Judge Facciola new ruling could kill Hard Drive Productions, AF Holdings, and West Coast Productions all at once.

Today I received a bunch of what are commonly known as “scare” letters from Prenda Law Inc.  What is interesting is that all the letters I received were for the AF Holdings, LLC v. Does 1-1,140 (Case No. 1:11-cv-01274) case. While at first I thought the timing to an order by Judge Facciola was too much of a coincidence (read on), it turns out that something is going on with this case which has gotten the law firm sending out letters.  In my experience this usually coincides with a dismissal.

When I looked into it, I found what appeared to be my answer in a judge’s order in the West Coast Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-1,434 (Case No. 1:11-cv-00055) case filed in the District of Columbia District Court, where the judge refused to allow Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC to add new accused IP addresses to the case and then get the subscribers’ contact information from their ISPs.  Even better, for the FIRST TIME, this DC judge ruled in line with the other district courts that a defendant who does not live in the District of Columbia cannot be sued in the DC court because the DC court lacks jurisdiction over those defendants.  The exciting piece of this news is that DC has been notorious for allowing cases to proceed against thousands of John Does who lived outside of DC.  Any motions to quash summarily fail.

Even better, the judge who made this order was Judge Facciola, the judge in the controversial Hard Drive Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-1,495 (Case No. 1:11-cv-01741) case.

No doubt this has gotten the Steeles, the Hansmeiers, and the Duffys nervous because their cases are in the District of Columbia.  As far as I am concerned, this order — even though the West Coast Productions, Inc. order has nothing to do with Prenda Law Inc., I suspect it will be a death nail in all three cases — West Coast Productions, AF Holdings, and Hard Drive Productions.

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37 thoughts on “Judge Facciola new ruling could kill Hard Drive Productions, AF Holdings, and West Coast Productions all at once.”

  1. Good news. Either judge Facciola has finally got to his senses (did anyone sent him a copy of Kafka’s “Trial” as I suggested?), was initially against trolls but waited to crush them at a convenient (whatever that means) moment, or Steele messed up with a wrong person (similar situation with Ira that one of my board’s commenter suggests).

    Either way, good news: I’m more concerned with a result rather than a process.

  2. Wow, wish we could turn back time an use this ruling for the Hurt Locker or Call of the Wild cases that are now dismissed.

  3. When it rains, it pours. In the span of one week we’ve seen the EFF get back in the fray, a lawsuit against Hard Drive Productions, Inc. in the Northern District of California, and now it looks like DC may be going the way of CAND.

  4. Cashman,

    What did the ‘scare’ letters from Prenda law say or insinuate to you? When you say ‘scare tactic’ what was the content?

    1. Obviously the actual contents are private, but they were just their usual “pay us now or else” letters that I’ve seen posted on the web 100 times already. Obviously the first thing I would do if I received one of them is to check the http://www.rfcexpress.com website to see if they had local counsel in my state. That way, I could assess the risk of whether their threat is credible or not.

      1. Well.. Gibbs is in California and his threats have proven not to be credible to 99..9% of defendants in that state. He gets sued by the people he actually does go after anyways lol. Not sure if seeing if Prenda having counsel in your state really matters to be honest.

        1. Doe X, I have to respectfully disagree with you because you are focusing on the merits of the case rather than the cost of fighting it. Put quite bluntly, their cases are crap. Judges don’t like them. Their strategies are no longer under the radar. That being said, part of the benefit of dealing with these so many cases is that I see what does NOT show up on the blogs, and that is namely the pain that Gibbs inflicts on defendants who put up a fight. I have always believed that the cases do not have merit (at least not in the manner in which they are filed). However, the COSTS INVOLVED in defending yourself are staggering and everyone knows that — even them. The analysis of whether a plaintiff attorney has counsel in your state is merely a MEASURE OF RISK OF BEING NAMED AS A DEFENDANT. It has absolutely nothing with what the outcome would be if you were sued individually. Again, it is not a question of right or wrong; it is a question of balancing costs of defending yourself versus settling versus any of the other strategies we employ for our defendants to minimize the damages.

      2. Rob,

        I agree that Gibbs is a sick puppy. For some reason he and Prenda actually target people who lawyer up harder. I believe as with everything else they have an angle here and believe the Doe lawyers will eventually tell their clients to settle because of the reasons you posted. In the end it actually helps them get a settlement. Luckily, Ms.wong and Yuen turned the tables. I agree that most people without a war chest or heavily reduced fee schedule t defends themselves should take a 2500-3000 offer from Prenda if they can’t afford the costs of a deposition and the possibility not promise of recouping their fees. My point is that being a California resident and seeing Gibbs in your state is not a reason to settle. Especially now that is known that the settlement amount is actually less then printed on the letter even after being singled out. Proof being Wong case

        1. I agree on a few levels — and pardon my use of you as an example — just because you are sued in your home state does not mean you should automatically settle, and if you do, you CERTAINLY should not settle for their asking price. You are quite right that the reality is that when faced with an increased risk of being “named” (the reason why we check the http://www.rfcexpress.com website), at that point you need to make an unemotional cost analysis of whether it will be cheaper for you 1) to ignore it altogether and wait for the fateful day when you are named as a defendant (which may never come), 2) to settle the case for a reduced amount, or 3) to fight it. Obviously I cannot advise anyone on these forums as a 70 year old who doesn’t know how to use a computer will be in a different situation than a 20 year old college student who admits guilt. There are also other considerations such as being able to pay an attorney, being able to pay a settlement (even in installment payments), or even being able to endure a judgement if found guilty. Some people are even judgement proof and having a court judgement for $30,000, $150,000, or even having a bankruptcy on their record would have little impact on their financial futures. For those that want to fight it, it is a very smart idea to retain an attorney, but a number of defendants have fought on their own and have met with success — funny how you do not read about THESE stories on the blogs. The templates are out there, and now the declaratory judgements are out there with the Wong case. I expect that the Wong case -if done right- (the attorney could give up and drop the case as soon as there is a release of his client) will rip these bittorrent cases apart. In sum, it is a bad idea to generalize what defendants should do because everyones’ considerations are different, and it is my job to weigh their needs and determine which strategy would prove to be the lowest cost to them and which option will cause the least amount of damage to their financial future.

      3. How do I check on frcexpress.com to see if they have local counsel in my state? I can’t figure out how to do that on the website..

        Thanks.

        Jay

    1. If they do not have local counsel in your state, then no lawsuits from their law firm would show up on the rfcexpress.com search for the federal court in your state. This means they are not yet there, which logically means that the risk of being “named” as a defendant [for the time being] is significantly lower than if they had local counsel in your state.

  5. Sophisticatedjanedoe,

    What happened with your case (assuming the attached was yours)??? I see that it was months ago… Did you respond to the demand letter per the deadline? I just received one today from Prenda regarding Af Holdings vs John Does 1-1140

    1. SJD is one of those gems who, after her case was taken care of, continued to write, blog, and help others who were in similar situations understand what is going on in these cases . Her avatar may be a thunderstorm, but in actually, it should be some kind of light as she has spread light to many Doe Defendants who would be in the dark if she did not illuminate the path for them based on her own experiences. 🙂 Lots of flattery, but as you can see, she is still here and her case is over.

      1. That’s indeed too much flattery 🙂

        Actually I’m doing all that not without interest. Building a community and web presence is fun, and I hope to use the skills I acquired over the year to earn some money.

        Also I met (both virtually and in real life, mostly virtually) a lot of very interesting people, original thinkers. I strongly believe that constantly communicating with those who smarter, wiser and talented not only makes life interesting but increases those virtues in myself.

        It is actually easier to exist on this, higher than average, level: wise people are also humble and rarely assholes. Therefore there is no need to act unnaturally, lie and pretend. Also I’m happy to see that mutual respect and desire to find common grounds is highly appreciated. Sure I and Rob disagree on many issues for instance, but that’s never an obstacle.

      2. And BTW the meaning of the lightning stroke….

        From Wikipedia:

        “A Scandinavian folk belief that lightning frightens away troll … the lack of trolls … in modern Scandinavia is explained as a result of the “accuracy and efficiency of the lightning strokes”.

      3. Hah! A little smoochin’ is warranted once in a while. 🙂 My wish is that more people would blog about it. There’s my site, Torrentfreak, a few other attorney sites, SJD’s site, DieTrollDie, but pretty much that’s it. If I’ve missed any good ones, I love reading about these cases as much as I love writing about them.

  6. Houstonlawy3r,

    What are your thoughts regarding this case? The demand letters and scare tactics have begun. In your professional opinion, what do you think the outcome will be?

    Sophisticatedjanedoe,

    Did you respond to your case a long time ago with the demand letter?

    Thanks guys.

    1. I’m firmly of the opinion that the only thing you should respond to is a court order. Threatening letters, nasty phone calls, being called names, getting flipped off, jumping up and down … whatever.

      Being summoned by the court … that’s something real that should actually warrant your attention.

    1. Some judges are overly proud, and they don’t like to have their hand forced. Obviously we know now in which direction he is thinking [especially because the cases are so similar], but I think he wants to make the decisions on his own, in his own words, in his own time.

    1. MINUTE ORDER. The Court having considered the plaintiff’s status report, and to ensure expeditious resolution of this action, it is ORDERED that the limited discovery authorized by this Court’s September 8, 2011 Order shall close on March 2, 2012. It is further ORDERED that the plaintiff shall name and serve the defendants in this action by March 9, 2012. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 2-14-12(lcrbw3). (Entered: 02/14/2012)

      This is certainly good news. Essentially it means that the AF Holdings, LLC case will soon be over. Obviously the judge can grant them more time if he wishes, but Judge Walton in my opinion is more of a follower than a leader. Seeing Judge Facciola take a stand against the trolls, I expect that this one is going bust as well. In short, the plaintiff attorneys will need to decide whether to name and serve defendants, or whether to dismiss the case in its entirety and move against defendants in their home state’s federal courts (because going after out-of-state defendants in this court in my opinion would be unwise).

    1. Timothy Anderson is one of the sleaziest scumbags on the copyright trolling arena.

      Plaintiff acknowledges the Court’s busy docket; Plaintiff is currently engaged in settlement negotiations with a substantial number of putative Doe Defendants. Rather than prematurely initiate litigation against individuals who may ultimately wish to resolve Plaintiff’s claims via settlement—and thus needlessly burden the Court—Plaintiff believes that dismissing the claims against the remaining non-settling Doe Defendants in this action without prejudice in lieu of filing actions against non-settling individuals strikes a favorable balance between preserving Court resources and safeguarding its intellectual property rights.

      Ah, he does not want to initiate litigation “prematurely”! (as if he had any intention to initiate litigation at all)

      Ah, he actually cares about judges’ clogged docket! What an ultimate bullshit!

      1. SJD, funny you mention it. AS WE SPEAK, I am writing up an article SPECIFICALLY about the section you are quoting in your comment. 🙂 I couldn’t agree with you more. In my opinion, this is a clear misuse of the legal system.

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