While looking at the recent Prenda Law Inc.,/Alpha Law Firm LLC, scandal (Godfread_Cooper_02687(MN)) dealing with “Alan Cooper,” I came across the 28 Nov 12, court order granting the Plaintiff’s (Quad Int’l Inc., Ingenuity 13 LLC, & AF Holding LLC) motions for early discovery (prior to Rule 26(f)) in nine single Doe cases.
Judge Jeanne Graham notes there have been various abuses of the Federal court system by various pornography content owners to “pursue an extrajudicial business plan” – (AKA: Extort Settlements with weak evidence). The court notes that because Plaintiffs only filed single Doe cases against public IP addresses that resolve to locations within the court’s jurisdiction, she will grant early discovery and set some conditions.
Judge Graham did make it very clear about how she feels about the standard Copyright Troll business model.
… While this Court shares the concern of other courts that some plaintiffs are using litigation as part of their business model or engaging in improper litigation tactics, nothing in the record presently before the Court incriminates these particular Plaintiffs. The Court will take this opportunity, though, to admonish the practice of filing lawsuits for the improper purpose of demanding quick settlements under a threat of public exposure.
The interesting condition she sets is at Number 5 –
Within one day of extending any offer to settle to John Doe or having any other contact with John Doe, Plaintiff shall disclose the offer or contact to the Court by filing under seal a copy of (1) any written communication or (2) a transcript of any oral communication. Plaintiff shall also send a courtesy copy of each sealed document to the Court’s chambers.
That tells me she doesn’t believe what the Trolls are claiming and that she is going to “Trust, but verify.” My view is “Give them enough rope and they will hang themself.” One day to send the information to the court. Good luck with that one Prenda Law!
I’m sure the letters and calls to these Does will be a slightly sweeter version than we have historically seen. I would recommend to anyone who ends up being one of these Does to keep excellent records of the letters and calls you get once the “settlement” offers begin. For each call or letter, I would send a letter to the Judge and court chambers documenting the incident – to include copies of documents. Make sure you know the Richard Pryor Response (RPR) and document what you told them. Prenda Law is bound to screw up and forget to tell the court about each offer or communication. The Troll is likely to believe that since this information will be filed under seal, nobody is going to be able to verify if they are abiding by the order. If you can provide documentation of such a screw up, they are in violation of the court order.
Have a great weekend everyone.