Troll Tricks – Waiver Of Service, 2:13-cv-00126 (WA), The Thompsons Film, LLC v. Does 1-35

trick1Wouldn’t you know it, but prior to departing on a little trip, I start to hear from Does and see on RFC Express something concerning a “Waiver Of The Service Of Summons.”  I know what one is, but it is not the normal thing for a copyright troll to use.  The hair on the back of my neck starts to stand up and I know this is not good.  Yes, I’m a bit paranoid and don’t trust the trolls, so I start my inquiry.  For those of you that don’t know what a “Waiver Of Service” is, here is a link – scroll down to (D) Waiving Service

Well I was able to obtain a copy of some Waiver Of Service documents for case 2:13-cv-00126-TOR, The Thompsons Film, LLC v. Does 1-35, Eastern District Washington.    WS_Docs_Trolls

Take a read of the cover letter and you will see the troll, Mareen C. VanderMay, The VanderMay Law Firm PC, requests the recipient to contact them to discuss the case.  The troll states that it is not their intention to name/serve persons not responsible for the infringement and would be happy to listen to any exculpatory evidence they have. Troll VanderMay goes on to state that they will not simply drop a drop because someone claims their network/Internet access was “hacked.”

The letter states that in 30 days they plan to name and serve the ISP subscriber – that is unless the responsible person is identified – and the troll believes you.

The last part of the letter is where the troll tries his hand at a little trickery.

lastpara1

The troll is trying to get the ISP subscriber to sign the waiver under the suggestion that it will save them (the Doe) money – the cost of service and related filings.  The only way a “savings” will happen is “IF” the ISP subscriber is served a summons/complaint and the court makes an eventual judgment in favor of Plaintiff.  As we have only had one case actually go to a trial (PA Bellwether) and a limited number of default judgments, this is an unlikely event at best.

2tM1The problem with signing the waiver is it starts the clock for the Doe to file an answer to the complaint.  If the ISP subscriber does not file an answer (i.e.  20-Answer_00427(CO)) no later than 60 days from the date of the waiver, the troll can motion the court for a default judgment against the ISP subscriber.  The troll omits this fact in the cover letter, but it can be found on page 3 of the waiver documents.  In my opinion, many people will not understand these facts and will simply sign and return the documents.

I believe the troll is trying to use the waiver documents as a tool to increase pressure and get some of the Does to start talking to them.  Once the troll decides she has gotten as many Does as possible to settle, I expect the motions for default judgments will be filed against the ones who signed the waiver and never filed an answer.  The waiver does save the troll the cost of service, as well as gives them a way to effect a default judgment at a time of their choosing.

One note: This could come back to haunt the troll if a Doe does sign the waiver and then files an answer and makes counterclaims.  The chances of this happening are slight (my opinion), but it could really mess up a Troll/Plaintiff business model.  Sounds like a troll crap shoot.

DieTrollDie 🙂

Previous Thompson Article, 1 May 13

About DieTrollDie

I'm one of the many 'John Does' (200,000+ & growing in the US) who Copyright Trolls have threatened with a civil law suit unless they are paid off. What is a Copyright Troll? Check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation link - http://www.eff.org/issues/copyright-trolls
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12 Responses to Troll Tricks – Waiver Of Service, 2:13-cv-00126 (WA), The Thompsons Film, LLC v. Does 1-35

  1. DieTrollDie says:

    Welcome under the bridge.
    Vandermay1
    DTD 🙂

  2. that anonymous coward says:

    A lawyer in a copyright case playing fast and loose with the law?!
    Misleading lay people to improve their position?!
    Say it isn’t so! Or that it is at least a violation of local ethics rules.

  3. Anon E. Mous says:

    Wow. I am surprised that this little trick would be permitted, you can bet old John Steele is sitting in his underwear with his finger in a jar of peanut butter thinking how he could have not thought of this but will probably steal the idea for their shakedowns -er- I mean litigation.

    This is a nasty trick never the less, I wonder what a Judge would think of this little game.

    • DieTrollDie says:

      The use of a waiver of service is a valid tool for real cases and not these business models.

      NOTE – I have been informed that my statement that a Plaintiff would have to prevail to recoup the service cost (and attorney fees) for refusing service was wrong. Thank you for correcting me.

      I would still not reccomend signing the waiver, as it starts the clock (60 days) to file an answer – failur to do so opens up a possibility of a default judgement.

      If the Plaintiff is serious, they will serve you and you have 21 days to respond. You then hire an attorney and they will ask the judge for more time to answer the complaint.

      DTD 🙂

  4. DoeName says:

    Once again, thanks DTD for your efforts in this. If not for you I might have sent in the Waiver.

  5. thatbalddude says:

    Really? “Send us any information you have that we can twist to incriminate you, and while you’re at it, sign this form that says we don’t have to serve you and can proceed without notifying you of anything.”

    In my layman’s eyes, myopic though they be, this would almost be begging a court to sanction the alleged attorney who sends this out. Playing on a Doe’s ignorance of the law for the lawyer’s gain can’t be ethical, can it?

  6. DieTrollDie says:

    We have another waiver of service document filed in a different Troll case – TCYK LLC v. Does 1-12, 4:13-cv-04041 (ILCD).
    Waiver of Service

  7. Pingback: DieTrollDie.com Is Two Years Old | DieTrollDie

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