to allow 55 days to serve defendants after learning their identities. Delay is Lipscomb’s bread and butter: on average it translates to more pressure and hence to an increased settlement rate. So, a six-figure windfall was apparently not enough. Truly, greed is a powerful drug.
The justification for 55 days was beyond ridiculous:
- Malibu Media conducts an investigation, typically lasting THREE DAYS, to determine whether it will pursue its claims against the subscriber identified or a third party using that subscriber’s Internet connection.
- Once Malibu Media decides to pursue claims against a defendant, it takes THREE DAYS to prepare and file a proposed summons, amended complaint, return of service, and a motion to file those documents under seal.
- Malibu Media’s sealing motion is granted within ONE DAY.
- The summons issues between TWO AND SIX DAYS after the sealing motion is granted.
- Malibu Media receives the unredacted summons by mail FOUR TO TEN DAYS after it issues.
- Malibu Media spends ONE DAY reviewing the relevant documents before delivering them to its process server.
Judge Alsup, while stating that “Malibu Media exaggerates the timeline of its procedure” and also that “Malibu Media only needs eight to ten days from the date it receives a defendant’s identifying information before it can deliver the relevant documents and instructions to its process server,” for some reason slashed the proposed timeline only slightly: from 55 days to 35. In addition, the judge mandated to immediately notify the court every time Comcast completes the sale of its customer to the troll:
In order to better track deadlines, Malibu Media shall please file a notice informing the Court of the date on which it received the defendant’s identifying information no later than FIVE CALENDAR DAYS after receiving that information.
I updated the spreadsheet. Since this post was published, California got infested even more (98 new cases):
- 2/29/2016: 30 new cases in CAND
- 3/30/2016: 22 new cases in CAED (bringing the total to 76)
- 3/31/2016: 32 new cases in CAND (bringing the total to 178)
- 4/1/2016: 12 new cases in CAND (bringing the total to 59)