from the quashed-indeed dept
The various lawyers who have jumped on the bandwagon of mass lawsuits against people accused of sharing certain porn productions have been finding that courts are becoming more aggressive in dismissing most of the defendants due to clear abuse of the law by the lawyers to file a single case against so many defendants. We’ve seen a bunch of such cases have all but a single defendant dismissed. However, it looks like one judge in Illinois, Judge Milton Shadur, went beyond even that in dismissing an entire case against all 300 defendants in response to an amateur pro se motion to quash from one of the anonymous defendants. Of course, we’ve talked about some “kits” that have been put online for such defendants to file motions to quash and some of the folks in our comments insisted that such motions would never work. Oops.
In this particular case, brought by one of the “new breed” of P2P mass lawsuit lawyers, John Steele (who was a divorce lawyer before jumping in to these types of cases) sued 300 defendants on behalf of porn producer, CP Productions. The judge seems to think the whole thing was clearly unwarranted, and had made it clear to Steele earlier that he didn’t think much of the case at all. Steele pushed forward, but once the motion to quash came in, the judge dumped the whole case, going with his initial intuition that the case never should have been brought in the first place. Ars Technica summarizes the judge’s reasoning:
“Among other things, the newest motion demonstrates that there is no justification for dragging into an Illinois federal court, on a wholesale basis, a host of unnamed defendants over whom personal jurisdiction clearly does not exist and–more importantly–as to whom CP?s counsel could readily have ascertained that fact,” the judge said, apparently referring to the fact the IP lookup services would have shown the lawyers that most defendants were unlikely to be Illinois residents.
In addition, the judge saw the joinder of 300 defendants as little more than a ploy for saving cash. “No predicate has been shown for thus combining 300 separate actions on the cheap,” he added. “If CP had sued the 300 claimed infringers separately for their discrete infringements, the filing fees alone would have aggregated $105,000 rather than $350.”
The judge also noted Steele’s amazingly fast response to his own initial concerns about the case, which he said seemed to suggest that Steele already knew why the judge would be concerned and had all of his arguments ready to go. To the judge, this showed that Steele knew quite well the “obvious problems” of these types of lawsuits. Nice to see more judges realizing that these lawsuits are a massive abuse of the legal system to squeeze money out of people.