Last September, Texas lawyer Evan Stone filed suit against 670 file sharers that he (and Mick Haig Productions, whom he was representing) accused of sharing a German adult film called Der Gute Onkel. He asked the court for permission to take out early discovery.
Judge David Godbey refused to grant permission, and brought in the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Citizen to represent the interests of the 670 Does in the case, none of whom had been identified personally yet and were nothing more than IP addresses to the case.
Public Citizen and EFF discovered that Verizon had already handed over information to Stone, and asked Judge Godbey to investigate.
Evan Stone was found to have issued subpoenas seeking the personal information of Does in the case at least four times. He then went on to contact an unknown number of the potential Does. The court presumes the reason for contact was to reach a settlement for the alleged infringement.
Furthermore, Stone was also found to have done something similar in a separate lawsuit involving anime. In that case, Stone sent a subpoena after a Judge had withdrew permission to do so. He then went on to voluntarily dismiss the underlying case on the same day.
Brief overview of Court's findings
"To summarize the staggering chutzpah involved in this case: Stone asked the Court to authorize sending subpoenas to the ISPs. The Court said 'not yet.' Stone sent the subpoenas anyway. The Court appointed [EFF and Public Citizen] to argue whether Stone could send the subpoenas. Stone argued that the Court should allow him to – even though he had already done so – and eventually dismissed the case ostensibly because the Court was taking too long to make a decision. All the while, Stone was receiving identifying information and communicating with some Does, likely about settlement. The Court rarely has encountered a more textbook example of conduct deserving of sanctions."
Stone was fined $10,000, must pay the attorneys fees for Public Citizen and EFF and must inform the court of any settlements he reached in the case. He also must provide a copy of Judge Godley's orders to any judge presiding over any case (state or federal) that he is involved in.
Read the Court's Opinion: https://www.eff.org/...
Written by: James Delahunty @ 12 Sep 2011 19:08