BT Copyright Troll ‘Fathers and Daughters’ LLC Goes After Senior Citizen (1:16-cv-00187, HI) – Then Tries to ‘Cut & Run’

12 Dec 16 Update – Stipulated Dismissal of case.  On 5 Dec 16, Troll attorney Ferren and Mr. Rodriquez signed a stipulated dismissal (With Prejudice) of the case.   stip_dismissal-00187hi   Now some may say that this shows the Trolls will actually dismiss innocent ISP subscribers.  Please don’t be fooled.  Based on what I have seen from the various BT Copyright Trolls and their attorneys, dismissals such as this one only come about when a defendant fights back and the cost of actually going forward with Discovery is not a benefit to the Troll.  As this Troll/Plaintiff (and most others) was willing to name and serve Mr. Rodriquez as a DEFENDANT only because he was the ISP subscriber, it shows they don’t care who was really responsible, only that they can scare somebody into paying. I can only assume that if Mr. Rodriquez had not filed his answer, the Troll would have motioned for a default judgement, if only to try to look like a true litigant. Instead the Troll’s bluff was called and he quickly looked for a way out.

DTD 🙂

————————————————————————————————–

The following case comes to us from the State of Hawaii, where BT Copyright Troll attorney, Gregory A. Ferren, plies his trade.

fandd_trollitOn 22 April 16, Troll Ferren filed Fathers & Daughters Nevada, LLC, v. Does 1-12, 1:16-cv-00187, District of HI.   docket_30nov16_00187hi   This was a standard template-based multiple Doe BT copyright troll case on an otherwise lack-luster movie (RedBox Rental for $1.50).  Nothing special was noted in its form or the running of it. The Troll immediately asked the court to grant early discovery and was granted this on 28 Apr 16. Following the release of ISP subscriber information by the Hawaiian Telecom, Troll Ferren was likely working settlements.  On 19 Jul 16, Troll Ferren filed a Scheduling Conference Statement with the court – basically it said nothing.   conf_statement_doc12-00187hi

On 10 Aug 16, Troll/Plaintiff filed a dismissal ‘With Prejudice’ for Does 5 & 10. Then eight days later he filed a dismissal (‘With Prejudice’) for all remaining Does except for Doe #11.   dismissal-wp_does-5_10_00187hi   dismissal-wp_does_doc15_00187hi

On 18 Aug 16, the Troll amended the complaint to name the one remaining Defendant. The claim was for direct and contributory copyright infringement.   1st_amend_complaint_00187hi   1st_amend_complaint_ex1_00187hi   1st_amend_complaint_ex2_00187hi   On 4 Oct 16, the court issued a summons for Defendant Alberto Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez was served on 11 Oct 16.

What makes this case different from most is that Mr. Rodriquez filed a Pro Se ‘Answer’ denying all claims of copyright infringement (21 Nov 16).   def_answer_00187hi

def_answer_pic1

It doesn’t surprise me that the Troll went after this senior citizen. Probably figured it would be easy to force a settlement once he was served. That or they truly didn’t do their research before naming him as the Defendant.

I’m pretty sure Troll/Plaintiff was a bit surprised when Mr. Rodriquez filed his answer. In addition to his full denial, Mr. Rodriquez asked the court to:

  • Bar Plaintiff from simply naming Defendants based ONLY on who the ISP subscriber is
  • Issue a show cause order requiring Plaintiff show why it should not be sanctioned for failing to meet FRCP 11(c)(3)requirements – basically that their claims that Defendant Rodriquez is the offender is NOT based on any real evidence
  • Sanction Plaintiff for its violations of FRCP 11(b)
  • Dismiss Plaintiff’s claims With Prejudice.

On 26 Nov 16, two days before the next scheduling conference, Troll Ferren, tried to dismiss Mr. Rodriquez (With Prejudice).   dismisssed_wp_00187hi

On 29 Nov 16, the court informed Troll/Plaintiff that as Mr. Rodriquez filed an answer, he could NOT dismiss the case (AKA: ‘Cut & Run’). The court informed Troll/Plaintiff that he would need to file a ‘Stipulated” dismissal to end this case.

I got a good laugh out of this, as even I (non-lawyer type) know the rules require this. It is likely that the Troll hoped the court would simply dismiss it and move on – I have seen this happen in other jurisdictions.

So I assume Troll Ferren is talking to Mr. Rodriquez and trying to get him to agree to a dismissal. It is still likely to be ‘With Prejudice,’ so Mr. Rodriquez will be free and clear of this Troll.

What would be funny is if Mr. Rodriquez has some fun and told the Troll he will agree to the dismissal IF Plaintiff pays him something. No crazy amount, just something to make a point – say $400 ($400 to file a case & $400 to dismiss it). I doubt it would happen, but unless the Troll closes this case, the court is likely going to require Troll/Plaintiff to move it forward. The only way to move it forward is through additional discovery steps that will cost Troll/Plaintiff more in time and money. The Troll would likely keep stalling and the court would eventually dismiss it for lack of prosecution. As Mr. Rodriquez is a senior citizen on social security, the chance Troll/Plaintiff could collect ANY award against him is SLIM IMO – that is even IF they could win – HIGHLY UNLIKELY IMO. The bottom line is that money motivates Troll/Plaintiff and this one is going to cost them if they don’t shut it down.

So looking at this case, it appears that Troll Ferren got at least two settlements (Does # 5 & 10 – assume $3-6K each) and then soon after dismissed everyone else – except for Mr. Rodriquez. Based on seeing the scheduling conference dates kept getting pushed back, I believe the court may have told Troll Ferren to move it along or risk it being dismissed. Too bad the court did not do this formally. Thus to save face, Troll/Plaintiff decided to amend the complaint to name Mr. Rodriquez and then serve him. Troll/Plaintiff probably assumed they would get one last settlement OR a default judgement and look like a real litigant.

Nice Try Troll – you still look like a turd and the court likely sees you for who you are.

So filing a Pro Se Answer can work. NOTE: Filing an answer is not for everyone and it does involve some risk. Each case and circumstances is different for each Defendant. Please don’t assume the Troll will dismiss you without weighing his options, YOUR financial situation, and the limited facts at their disposal. Also note that some Trolls will not dismiss Defendants (even clearly innocent ones) until they have extracted enough stress, time, and money, to make other Defendants think twice before even considering fighting back. I do recommend get some sort of legal consultation and weighing all your options.

So, to Mr. Rodriquez I say, “kāmau kī`aha.”

– Suggested reading – Troll Poker & Talking To The Trolls

DieTrollDie 🙂  Valentine Michael Smith: “No, that’s the point. I grok people. I am people . . . so now I can say it in people talk. I’ve found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much . . . because it’s the only thing that’ll make it stop hurting.” {Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961}

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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4 Responses to BT Copyright Troll ‘Fathers and Daughters’ LLC Goes After Senior Citizen (1:16-cv-00187, HI) – Then Tries to ‘Cut & Run’

  1. WDS says:

    While not filled with legal jargon, Mr. Rodriquez’s answer sounds like it is from someone who has at least some knowledge of the rules of procedure in the court system. It would be interesting to know what this Senior Citizen’s background is.

  2. R Steinmetz says:

    I wonder if Mr. Rodriquez had some background help from a lawyer, perhaps a family member.

  3. Another Doe says:

    same Troll is asking my ISP for my personal info. I guess I will use Mr. Rodriquez’s answer if I ever get serve.

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