Big Win on Severance, Change of Course, in E.D. Michigan Malibu Media Case

Malibu Media Lawsuit Update

In a motion that has been percolating for months, on October 1, 2013, Judge Denise Page Hood of the Eastern District of Michigan issued a very important order recommending discretionary severance in one of the few multiple defendant John Doe cases still pending. The Order, which dusts of the old “extortion scheme” tag for Malibu Media, was issued in Case No. 12-cv-13312-DPH.

The Pietz Law Firm had filed a Motion for Severance, on behalf of John Doe X, and then an Objection, asking the Court to do exactly what it ended up doing, namely, sever the Does as a matter of the Court’s discretion.  We went to a lot of trouble to collect all of the dockets for the various Malibu Media cases pending in E.D. Mi., so that the Court could review this information, and the Court very clearly did so.

This case is important because it was Judge Hood who originally OK’d Magistrate Judge Randon’s order in Patrick Collins, Inc. v. John Does 1-21, E.D. Mi. Case No. 11-cv-15232-DPH-MJR, 2012 WL 4498373, which allowed “swarm joinder,” made the Eastern District of Michigan a hotbed for trolling, and essentially became one of the copyright trolls’ lead cases.  This newest decision largely pulls the rug out from under swarm joinder.  The decision leaves the conceptual theory of swarm joinder intact, but now plaintiffs are going to have a harder time demonstrating why their cases should not be subjected to discretionary severance.

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