6 Mar 14 Update
On 6 Mar 14, Troll Hamilton filed a motion to dismiss three defendants (Fox, Doonan, and Jennings) with prejudice. Doc31_MTD_01020(IA) As the requested dismissal is ‘with prejudice,’ I assume some sort of settlements was reached. The dismissal of Doonan will make her ‘answer’ (ECF # 29) moot. That still leaves eight defendants, to include Mr. Davidson who filed his answer on 26 Feb 13. It is extremely possible that Doonan was offered a walk-away deal by Troll/Plaintiff; too bad those details are likely hidden behind a non-disclosure agreement clause in the settlement. Such a deal would be advantageous to Troll/Plaintiff because they would not have to move forward with a costly (and possibly risky) discovery process. The other two defendant likely paid some amount to secure the dismissal.
Here is an update from a previous article about a TCYK case that was filed in the Northern District of IA, 2:13-cv-01020, on 25 Jun 13. No Extension To Serve = TCYK, LLC Cut-Rate Settlement Deal – 2:13-cv-01020 (IAND)
On 30 Jan 14, Troll Jay Hamilton amended the complaint to name the 11 ISP subscribers as the actual defendants. This was of course only done FOUR days AFTER the court imposed deadline (26 Jan 14) to name and serve the defendants. Doc16_01020(IA) FAC_01020(IA) FAC_EXs_01020(IA) In the mean time, Troll Hamilton tried to get some of the ISP subscribers to settle with a “cut-rate” offer of $1-1.5K.
As Mr. Threat, was the only person who took Troll Hamilton’s offer, I don’t think most of the Defendants were impressed. So Troll Hamilton decided to actually serve the ISP subscribers in hopes it would bring them to the settlement table. I assume he had the local Sheriff’s Office attempt to serve all the remaining defendants. Here is proof of service for Mr. Hixson, dated 16 Feb 14. Doc28_01020(IA) It is interesting that he only filed one proof of service document. This could a way to show the court they are moving forward.
What Troll Hamilton was probably not expecting (or wanting), was that Two of the Defendants (Doonan & Davidson) filed answers Pro Se. Doc29_Answer_01020(IA) Doc30_Answer_01020(IA) Both of these answers were filed on 26 Feb 14. The answers are short (2 & 6 pages each) and to the point – both defendants deny the allegations. I’m thinking I need to make a page to show various Defendant ‘answers’ in case the name/serve tactic is expanded.
As I haven’t seen any other documents showing service was accomplished, I assume the Troll is either having trouble accomplishing the service and/or they are negotiating settlements with the remaining Seven defendants.
Now Troll Hamiltion/Plaintiff has to decide what is their next course of action. For Mr. Hixson, the 21 day period to answer the complaint is 9 Mar 14. If Mr. Hixson (and the other Defendants) fails to answer the complaint/summons, Troll Hamilton will be able to motion the court for a default judgement. For the Defendants who answer the complaint, the next likely step will be the court directing a discovery plan from both sides. For the Troll, this is most likely going to be a deposition of the ISP subscriber, followed possibly by other depositions (other network users/residents), and forensic examinations of Defendant computers.
I don’t think Troll Hamilton/Plaintiff will go past the deposition phase, but you never know. If the depositions fail to disclose any evidence of infringement, forensic examinations are going to be costly and risky. If both discovery steps fails to disclose any direct evidence, the Defendants could motion the court for a summary judgement. The only angle I could see Troll Hamilton use is to suggest the Defendants removed/hid/ destroyed the computer used to commit the infringement. A generally weak argument especially with no evidence to back it up. As well as the court was obviously displeased with the Troll for not advancing the case and asking for more extensions with no good reason. I wouldn’t be surprised if Troll Hamilton eventually tried to make a “walk away” deal with Doonan & Davidson if/when things start to look bad for Plaintiff.
The Troll lawyers understand there is going to be ISP subscribers who were not the infringers (Copyright Troll Mike Meier’s estimate of 30% (3 out of 10)). Their problem is if defendants are found not at fault, it will give rise to others ISP subscribers fighting back. The Trolls are trying to maintain control of this business model, but they are often their worst enemy. I will be only too happy to assist them in screwing it up. 😉
DieTrollDie 🙂 “The Defendants have liable Plaintiff under the disguise of such childish and unsophisticated pseudonyms as ‘die troll die.”