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Archive for April, 2012

With a bit of legal humor, as most of you now know, Judge Robert Hinkle of the Florida Northern District Court dismissed each and every one of Terik Hashmi’s cases today.

As we discussed back in February, Judge Hinkle consolidated and froze all of Terik Hashmi’s bittorrent cases because he learned that Terik was practicing law while residing in Florida state without having a Florida state law license.

As a result of the “order to show cause” order that the judge issued [which is generally an indication that the case is imminently about to go bust], Terik Hashmi withdrew from representing his cases, and Mike Meier conveniently took over as the attorney for the plaintiffs hoping Hashmi’s Unauthorized Practice of Law misstep would be forgotten. The judge wasn’t impressed with Meier’s explanation of why the case should not be dismissed, and Terik Hashmi wrote the court an “I’m sorry” letter, reiterating Meier’s legal points as to why the case should move forward notwithstanding Terik’s error. The judge was still not impressed, and thus he ordered that each of Terik Hashmi’s cases be immediately dismissed.

It appears as if the fact that Terik Hashmi was caught practicing law without a license once before was what sealed his fate. The last time he was caught, he signed a cease-and-desist affidavit, where he “swore that he understood that holding himself out as authorized to practice law in Florida would constitute contempt of the Florida Supreme Court and a THIRD-DEGREE FELONY.” [I couldn't help but to find some dry irony in that the attorney for Third Degree Films, Inc. might be guilty of a Third Degree Felony.]

In short, the judge could have slapped Hashmi with sanctions, and he could have made his life quite a bit more miserable than it already probably is (considering the fact that he could face felony charges for these cases).

In sum, the judge dismissed the lawsuits without prejudice, meaning that if the plaintiffs wish to re-file these lawsuits, they can do so, but they’ll have to pay the filing fees to start everything from scratch. “Under these circumstances,” the judge points out, “requiring the plaintiffs to start over and do it right is not too harsh a sanction.”

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I am happy to share that the first round of Virginia’s Malibu Media, LLC cases have gone down in flames.

As of this afternoon, I noticed that all of the Malibu Media, LLC cases in the Eastern District of Virginia received the same designation at the end of their case names, “-CMH-TRJ,” indicating that Magistrate Judge Thomas Rawles Jones, Jr. has taken over and has consolidated ALL of the Malibu Media, LLC cases in the Eastern District of Virginia. This is very similar to what happened in the Northern District of Florida with Terik Hashmi’s cases (also all dismissed as of today), and then in the Southern District of New York with Mike Meier’s cases.

In short, the best way for a judge to take down these smaller cases is to consolidate them, and then have them all stand or fall together. As of this moment, in VA they are:

Virginia Eastern District Court – David / Wayne O’Bryan of O’Bryan Law Firm
Malibu Media, LLC v. Does (Case no. 1:12-cv-00159-CMH-TRJ)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-26 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00160-CMH-TRJ)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-26 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00161-CMH-TRJ)
Malibu Media, LLC v. Does (Case no. 1:12-cv-00162-CMH-TRJ)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-15 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00163-CMH-TRJ)
Malibu Media, LLC v. Does (Case no. 1:12-cv-00164-CMH-TRJ)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-27 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00165-CMH-TRJ)
Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-8 (Case no. 1:12-cv-00166-CMH-TRJ)

Here in short, these cases have fallen. The judge has indicated that all of these cases suffer from improper joinder, and thus ALL Does other than Doe #1 in each case are severed and dismissed from the case. Now there are only eight defendants in Virginia.

Of course, this is terrible news for the eight defendants, and no doubt the plaintiff attorneys will try to scare the b’jeebies out of these defendants, but really, if they are readers of this blog, they should know that the plaintiffs are still probably looking for settlements (although my guess is that they’ll try to punish these eight Doe Defendants, and these eight defendants should make any attempt to settle VERY PUBLIC AND VISIBLE so that the judge sees what they do with them [or, to them]).

On a completely separate note, this is VERY EXCITING news for all of those who have been SEVERED AND DISMISSED from their cases. I have seen some local attorneys jump into the courts naming defendants, but here, Malibu Media’s local attorney Wayne O’Bryan [in my opinion] seems to be a bit on the sluggish side. I would be floored if I started seeing him name anyone. It would simply take too much effort for him, and I’m not sure he’s that hungry to go after everyone as other local counsel would.

So in short, congratulations to the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC clients, and to all those who have been dismissed from the case. The judge’s order can be found below for your viewing enjoyment.

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