While recently searching for Copyright Troll related material, I can across the fact that John Steele had filed a “Change of Address” with the Northern District of IL court. I have attached the court document, as it is interesting to see all the cases John Steele (Steele Hansmeier PLLC) is associated with. Change of address_John Steele
What struck me as odd was the move to Florida from Illinois. Not that I think IL is better than FL; the weather has got to be better in FL. 🙂 Well at least more to my liking. Still, to pick up and move his well established practice to FL seemed out-of-place.
I asked “houstonlawy3r” (http://houstonlawyer.wordpress.com/) about this and he stated it was likely due to FL having a “Bill of Discovery,” that John Steele would use.
Well with a little Internet search I found an article with some good details on what a Florida Bill of Discovery is. Here is the article link – http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6367/is_3_78/ai_n29075065/?tag=mantle_skin;content
The bottom line is a Bill of Discovery (or a “Pure Bill of Discovery”) is an old legal remedy where the plaintiff seeks relief in the form of discovery (get him information).
- The Bill of Discovery is initiated by filing a complaint which seeks relief in the form of discovery. It is usually brought to obtain disclosure of facts within a defendant’s knowledge, or of deeds or writings or other things in the defendant’s custody, or in the aid of prosecution or defense of an action in some other court.
- The Bill of Discovery must meet certain threshold requirements to withstand a motion to dismiss. First, the plaintiff must properly allege that there is a bona fide cause of action or defense to a suit, not merely a possible cause of action or defense. Second, the plaintiff must be an actual party to the cause of action. If these preliminary requirements are met, the plaintiff must then demonstrate a proper purpose for filing the complaint for a pure bill of discovery. Such purposes include identification of possible defendants in a putative action as well as identification of potential causes of action or defenses.
The full article is a bit long and full of legal reasoning, but otherwise informative. Well it looks like this is a possible tool for John Steele to use in the FL State courts. All he has to do is use the same general format from the cases files in Federal court to show why a Bill of Discovery is warranted. Now you say,” that doesn’t make any sense, copyright infringement is a Federal Statute; what the hell is he doing?”
Well I can opine that John Steele will use it to obtain subscriber information from Internet Service Providers (ISP). Then once he has the names of people who the IP addresses are associated to, he can send out his infamous “settlement” letters and telephone calls. It really doesn’t matter if the case will be filed in a Florida Federal court, the goal is to get the accused to settle. To do that, he needs the subscriber information – Names and Addresses.
The point I’m not clear on is if he send a Bill of Discovery to an ISP outside of Florida, will the ISP in question provide the subscriber information OR do they have the option to ignore it because it is an out of State document. I’m sure some legal minded folks can point me in the right direction. If it is COMCAST, they will likely roll over and provide it anyway.
I also wonder if you can submit a motion to dismiss for a Bill of Discovery in the FL State courts?
Also, I wonder if these cases noted in the change of address document can or will be moved down to FL? Transferred to new Judges that are not familiar to these types of cases. Even if the judges review all the documentation, it will probably give his firm more time to chase after the John/Jane Does and obtain settlements.
Your thought and comments are welcome. Thank you.