Northern District of Illinois Judge Steeles The Life From A Second Torrent Case

[4/13/2011 UPDATE: I have not had time to update this article, but the same day as the Millennium TGA, Inc. v. Does 1-800 case was dismissed, that same judge ALSO dismissed the Lightspeed Media Corp. v. Does 1-1000 case for the same reasons. That would make 3.]

Congratulations to our clients who were recently severed and dismissed in the Millennium TGA, Inc. v. Does 1-800 case (US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; Case# 1:10-cv-05603). Many of you have been defendants in this case since it began last September.

More importantly, even more of you have spoken to me about your case in the last few weeks since prior to Judge Manning’s dismissal of the case, the plaintiff attorneys appear to have stepped up their attempts to secure and acquire the contact information for the various John Doe defendants through their attempts to subpoena the ISPs for the various Doe subscribers.

In short, the Judge’s reason for dismissing the was because Millennium TGA has failed to show that the copyright infringement claims “arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences.” In other words, the lists of allegedly infringing IP addresses spread weeks if not months apart were not considered by the judge to be “the same transaction or occurrence” in the commission of the crime.

The judge further went on to comment that “merely committing the same type of violation in the same way does not link defendants together for purposes of joinder,” and ruled that Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule 20(a)(2)(A) was not satisfied.

The interesting thing about this case is that contrary to other cases, the judge explicitly stated that she is dismissing the case because “potential defendants [are] located all over the country with no discernible ties to this district” (emphasis added). This is the ‘third rail’ “no jurisdiction” (Dear Court, I was sued in Illinois, I live in New Jersey) argument judges have been afraid to concede in previous dismissals.

In addition, contrary to the DC judge in the Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver cases who denied the validity of geolocation tools to ascertain the likely location of potential John Doe Defendants, this judge acknowledged the validity of these tools and used them to conclude that “many (if not all) of the defendants” do not reside in the state of Illinois.

These are two very welcome acknowledgements by the judge neatly wrapped up in an Northern Illinois case dismissal.

Last, but not least, I wanted to point out that this is the second case that has been outright dismissed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and as we discussed previously, I have no doubt that this will continue to have a ripple effect across the remaining cases in that district.

15 thoughts on “Northern District of Illinois Judge Steeles The Life From A Second Torrent Case”

  1. I did receive a letter from Comcast regarding this case and the deadline to file a motion was April 11. i am in the process of getting a lawyer. Does this ruling mean i do not have to follow up on this case anymore?

  2. In the ruling the Judge tells Mr. Steele to notifiy the ISP about the ruling within I think 7 days (ruling occured march 31?). However given with how overloaded John Steele must be with paperwork and for other reasons I doubt he’ll contact all of the ISP’s. I plan to send a copy of the court docket from the Judge’s ruling to my ISP just to make sure they don’t send out my information on the 11th to Steele. Who knows what they’ll do once they receive my information so better keep it from them.

    I’ve been working on a Pro Se notice of order and order to mail in this week but it seems the Judge is obviously annoyed with all the John Doe orders and dismissed all but the first as moot and has dismissed all the ones that followed after so I will refrain from doing that.

  3. Ars technica stated that this judge severed two cases, but didn’t explicitly state what they were, in addition to this case this judge was also assigned lightspeed media 1-1000, which when I looked up was also severed except for one defendand, may want to also make note of that. Unfortunatlety these are the only cases for that judge, so we will have to wait till other judges make desisions for the other cases.

    So far lightspeed 1-100, along with the amended 1000 was trown out, CP productions, and this Millenium TGA one, so that makes 3 cases trown out instead of 2.

    • Wow I feel bad for Mr. Rodgers..

      He also made the mistake of naming himself as Plaintiff AND defendent. He put his real address on the order to quash as well. The guy lives in NV clearly out of Jurisdiction of Illinois.

      While this might seem a bit hilarious I can’t help but feel bad for him knowing what might be ahead. I think 3 lessons to be learned here:

      1) be wary of legal internet kits
      2) proofread your letters or have someone else do it
      3) If named as John Doe do not reveal your personal information

  4. I get the feeling this may be steeles test case if he means to make an example out of someone, if steele doesn’t do anything to this guy by the 11th then it will be pretty clear he has no intention of taking cases to court.

  5. So can someone tell me exactly what to do, i’ve also received this subpoena and i am not too familiar with the law field.

  6. Things are really getting interesting… I suggest people read through items #26 and #27 (downloadable for free) here!

    It looks like the EFF filed an amendment to the original filing in support of the OpenMind case, asking to prohibit any settlements until the April 11 hearing. There is also an immediate response from Mr. Steele there.

  7. Regarding the Digital Lightspeed Media Case, I’m more than thrilled that someone has their head screwed on properly in Illinois, because it’s obviously not John Steele. He has zero interest in actually proving anyone guilty, simply in the money he stands to rake in from what’s equivalent to extortion. Tracing an IP, to me, means no more than saying my car was at the scene of a crime. Suspicious? Perhaps, but if I wasn’t driving, and I have an alibi that clearly shows I wasn’t there, then you’re skating on thin ice.

    Quite frankly, if that’s all that’s required for a conviction, then I grieve for my country and its broken legal system.


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