Pietz Law Firm Motion Granted by Judge Huff in Southern District of California Patrick Collins Case

In a very important decision, which may well be the death knell for the “swarm joinder” theory on the Ninth Circuit, at least until the issue is directly decided by the Court of Appeal, Judge Huff of the Southern District of California issued an important Order re Motion to Sever on November 8, 2012.  Judge Huff granted The Pietz Law Firm’s motion to sever, brought on behalf of a putative John Doe client in a Patrick Collins case.  This is a key decision for two reasons:  (1) it recognizes that denying “swarm joinder” is now the majority view on the Ninth Circuit; and (2) it applies two cases urged by The Pietz Law Firm, which stand for the proposition that mass joinder does not meet the Ninth Circuit’s more stringent version of the logical relationship test, which requires a”very definite logical relationship” to support permissive joinder.  The problem with swarm joinder is that although there may be a linkage between Does in a swarm (by nature of their connection to the same initial seeder), the nature of the linkage is necessarily indefinite.  The plaintiff cannot say whether a given Doe actually downloaded from any other Doe, or how many links in the chain there are between a Doe and the initial seeder.

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