UPDATE 3: More of Mike Meier bittorrent cases consolidated.

*** UPDATE (3/13, 11:45am CST): I might need to backpedal a bit here. I received word from an attorney who had ears in yesterday’s hearing that Judge Forrest is not going to bust these cases as I thought she would. The reason for the consolidations is to treat them as one larger case so that the rulings in each of the cases will be consistent throughout his many cases. I am editing yesterday’s blog posts with cross-outs (example) and underlines (example) so you can see where I am changing the tone of the blog post from overly optimistic to slightly somber. I will obviously post about the judge’s order [UPDATE 3/14: HERE – see comments below for commentary] once it becomes available. ***

*** UPDATE (3/12): As we initially discussed last week, *new cases* have been handed over to Judge Forrest so that she can adjudicate the smaller bittorrent cases together. I have added them to the list below. They are not yet listed as part of the “consolidated” case list (in Case No. 1:11-cv-09705), but if you look at the case dockets for each case, the notations that Judge Forrest is now handling them should tip you off that these cases too are now in trouble are now under her scrutiny. ***

New Cases Now Handled By Judge Forrest:

Combat Zone Corp. v. Does 1-63 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09688)
Digital Sin, Inc. v. Does 1 – 179 (Case No. 1:11-cv-08172)
Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-55 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09550)
Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-36 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00129)
Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-142 (Case No. 1:12-cv-01099)
Next Phase Distribution, Inc. v. Does 1-138 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09706)
Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Does 1-115 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09705)
SBO Pictures, Inc. v. Does 1-92 (Case No. 1:11-cv-07999)
SBO Pictures, Inc. v. Does 1-154 (Case No. 1:12-cv-01169)
Third Degree Films, Inc. v. Does 1-216 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09618)
Third Degree Films, Inc. v. Does 1-217 (Case No. 1:11-cv-07564)
Zero Tolerance Entertainment, Inc. v. Does 1-56 (Case No. 1:11-cv-09703)

This is obviously relatively good news for the roughly 1,200+ John Doe Defendants who can now breathe a bit more easily knowing that their plaintiff attorney’s cases are in trouble because 1) we now know that the judge is VERY aware of the MANY cases pending against the many Doe Defendants, and 2) rulings across the board will now be consistent — you will no longer have one judge letting one bittorrent case move forward, and another judge dismissing his bittorrent case for lack of joinder or improper jurisdiction. You can read about the judge’s order regarding the original consolidated cases in our “New York Judge consolidates and freezes SMALLER BITTORRENT CASES for plaintiff attorney” article. No doubt similar orders will in time be written for these additional cases.

On a related note, Judge Forrest is not the only New York District Judge who has figured out what is going on with these copyright infringement (“copyright troll”) cases.

Judge Colleen McMahon (no doubt these judges talk to each other about their cases) has issued an order in two cases (so far; response due 3/30) demanding that Mike Meier tell the court why his cases should not be dismissed due to the inherent joinder issues in his cases (e.g., how bittorrent users can be sued together under the theory that they committed the “same crime at the same time” theory [when according to the plaintiff’s complaint, the bittorrent users committed the illegal act of downloading and/or seeding the copyrighted materials sometimes weeks if not months apart]).

What I enjoyed most in the order was that Judge McMahon accused Mike Meier of [essentially] CHEATING the court out of the $350 fees for each of the 138 defendants (e.g., theft from the court of $47,950) who, according to the judge’s opinion should have been sued in SEPARATE cases. In addition, she states that the “misjoinder has resulted in an undercounting of the number of cases filed in this court and a concomitant distortion of the size of the court’s docket.” To make matters laughable, in response to a request from Mike Meier regarding one of the cases, she wrote, “[u]ntil I have decided whether joinder of these 139 defendants is proper-which I very much doubt-there will be no discovery. Motion denied. Get to work on responding to any order to show cause.”

Cases involved:

Patrick Collins, Inc., d/b/a Elegant Angel v. John Does 1-139 (Case No. 1:12-cv-01098)
Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-59 (Case No. 1:12-cv-00125)

I don’t know about you, but when a judge accuses you of stealing $47,950 from the court, wouldn’t you worry that your cases won’t win? I expect to see more of these in the coming days and weeks with his other cases. More significantly, I’d be surprised if I saw any more filings from Mike Meier in the Southern District of New York. The last thing a copyright troll wants is a judge as an enemy who aggressively goes after his cases.

28 thoughts on “UPDATE 3: More of Mike Meier bittorrent cases consolidated.”

  1. That is good news! I am surprised this hasn’t happened sooner, maybe it has?

    My guess is Meier will dismiss all the suits.

  2. The hearing between Mike Meier and Judge Forrest for ALL of these cases took place this afternoon at 3pm EST. I’m waiting to hear news now as we speak. (I suspect you are correct, or else this could be the last time a copyright troll files a case in the Southern District of New York.)

  3. Has anyone heard anything new on the cases specifically Case No. 411-cv-0570 (NDFL) where Mike Meier took over Terik Hashmi’s cases?
    Are we likely to see these cases dismissed? With or without prejudice, which way would the likely go?

    1. @un-defended, as I wrote below (or above, however you’re looking at it), the latest step is that Terik Hashmi filed an “I’m sorry” letter with the court re-stating all of the reasons from Mike Meier’s brief why the case should move forward. It was actually quite pitiful in my opinion, and it did not answer the judge’s question in the “order to show cause” order, which may or may not anger the judge further. I’m expecting a response from the court any day now. There is no indication as to whether the judge will dismiss or not, and whether a dismissal would be with prejudice or not. Just sit tight and keep an eye out for a response from the judge.

  4. So what should I do if I just got a subpoena notice regarding one of these cases? The previous post suggested sending the ISP a copy of the order. Now that there has been an update in the case, is there some new document to send? Where would I find it? Thanks.

  5. He currently has 22 suits, targeting ~2654 does in NYSD.

    22 cases x $350 = $7,700

    2654 does x $350 = $928,900

    I would love to see the judge demand $921,200 from this guy.

  6. From Twitter feed on fightcopyrightrolls.com :
    In a K-Beech case TXSD judge grants Doe’s motion to quash, severs all (40) but one defendant http://t.co/XHzB8Dqi

    Decision primarily based on multiple joinder issues. Motion was filed pro-se. Link is to full filing. Thoughts?

    1. @observer, while your post is a VERY WONDERFUL outcome for the Texas K-Beech, Inc. defendants [in that particular case; there are a number of them], it is irrelevant to our topic of Mike Meier and his Southern District of New York bittorrent cases. That being said, thank you for the link — I was very happy to read the order (I even showed it to one of my assistants), and I know a lot of people will be very excited to learn of the severance and dismissal in that case.

    1. Thank you Raul for the link. I saw the order last night, and I was unimpressed because Judge Forrest did exactly what I expected her to do after hearing that she was not immediately dismissing the cases as I optimistically expected her to when I learned that she was gathering them up like a cowboy with a lasso.

      On this note, I want to point out that in that order, she basically indicated that she is respectful of the privacy of the defendants and [for now] will accept anonymous motions to quash. However, those that are actually entertaining filing one — be warned — this is the same thing that happened in DC with the Hard Drive Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-1,495 case, and as soon as another judge took over that case, things went sour for the so-called “anonymous” defendants. There are many other reasons why I would not file a motion to quash, so-called “anonymously” or not, and until I start seeing her actively start quashing one defendant after another, I would remain very cautious. There is a lot that can go very wrong here.

      DISCLAIMER: Obviously not legal advice to be acted upon here, as unless you are my client with a signed fee agreement, I cannot control the outcome of your actions taken without me being your attorney. And since each clients’ needs are different, please do not accept this as blanket advice. Contact your attorney, discuss your options, and make the smartest move for your particular situation. Motions to quash technically would be the correct way to go. Practically, they have not done what they are supposed to do in these bittorrent cases, and defendants who have filed them generally have found themselves significantly worse off for doing so.

  7. The last sentence in the order is “…… any information ultimately disclosed to plaintiffs ……may be used by plaintiffs solely for the purpose of protecting their rights as set forth in the complaints brought in the individual actions.” Does this prevent them from using the info to harass subscribers into settlements?

    1. @SidR, I saw this too and forgot to mention it. YES, this is an AMAZING PART of her ruling. In short, she has probably read our blogs (and those of the others) and is aware that plaintiff attorneys get the subscriber information, only to dismiss all defendants and follow-up with “scare” letters and phone calls to dismissed defendants telling them to “settle or else we’ll name you in a lawsuit in your home state.” Here, the judge is telling Mike Meier, “HANDS OFF this information. If you don’t use it in this case, you lose it.”

    2. If this is the case, then Judge Forrest has just neutered the Copyright Troll’s business model, and is my new bestest friend in the whole wide world.

      My own best case scenario interpretation is that she’s rounded up the confused jumble of cases, given defendants a means of protesting the law suits while protecting their identities, and told plaintiffs that if they’re serious about protecting their work, stop arm-twisting settlements and sue somebody already.

      If this is how it pans out, then I worship the ground she walks on.
      If slimy, squirmy trollawyer wiggles his way out from under it and resumes production at his settlement factory, I would be totally unsurprised.

  8. Also I am pretty sure that Mike just sends Halloween cards (scare letters) to the Does; no harassing phone calls. Judge Alison Nathan of the SDNY cited this as one of her reasons for granting the plaintiff’s motion to issue third partY subpoenas prior to a Rule 26 conference (Digital Sin v. Does 1-176 Case No. 12-cv-00126) in one his many cases filed in the SDNY . https://ecf.nysd.uscourts.gov/doc1/127110311532

  9. Different case, but this is the most active post… My question is if anyone is planning to review the WCP case filed on Louisiana today. All I know is there are several handfuls of docs filed instead of the usual 2.

  10. I hear Mike Meier sent out emails to the defendents for the above mentioned case in Maryland.

    The plaintiff apparently obtained the identities of the alleged downloaders from Verizon through linked IP addresses. i am wondering how that becomes incriminating evidence? The process is not fool proof in the first place…

    Without having them come and check a defendant’s computers, how can they be judged guilty?? Wouldn’t they have to provide actual tangible evidence in court for this to stand?

    1. @Anonymous, in my opinion, Meier has no tangible evidence against you until he “names” you as a defendant and hires a digital forensics expert to subpoena you and your computer, where they would make a copy of your entire disk and search for incriminating evidence. At the same time, they would sit you down for a deposition where they would ask you questions about your innocence or guilt. The problem is that 1) Meier might not be willing to name defendants and take that route of going down the discovery highway, and 2) if he does, you might not want to spend the time having some copyright troll snoop through your computer files. In short, there is a lot that can go wrong here, and thus I suggest you contact an attorney (me or anyone else) to discuss the particulars about your case. -Rob

  11. What sucks about all of this is how it is a clear case of threatening defamation. A lot of people would just settle because they are afraid that if things go wrong then they will have the label of “porn watcher” stuck to them for the rest of their lives…

    Hopefully people will fight this…

  12. The case filed by Sunlust in Colorado today is for hundreds of Does in all states. Can anyone comment on the likelyhood of the judge approving the Venue? What have then done in the past in CO?

    1. @Joe: Venue is merely an issue of correct jurisdiction, wrong court. I believe you are asking about personal jurisdiction. Off the top of my head, I am aware that a lawsuit by Kotzker survived a motion to quash filing (meaning the motion was denied) and a CO district judge said that joinder was OKAY for bittorrent lawsuits in Colorado federal court. I understand that this means that it is okay ONLY DURING THE JOHN DOE PHASE of the trial — not after they start naming defendants (as Kotzker has done). In other words, Colorado federal court is ruling similar to the way the DC courts have been ruling. They are letting the cases move forward and will revisit the issues of personal jurisdiction and joinder IF AND WHEN defendants are named. (Obviously it would be stupid for an attorney to name an out-of-state defendant). Just my two cents, since I believe this is where you were headed in your question. -Rob

  13. Regarding the comment about Judge Forrest telling Mike Meier to use the subscriber information in court or lose it. Would this cause the plaintiffs to be more aggressive in going to trial, which would be a major negative for defendants? Or is that unrealistic given the time and expense involved? Thanks.

  14. I didn’t know how to quash it so 30 days passed since verizon sent me the warning. Recently I received another letter targeting me with my Name.

    The case # seems to match[?] one of the cases above but I dont know how case numbers work since mine has a few more digits.

    It’s Media products Inc DBA Devils Film V DOES 1-142
    Case #: 12-cv-01099-KBF [11-CV-7564]

    The post above has something about Forrest handling Media Products, Inc. v. Does 1-142 (Case No. 1:12-cv-01099)

    Is that the same case as mine? I’m confused b/c mine has more letters and #s after the 01099… Thanks

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