Category Archives: Judge Kollar-Kotelly (DC)

West Coast Productions, Inc. Case is DEAD.

With the flick of a wrist and the power a pen, the West Coast Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-5,829 case is dead.

I don’t know whether I should be saying congratulations to the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC clients who are now dismissed from the case, whether I should be writing an obituary on what was one of the longest-lasting monster bittorrent cases, or whether I should be skeptical and cautious at such a simple and eloquent end to such a violent case.

This case had everything wrong with it. Improper joinder, improper jurisdiction, even the content it accused internet users of downloading was distasteful. “I don’t like ugly biker chicks, I’d never download their films,” a Doe Defendant once told me.

On top of everything wrong with it, this case had baggage, namely West Virginia’s West Coast Productions, Inc. lawsuits with Kenneth Ford at the helm, all of which went bust last year.

But it wasn’t jurisdiction or joinder which caused to downfall of this case; it was failing to name and serve defendants within the 120 day limits as dictated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4(m). Judge Kollar-Kotelly, realizing that the plaintiff attorneys were using the courts to extract settlement agreements, decided to implement and enforce this rule forcing the case to shut down.

The last stab to the case was a September 1st, 2011 deadline where the plaintiff attorneys were ordered to name and serve defendants, and to report to the court by the end of today who they have named and served.

I was sure that they would at least name the John Doe Defendants who lived in the District of Columbia, and they would in turn ask the court for more time. But instead, they named NOBODY. They merely packed up their bags, closed up shop, and dismissed the case.

What does this mean? Could it mean that the plaintiff attorneys do not have the resources, the time, the patience, or the energy to take clients to trial? Or, did West Coast Productions, Inc. say “enough is enough; we’ve made enough money in settlements — let’s close up shop.” It cannot be that easy.

Here is my take. Before they sue each and every one of the defendants in smaller groups in the correct courts — a tactic that Steele Hansmeier, PLLC and other plaintiff attorneys have caught onto — they had to kill the big bad monster of a case. After all, it would be bad to sue the same defendant in two cases at the same time for the same alleged act of infringement.

So for now, those of you who were defendants in this case, you are no longer defendants, and I congratulate you on your victory. I would whip out the champagne bottles and celebrate, but be very aware that there is one more West Coast Productions, Inc. v. Does case lurking in this same DC court. West Coast Productions, Inc. (1:11-cv-00055), our case’s little brother is still alive and well. While Judge Kollar-Kotelly has taken the sword to slay the extortion machine that was our West Coast Productions, Inc. case, so far, Magistrate Judge John Facciola has been merely pushing paper on the other West Coast Productions, Inc. case.  Really, nothing of substance has been going on there.

What about the letters and the phone calls you all have been receiving?  Should you ignore them?  Probably not.  For the most part, the plaintiff attorneys at Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC have your contact information, and they plan to use it.  Expect multiple “scare” letters saying, “we plan to sue you unless you pay us $3,500 (or more) by XYZ date.”  Then expect to get additional letters for higher amounts.  As far as whether this is a bluff or not, it is best to be prudent and to watch where they are suing in order to determine where they have hired local counsel.  For example, if you are watching the copyright cases on RFC Express (http://www.rfcexpress.com), and you see that one of Dunlap Grubb & Weaver’s cases — whether West Coast Productions, Maverick Entertainment Group, Call of the Wild, etc. etc. — has been filed in your home court, that should be a red flag that you might be sued yourself.  Lawyering up (e.g., hiring an attorney) at this point if you have not already done so, or even proactively settling might be a wise option.  However, if you see no lawsuits of theirs in your state, my opinion is that there is no need to feed their war chest with your settlement dollars.

I have attached the dismissal letter below for your viewing pleasure. Simple. Voilà!

[scribd id=64331514 key=key-215wj3misks3ksdu8ytl mode=list]

West Coast Productions. Rule 4(m) order. To name or dismiss? Plaintiffs choose to dismiss!

On July 12th, 2011, we were all in dismay as to how Judge Kollar-Kotelly allowed the West Coast Productions v. Does 1-5,829 (1:11-cv-00057-CKK) case (in the US District Court for the District of Columbia) to stay alive, especially after imposing a hard deadline enforcing FRCP Rule 4(m) on the plaintiff attorneys which came and went with no comment, no order, essentially leaving us all wondering whether an order of hers actually was something to be taken seriously or not.

Well, today I would like to congratulate many of our clients at the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC on their dismissal from the case. Up front, this is not a complete dismissal, as a number of our clients are still putative defendants in this case.

That being said, as we know, Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s latest order still stands. BY AUGUST 15TH, 2011, PLAINTIFFS MUST NAME AND SERVE (or dismiss) ALL OTHER DEFENDANTS OR ELSE THE CASE WILL BE DISMISSED.

There was no indication as to why they did this today rather than in the next few weeks. My only guess (which is a weak one at best) is that when either the judge or the plaintiffs finally dismiss the case in its entirety, it might look better for the plaintiffs — in terms of preventing FRCP Rule 11 sanctions (should the court or any attorneys bring this up) for filing a frivolous lawsuit and not even naming one defendant after all these months — that the final dismissal be of just a handful of defendants rather than thousands of pages of IP addresses. That would certainly look bad.

I have attached a copy of the dismissal letter below for your viewing pleasure. To those of you who have been dismissed who are not our clients, please allow me to congratulate you on your victory.

[scribd id=61236423 key=key-me0n3e0ainudqov7h5h mode=list]

West Coast Productions. No dismissal.

I cannot believe I am saying this, but the West Coast Productions v. Does 1-5,829 (1:11-cv-00057-CKK) case filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia is still ALIVE.

In short, Judge Kollar-Kotelly has made no secret of the fact that she is beginning to tire of this case. In her most recent order yesterday, she wrote, “the Court shall not permit this case to languish on its docket indefinitely.” (p.3).

In addition, she has made no secret that she has every intention to enforce FRCP Rule 4(m) in order to dismiss this case if the plaintiffs do not name or dismiss defendants within her new deadlines. Following her scant 3-page ruling are eighteen (18) pages of IP addresses in large print belonging to John Doe Defendants who are now dismissed. Surprisingly, none of them belong to our clients.

What we can pull from this order are a whole new set of deadlines that the plaintiff attorneys must adhere to (or maybe we might see yet another extension in a few months).

In short, here is what “must” happen according to her current order:

By July 15th, plaintiffs must file a report with the court indicating who has been dismissed, who they are waiting to hear from, etc. This is nothing so exciting; no doubt the plaintiff attorneys will comply.

By July 29th, plaintiffs must name and serve defendants — and they must file proof with the court that they have complied by August 3rd. My guess is that nobody will be named and served, but a few defendants will be dismissed, and we will see yet another extension request early August.

NEW DEADLINE: BY AUGUST 15TH, 2011, PLAINTIFFS MUST NAME AND SERVE ALL OTHER DEFENDANTS OR ELSE THE CASE WILL BE DISMISSED [AGAIN].

In short, I am disappointed by this wimpy excuse for a ruling. If the judge had some spine she would have stuck to her hard deadline of “name or dismiss by June 30th, or else.” Giving in again and again as far as I am concerned is like telling a child “no, you cannot have that lolly pop,” and then giving it to them. What makes the plaintiff attorneys at Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC think that if they do not adhere to this deadline that the judge will not extend it yet again?

Maybe this is her plan. Pretend to be against the plaintiff attorneys, but continue to give them as much leeway as they need to collect the thousands-of-dollar extortion payments from each of the thousands of Doe Defendants while she screams about deadlines and court dockets, threatening that she is going to dismiss the case under FRCP Rule 4(m).

Okay, so now what. John Doe defendants who have spoken to me, your case is still alive. This means that the plaintiff attorneys will be contacting you, they will continue to be demanding settlement amounts from you, etc. etc. Their game is now well known.

Obviously it is a basic ethical rule that as soon as I give them notice that I am your attorney, all their calls and “solicitations” must stop. In addition, any correspondences must go through me. This allows me to act as a barrier between you and the plaintiff attorney so that you won’t say anything incriminating, and it allows me to interact with your opponents on your behalf. There are obviously other things I do as your attorney, but bottom line, your judge has given them carte blanche to do whatever they want until this new deadline.

In short, no dismissal.

[scribd id=59901348 key=key-235y5i3x4vt1f5s41dfz mode=list]

All of us are *still* waiting for a decision on the West Coast Productions v. Does 1-5829 case.

[7/10 Update: As of this morning, there is *still* no new activity in this case.  I will continue to monitor the docket, and as soon as I see anything, I will be sure to post about it.]

A lot of people have been asking about the West Coast Productions v. Does 1-5829 case (1:11-cv-00057-CKK) in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. As per our most recent article on the case, the deadline for Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s 5/11 Order (Doc. #72 in the case docket) requiring all remaining defendants be named and served or dismissed by June 30th has passed and there has yet to be a decision.

I will post an article on this site as soon as a decision has been rendered. For those of you that will be dismissed, allow me to congratulate you now.  For those of you that may remain defendants (if a dismissal does not occur or should the case continue on), should you realize that you still need an attorney, you may schedule an appointment for me to answer questions about your case at http://www.cashmanlawfirm.com.