Digiprotect fined $45 per IP address lookup for suing people outside court’s jurisdiction.

A funny little holding in the Digiprotect USA Corporation v. Does 1-266 case in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (Case No. 1:10-cv-08759-TPG) slipped through the cracks unnoticed.

On 4/13/2011, Hon. Thomas Griesa, the Judge for one of the two main Digiprotect cases awarded Comcast and Time Warner Cable $45 per IP address lookup for defendants sued outside the jurisdiction of the court.

The court further held that “[g]iven the obvious concern of most ISPs and the common nature of issues involved, this decision, as it relates to personal jurisdiction, will apply not only to Comcast and TWC, but to all the ISPs listed in Exhibit B.” (emphasis added).

In other words, the court has in effect said, “DO NOT SUE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT LIVE IN NEW YORK IN OUR NEW YORK COURTS!”

This ‘stick’ approach slapping the wrists of the Digiprotect plaintiffs should serve as a warning to all other plaintiff attorneys who are sending subpoenas to ISPs for defendants located out of their court’s jurisdiction.


UPDATE (2/2/2011): While it is generally not the policy of the blog author to update articles, I have been asked to update this article to keep the information up to date. Since writing this article, the hearing which was the subject of all the controversy has been posted on the PACER website and hopefully soon will be made available for us to view. Also, contrary to what was said about the oral dismissal at the hearing, there have been no orders of dismissal issued. Whether the judge decides to dismiss this case or not is soon to be determined.

Last week and to my surprise, the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC received a settlement request from the Digiprotect attorney regarding this case. This seemed strange to me since the settlement arrived without any prior discussion of evidence or guilt, and it raised a red flag for me that something was wrong with the case.  The last time something like this happened was when John Steele went on a settlement rampage days before he dismissed 99 defendants in his Lightspeed Media Corporation lawsuit.

Anyone about to settle the case may want to hold off, because I have received word that the Digiprotect case (Digiprotect USA Corp. v. John Does 1-266; 1:10-cv-08759-TPG) has been orally dismissed.

As soon as I received the attorney’s solicitation for settlement, I did some investigatory work, searched the PACER records, and called a few attorneys. This morning, I received a call from John Seiver, an attorney for Comcast who intervened in the case because the plaintiff attorney was giving him problems and pressuring him to disclose names faster than he was able to. He petitioned the court and showed up in front of the judges for both Digiprotect cases (1:10-cv-08759-TPG, 1:10-cv-08760-PAC). I have heard that one judge (Judge Thomas P. Griesa) got upset with the plaintiff attorney based on the jurisdiction, joinder, etc. issues with the case, dismissed it, and walked off the bench. The other Digiprotect case with Judge Paul A. Crotty (1:10-cv-08760-PAC) was not dismissed, but the judge was upset about what he heard. I believe Judge Crotty gave the plaintiff attorney a number of days to respond to the issues this attorney brought before the court.

To double check my information, this morning, I called the clerk’s office today, and they told me they did not have any information regarding this event. In short, “if it is not on PACER, it does not yet exist.” However, I did receive confirmation from the judge’s chambers that the case was orally dismissed, however the order has not yet been written and thus it is not yet on PACER.

Thus, I would advise anyone considering a settlement offer with plaintiff attorney on the Digiprotect cases to hold off on signing the agreement, since they might have been severely compromised.

On a personal note, the Digiprotect case was one which was concerning to myself and my clients, because this was one of the cases where the attorneys have smartened up their procedural practice and have sued our clients in the jurisdictions in which they live.

Congratulations to our clients, and to all the other Digiprotect defendants out there!

Warm regards,
Rob Cashman

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