Righthaven Asks Court To Speed Up Ruling Against It So It Doesn't Have To Pay For A Trial

from the just-dismiss-it dept

The Righthaven situation keeps getting more amusing. Apparently one of the cases is actually scheduled to go to trial next week… but Righthaven doesn’t want it to go forward because it can’t afford to actually go to trial. However, the company seems perturbed that the defendant has filed a motion to dismiss on the same standing issue that’s resulted in multiple dismissals in nearly every Righthaven case since it was discovered that the copyright transfer from newspapers to Righthaven was a sham transfer. So, Righthaven has now asked the court (involving a judge who has already ruled against Righthaven) to speed things up and avoid the trial by ordering Righthaven to show cause over the standing issue. Yes, Righthaven appears to be asking the court to speed up the process of dismissing the case, without it dismissing the case directly itself. The defendant, Kevin Kelleher and his lawyers, note the irony here:

Righthaven appears to be inviting the court to commit what Righthaven would contend is legal error by dismissing this action,??

Righthaven also seems angry that Kelleher hasn’t filed for dismissal himself, even though it promised to do so itself. Of course, the reasoning here is that Righthaven (a) doesn’t want to actually go through a trial it can’t afford, but (b) doesn’t want to dismiss because it’s still hoping against all hope that it can win an appeal and get these cases reinstated. Either way, it’s pretty funny to see Righthaven asking the court to speed up ruling against it.

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Companies: righthaven

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Comments on “Righthaven Asks Court To Speed Up Ruling Against It So It Doesn't Have To Pay For A Trial”

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Beta (profile) says:

“Righthaven.. doesn’t want to actually go through a trial it can’t afford, but… [is] still hoping against all hope that it can win an appeal and get these cases reinstated.”

…and then go to trial, using the proceeds from the lottery tickets it is presently buying.

They ought to set aside at least enough money for some false moustaches and vocational training, since they’re probably done with law.

Spointman (profile) says:

Money gone where?

So, here’s a fun thought. My understanding is that, like most of these copyright cases, Righthaven has settled with an unknown number of defendants for an unknown sum of money. This implies that they had some revenue. However, now they’re claiming they can’t afford their bills. So would it make sense for one of the lawyers demanding payment of their legal bills to file a motion with the court demanding that Righthaven account for every single penny of revenue they’ve received in order to “prove” that they can’t afford to pay? I think it would be very illuminating to see how much they’ve earned for undisclosed settlements, and where that money has actually gone now.

PRK (profile) says:

Why be afraid of trial?

I suspect that Righthaven is trying to avoid being subjected to giving testimony in open court. While I am sure there may have been depositions, a trial is the only place where testimony becomes a matter of public record. Discovery responses, whether in writing (interrogatories) or oral (depositions) are not a part of the public court record unless and until they are introduced formally as evidence.

Further, attorneys often play games with discovery (objecting and giving vague answers). If one party is not satisfied with a discovery answer, they must attempt to negotiate resolution informally and only then may file a motion in which they must detail the question and the response and why it is insufficient – obviously a costly and time-consuming process. None of this burden exists at a trial where the judge is in control and will instantly rule on objections.

All sorts of questions could be asked during the trial of both the principals of RH and their “backers”. The manner and method of negotiations of the famous agreement and its amendments would all come out.

A trial record also makes it much more difficult to appeal. While an appeal claiming an error of law is heard denovo (a do over of the legal issues), factual determinations made by a trial court (or jury) are subject to challenge only if they are clearly incorrect. This is a much more difficult standard to sustain on appeal.

It is an interesting procedural issue. The court could allow the trial so as to gain evidence concerning the standing issue (which previously has been based on limited evidence submitted without testimony, cross-examination, etc). The court would most likely allow the entire trial to occur since it would not be efficient to stop it half-way through.

Absent a motion by one of the parties, the court is well within its discretion to allow matters to go forward – particularly given a lack of objection by the defendant. The position of RH (that there is standing) further supports the court’s allowing a trial to occur.

So, hats off to the defendant here. Good call. I hope the court refuses to take the bait and forces the trial to go forward. The testimony will be priceless to read and make RH’s appeals that much more difficult from a credibility stand-point.


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