February 16, 2011 | By corynne mcsherry

Don't Mess With Texas Continued: Thousands of Defendants Severed

When we said that Texas was no place to file suit if you want to bypass due process, we weren't kidding. Senior federal judge Royal Furgeson has "severed" thousands of Does in these and several other cases. (see below for sample order). Judge Furgeson is the same judge that ordered the plaintiffs in five cases to explain why the court should not appoint attorneys to represent the Does' interests.

In essence, these rulings mean that the plaintiff in each case must re-file against each Doe defendant individually, rather than attempting to sue hundreds (or thousands) of Does at once, something that may make these cases less lucrative for the lawyers hoping to turn copyright trolling into a business model.

This is the latest court to accept the joinder argument EFF -- along with the ACLU and Public Citizen in some cases -- pioneered in multiple cases across the country (D.C.,West Virginia Illinois, and Texas).

The argument is that the fact that hundreds of defendants happened to allegedly download the same movie with the same software is no basis for lumping them together in the same lawsuit. Citing one of recent decisions by a West Virginia federal court, Judge Furgeson affirmed that "merely committing the same type of violation in the same way does not link defendants together for purposes of joinder." Quite right.

Kudos to Judge Furgeson for refusing to allow the plaintiffs to bypass basic due process rights and helping to ensure the judicial process is fair for everyone involved.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

The Senate has unveiled the PATENT Act—an anti-troll bill. Here's what we like and what we want to see improved: https://eff.org/r.1tdw

May 5 @ 1:10pm

With "automated speech recognition, the NSA has entered the era of bulk listening," reports @the_intercept. https://eff.org/r.1o6b

May 5 @ 12:05pm

Canada poised to pass anti-terror legislation despite widespread outrage: https://eff.org/r.8dsy

May 5 @ 10:52am
JavaScript license information