Too Much Free Time

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
defendants, john steele

Companies:
prenda, prenda law



Prenda's Latest Trick: Pretend There Are NO Defendants So No One Can Object

from the that-bag-o'-tricks dept

Back in December we talked about some of the many items in Prenda Law's bag of copyright trolling tricks, focused on getting courts to allow discovery on IP addresses at any cost. The end goal, of course, is merely to get contact info for the purpose of beginning the intimidation campaign to get people to pay up to avoid the "threat" of a lawsuit from Prenda. That post listed a whole series of "tricks" that Prenda used to set up this ridiculous house of cards to try to both avoid having to name people as defendants (whereby they might defend themselves against such discovery), while also filing a ton of lawsuits that implicate the same IPs around the country, doing a bit of jurisdiction shopping.

The latest trick is that after being called on this, Prenda is seeking to deny the efforts to fight back by some of those who are associated with the IP addresses connected to these lawsuits. How? By arguing not just that these IP addresses don't represent defendants in the case, but actually going so far as to argue that there are no defendants in the case because the case itself is filed against "John Doe." The fact that the people associated with the IP addresses in question are still being sought as possible "co-conspirators" is completely ignored, as Prenda claims that makes no difference.

The lawyers at Booth Sweet representing those associated with a few of the IP addresses have hit back, pointing out just how silly these legal claims are, but also noting that if there is no defendant in the case, then there is no case and the whole thing should be dismissed:
If Plaintiff is the only party in this action, then filing suit was premature. “[A]n actual controversy must exist not only at the time the complaint is filed, but through all stages of the litigation.” ... “With no defendant there is no case or controversy and thus no jurisdiction for this Court to act.” ... Plaintiff’s solitary version of litigation has no place in the federal courts. As Plaintiff conceded in the prior action, “courts only have subject matter jurisdiction over justiciable matters, which are matters in controversy between an actual plaintiff and an actual defendant.” ... The Court should order Plaintiff to show cause why its one-party suit should not be dismissed.
They also point out that courts have long rejected the ridiculous claim that as long as it's a "John Doe" being sued, the target is not a party to the lawsuit until being named. Obviously that would make it impossible to object to being named, because you'd have no standing to object... until you were already named. Such a scenario makes no sense, but it's one of the many crazy legal theories Prenda is now pushing.

As we've noted before, nearly every move by Prenda feels like a move by a cocky (and not very intelligent) lawyer who thinks he's outsmarted the system via a whole series of loopholes, while all the various moves really do is raise even more awareness of an impressive level of incompetence. I knew a kid like that back in college, who thought he'd figured out every angle, and had a loophole planned for everything. It was the sort of thing where you just shook your head and though that if he'd only applied half the effort he'd put into finding loopholes to actually doing the work in question, he might actually be really successful. But, instead, it's all about the loopholes that don't impress anyone.



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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Jan 2013 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re:

    I was considering adding that in, as it would make such a ruling all the more hilarious, but wasn't sure how much leeway a judge has with regards to adding the 'with prejudice' bit when they dismiss a case.

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