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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Congratulations to the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC clients who have been dismissed from the Hard Drive Productions, Inc. case.

Congratulations to the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC clients who have been dismissed from the Hard Drive Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-1,000 (Case No. 1:10-cv-05606) case filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

There is really nothing exciting to say about this. There were no juicy facts or news which prompted the dismissals, and the dismissals were done voluntary (meaning Steele filed the dismissal himself) and without prejudice (meaning that he can still sue these defendants in their home courts). This is not anything surprising, because Steele’s Hard Drive Productions, Inc. client has been suing people in smaller numbers in their home states for some time now.

Because Steele has already course-corrected and has started suing defendants in their home courts, it appears to me that there was no reason for him to keep this monster of a case alive, especially because it implicated out-of-state John Doe defendants (whereas the court has already dismissed Steele’s cases for implicating out-of-state defendants), and the case was fraught with joinder problems up the wazoo.

So congratulations on your dismissal. Enjoy it for the time being, and remember, he still has three years from the alleged date of infringement to bring suit against defendants in their home courts.

PS – The only interesting fact is that there is one Doe left. Who this Doe is, or what their intentions are in keeping this Doe as a putative defendant, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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