I am getting phone calls about “scare” letters that plaintiff attorneys Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC have been sending out using the name “Media Law Group” on their letterhead. Again, this is Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC (particularly in this case, Ellis Bennett).
There is no overly exciting news here — the case for which these letters are now being sent out is “Third World Media, LLC v. Does 1-4,536” (Case No. 1:11-cv-00059) filed on 1/10/2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The number of the Doe Defendants has changed, as the case name used to be ”Third World Media, LLC v. Does 1-4,171.” Quite frankly, this is just another “me too” production company trying to make a few bucks shaking down people who allegedly downloaded their adult films.
What is noteworthy in this case is how it was literally ignored by Judge Richard Roberts for almost 10 months before it was thrown over his shoulder on 11/15/2011 to Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson for her to deal with it. During this time, Judge Roberts never replied to any of the motions, and he completely ignored the plaintiff attorney’s request to serve subpoenas on the ISPs in order to gain access to the John Doe Defendant’s contact information.
However, as soon as Judge Robinson took over the case, no doubt champagne bottles were brought out and the bubbly started flowing. ”Cheers!” probably came from the halls of Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC’s office. Why? They found themselves a patsy judge.
Immediately after receiving the case, Judge Robinson not only rubber-stamped the order essentially handing 4,000 subscribers into the hands of Dunlap Grubb & Weaver, PLLC (one of the original copyright trolls from the mega cases of 2010 and 2011), but she gave them more leeway than I have ever seen a judge give a copyright troll. I have seen orders giving plaintiffs 120 days (in accordance with Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which gives a plaintiffs 120 days to name and serve or dismiss [John Doe] defendants), however, in her order, she gave them 270 DAYS!
Quite frankly, I’m not one to call a judge corrupt, or to claim that a judge is in the pocket of one party or another, but giving a copyright troll 270 days (where the rules allow for a MAXIMUM of 120 days) seems fishy to me.
But then, it doesn’t stop there. Immediately after her 11/29/2011 order giving the plaintiff attorneys carte blanche for the next 9 MONTHS (FYI, that’s until the end of August, 2012), on 12/6/2011 the plaintiff attorneys amended their complaint adding new defendants (consequently adding 110 pages of IP addresses to the docket).
The funny thing, however, is that none of us have heard a PEEP from defendants, which indicates to me that the ISPs they targeted have given them a hard time and have not released the contact information of the accused Doe Defendants… until now.
As of this week, a number of defendants have started calling our office about this case. Apparently the ISPs have begun complying with the subpoenas. Let the games begin!