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UMG v. Lindor Ends, No Fees, No Sanctions

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the attempting-graceful-extrication dept.

The Courts 113

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The 5-year-old case of UMG Recordings v. Lindor (which we've discussed all those years) has come to a close in Brooklyn, without ever reaching the deposition and document production of MediaSentry. The District Judge denied the RIAA's motions for discovery sanctions but granted the RIAA's motion for voluntary dismissal without prejudice and without attorneys fees, adopting the report and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge."

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finally, (1)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000622)

Finally, sanity prevails. I wonder if this is going to the beginning of the end for RIAA suing its own customers, or if they still have more in the pipeline.

Re:finally, (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000820)

No fees is sanity? Shouldn't the RIAA have to pay for bringing what seems to be an essentially frivolous lawsuit?

Re:finally, (1, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000914)

There's always civil court...

Re:finally, (2, Informative)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000930)

This was civil court.

It wasn't "DOJ vs. Lindor".

Re:finally, (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001578)

That's what this was...

Re:finally, (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000954)

Shouldn't the RIAA have to pay for bringing what seems to be an essentially frivolous lawsuit?

Yes.

Re:finally, (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001492)

Even if RIAA has to fork over some money,
the actions of MediaSentry would remain hidden away.

Re:finally, (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001634)

Well, true, but MediaSentry doesn't exist in a vacuum. More money paid to lawsuits means either less money to actually spend on artists (and thus, artists leaving to form indie labels), or less money to spend on MediaSentry. Either one is a good thing in the long run.

More importantly, it would mean the defendant wouldn't have to pay those obscene legal fees, they'd just have to waste a ton of time. So it's not quite a win for the defendant, but it isn't quite what it is now, where a defendant is likely to settle just because their legal fees may well outweigh any possible settlement.

Finally, if it set a precedent, it would break this habit the RIAA has of simply suing everyone and asking questions later. Right now, it's actually profitable for them to do so, because occasionally they do get a settlement. If it cost them that much more each time they failed, they might pay a little more attention to who they sue in the first place.

Re:finally, (2, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002782)

They spend money on artists? I thought the big costs were promotion and producers. Unless, of course, you had meant the marketing artists and the audio producers who keep adding autotune to everything.

Re:finally, (1)

StrongAxe (713301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006806)

More importantly, it would mean the defendant wouldn't have to pay those obscene legal fees

No. It only means that they don't have to pay the RIAA's obscene legal fees. They will still have to pay any legal fees to their own lawyers. And since the case is dismissed without prejudice, the RIAA is free to bring it again, costing even MORE legal fees.

Re:finally, (5, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001632)

It's nice to know that a judge can stick you for doing your job.

What the fuck is "unduly contentious"? Shouldn't a lawyer work harder when up against a more formidable foe than "Joe's Garage and Automobile Recycling?"

"You successfully wore down the representatives of a large monopoly. We can't have that. You and your client must be punished"

--
BMO

Re:finally, (2, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003464)

I agree that the decision is dumb, if for no other reason than it punishes the wrong person.

However, you're spinning "unduly contentious" an awful lot. There's a difference between saying "you're wrong" and "you fucking scrub motherfucker, how can you be so fucking stupid?!@" even if both ultimately say the same thing. In other words, you can do your job to the exact same degree and still have multiple possible ways to have conducted yourself.

What, exactly, did NYCL do that was "unduly contentious?" I don't know. I do know it has nothing to do with "working harder" or "successfully [wearing] down the representatives of a large monopoly" like you suggest. It has something to do with the way he went about his business. Maybe the decision goes into specifics (I really don't care enough to bother reading it) or maybe you'd have to delve through all of the filings yourself to get a clue, but there was one party who was there the whole time and heard it all: The judge.

Stupid decision? Yes. Some sort of anti-individual, pro-monopolistic corporation perversion of the legal system conspiracy? No.

Re:finally, (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003696)

What, exactly, did NYCL do that was "unduly contentious?" I don't know.

Neither do I. Neither did Judge Trager. Neither did Judge Levy.

Stupid decision? Yes.

Let us say an "incorrect" decisions.

Some sort of anti-individual, pro-monopolistic corporation perversion of the legal system conspiracy? No.

Let me put it this way: undue deference have been paid to the corporate plaintiffs on numerous occasions during this litigation.

Re:finally, (3, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003656)

What the fuck is "unduly contentious"?

The judge doesn't say, does he? That's because he doesn't know of any instance in which I was "unduly contentious". Because there wasn't any.

Re:finally, (2, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005708)

The judge doesn't say, does he?

Are the fee awards simply at the judges discretion (as in he could deny them if you wore a purple tie and he didn't like purple), or is there some legal basis that, in the absence of actual contentious behavior, would allow for an appeal on the grounds that the judge committed a procedural error?

Re:finally, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31001352)

No fees is sanity? Shouldn't the RIAA have to pay for bringing what seems to be an essentially frivolous lawsuit?

It doesn't look like the judge thought this was a frivolous lawsuit:

In reviewing the record in this case, it is clear that plaintiffs' motion for sanctions against defendant and defendant's counsel . . . could have been avoided if defendant had disclosed certain information sooner . . .

. . . If defendant had disclosed the relevant information sooner and preserved the necessary evidence, this contentious and drawn-out litigation could have been avoided, or at the very least, taken less time. Still, although the Court feels that Magistrate Judge Levy was overly generous to defendant and defendant's counsel on the issue of sanctions, plantiff's motion for sanctions is, nonetheless, denied.

Just because the defendant prevails in a case doesn't mean that the case was frivolous. To say that it was a frivolous case would mean that the plaintiff had no hope of winning from the outset. The judge doesn't seem to suggest that this is the case here.

Re:finally, (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001688)

Just because the defendant prevails in a case doesn't mean that the case was frivolous.

No, and I don't mean to imply that...

To say that it was a frivolous case would mean that the plaintiff had no hope of winning from the outset.

The RIAA has sued a 12-year-old girl, an 85-year-old grandmother who never touched a computer in her life (not sure about the precise ages, but about that), a dead person, and a network printer.

I suppose it's possible this case had some reasonable grounds, but in general, they've been litigious bastards, and it seems pretty clear that it was never their goal to win in court, but rather, to pressure the defense (financially, with legal fees) into a settlement.

I'm not a lawyer, and I have no idea whether it was actually frivolous, but it seems to me that this is exactly the reason we have the ability to award legal fees -- to prevent litigious bastards from abusing the system.

Er, sorry to have to disagree (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006784)

I hate the **{IA}A's as much or more than the average Slashdotter, but there's one big problem with your post. Judicial decisions like this are valid only on a per-case basis. Most of what you state is true, except for two items:

  1. They didn't sue the network printer IIRC, just sent it a DMCA takedown notice.
  2. Since they have won in court in two different cases already (ignoring all of the default judgments), it's not at all clear that it wasn't their goal in this particular case. I do agree that, in general, their strategy is "Enough people will fold and pay up immediately that it is worth our while". You just haven't presented any evidence that this particular case was frivolous.

Re:finally, (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002514)

No fees is sanity? Shouldn't the RIAA have to pay for bringing what seems to be an essentially frivolous lawsuit?

Indeed. With a "victory" like this, they'll never need to actually win.

Re:finally, (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002818)

No fees is sanity? Shouldn't the RIAA have to pay for bringing what seems to be an essentially frivolous lawsuit?

Worse: dismissed without prejudice.

In other words the RIAA can rinse and repeat... B-b

Re:finally, (1, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000834)

Short answer? More in the pipeline.

Re:finally, (5, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000932)

Let's see here: The RIAA has demonstrated that they can roast you slowly in court for years, costing you many thousands in lawyer's fees, and get a dismissal which costs them nothing and allows them to sue you for the exact same thing all over again! Yep, they're in trouble now...

Re:finally, (4, Interesting)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000998)

Can they counter sue? I mean they did ruin this guys life for the past couple of years...

Re:finally, (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002094)

It was dismissed without prejudice, which means (I think) that they can bring another suit against Lindor. In which case, they would hope to get a more favorable judge. However, I think, the judge is able to see the result of the previous case if (s)he so chooses.

Re:finally, (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001498)

sanity on the riaa side? Marginally. Meanwhile attorney fees and the RIAA avoiding precedent are things which are still to be dealt with. Essentially they want to sweep this under the rug, and it's not going to happen.

Lindor (-1, Offtopic)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000652)

Aren't they the people who make tose yummy chocolate candy balls. Is nothing holy to the RIIA??

Re:Lindor (-1, Troll)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000680)

That's Lindt, dumbass. :P

Re:Lindor (0, Offtopic)

drachenfyre (550754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000710)

Actually Lindor a brand name of Lindt.

Re:Lindor (1, Insightful)

drachenfyre (550754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000742)

grr Lindor *IS* a brand name of Lindt.

Re:Lindor (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31000900)

So that's how they grew the balls to take on the RIAA.

Re:Lindor (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001084)

Alright, I stand corrected then. =D

Re:Lindor (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001140)

Oh, what have we come to when fine confectioner's are sued for copy right violation? Then again, maybe it is part of a well thought out plan to transport unauthorized copies of music encoded into the sugar matrix of the chocolate!

TCP/oDC (over Delicious Candy) ?

Re:Lindor (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001228)

yes but can lindor do the lindy hop?

Re:Lindor (0, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000960)

That's flamebait, sir, and should (and probably will) be modded accordingly. There's no need to call the OP a dumbass.

Re:Lindor (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001600)

I thought you just said you were too close to retirement to risk pissing anyone off?

And then you go ahead and do this...

Re:Lindor (2, Insightful)

Bahamut_Omega (811064) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000714)

Likely you mean Lindt. On the other hand, the Teflon mafiaa "dons" get away scotch free.

Re:Lindor (2, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000790)

Actually, they probably have lots of expensive scotch.

and that ruling probably called for a few rounds.

Re:Lindor (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000814)

Likely you mean Lindt. On the other hand, the Teflon mafiaa "dons" get away scotch free.

Likely you meant scot free [wikipedia.org] ;)

Re:Lindor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31000858)

I wonder what a *WHOOOSH* sounds like underwater or in this case scotch..?

Great. (5, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000696)

So the case is dropped without requiring attorneys fees, adding to the impression that it may be cheaper to pay the recording industry a settlement than have years of legal battle for nothing beyond not having been required to pay the ridiculous punitive damages.

a clear win for the RIAA gameplan, if not the widest possible margin.

Re:Great. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31000748)

Exactly, the difference between $100,000 of attourney's fees or $100,000 fees + $100,000 penalties isn't exactly a big one for your average joe. If it scares more people into capitulating with the RIAA and settling bogus lawsuits out of court, then it's a big win for the record industry.

Re:Great. (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000902)

if its not considered terribly bad form, i wonder if Mr. Beckerman wouldnt mind telling us the ballpark figure this case cost Mrs Lindor. Or failing that, just the total number of billable hours and a general idea of other costs, monitary or opportunity, that she incurred.

If only for a sense of proportion.

Re:Great. (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001030)

if its not considered terribly bad form, i wonder if Mr. Beckerman wouldnt mind telling us the ballpark figure this case cost Mrs Lindor. Or failing that, just the total number of billable hours and a general idea of other costs, monitary or opportunity, that she incurred. If only for a sense of proportion.

Suffice it to say, it was a terrible hardship on Ms. Lindor and her entire family.

that old saying about defense (3, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003850)

the best defense is a good offense.

I am wondering when something like a private, mass numbers of people, class action RICO (or similar, anything possible by non governmental folks)** suit is filed, for price fixing and collusion.

What all these places are charging for "legitimate" download songs, for a few megs of transfer, is *ridiculous*. They are out of the ballbark artificially high..way high. If it was any tangibles products out there with such high across the board and across alleged "competitors" prices, compared to costs of making copies of this or that for sale, the howls would be loud and all sorts of prosecutors would be on it.

  But tens of thousands of percent markup seem to just fly with no worries in the digital products realm. I am wondering why this is? The only answer I can come up with is collusion, with perhaps a tad of governmental interference in there with "laws" if ya get my point I am "lobbying" for here.

I think if there wasn't collusion and price fixing, and perhaps some other more serious crimes, that we would be seeing five cent download songs today. And even at five cents it would be a hefty markup.

**seems to be the government is in no hurry to look at the prices of digital download "products" and why they seem to be so "coincidentally" high across the various music sites and official purchasing places. That's why I am wondering what possible private civil suits could be brought, an offensive strategy rather than defensive, and I am aware that under some circumstances, private RICO suits can be brought.

I've been so annoyed at that I have never purchased one single download song (nor pirated any, I just don't), I just have been boycotting. I'll byy a used CD for 50 cents or a dollar max, or listen to the radio, that's it. I was a loyal music purchaser from LPs and singles starting in the 50s, going to 8 track, then to cassette, then started getting seriously annoyed with the lack of price drops with cheap plastic disks, only bought a few new then quit, and when it hit download and it was near the same price..which I knew was jacked up outtasite...heck with it, started boycotting. It's tremendous price gouging, and across the industry. Smacks of collusion.

Jacked up RAM prices...feds on it. Jacked up LCD screen prices..they are on it. Jacked up digital products pricing, jacked up to the moon levels pricing...freekin *crickets*, like it isn't even happening.

Re:that old saying about defense (2, Interesting)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005908)

uhm, correct me if i'm wrong but i believe the recording industry has been paddled *twice* over price-fixing in regards to compact discs. TWICE. I don't recall prices dropping all that much either time. I think they sent out $1 coupons if you wrote them a letter or some stupid shit like that. Probably not. That's just a guess and assumption that sounds about right, it's most likely not what happened. The price fixing thing should be spot on, though.

Re:Great. (5, Informative)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001322)

Regarding attorney's fees, from the decision:

In addition to the defendant's delayed disclosures, Beckerman, defendant's counsel, adopted an unduly contentious approach throughout this litigation (albeit the same can be said of plaintiff's counsel). For that reason alone, his request for attorney's fees and costs is not only denied but is also inappropriate.

Sounds like the judge was pretty annoyed, and is taking his ball and going home.

Re:Great. (4, Insightful)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001804)

Regarding attorney's fees, from the decision:

In addition to the defendant's delayed disclosures, Beckerman, defendant's counsel, adopted an unduly contentious approach throughout this litigation (albeit the same can be said of plaintiff's counsel). For that reason alone, his request for attorney's fees and costs is not only denied but is also inappropriate.

Why inappropriate? What does Mr. Beckerman's approach have to do with whether or not his attourney's fees -- presumably to be paid by Ms. Lindor -- are to be covered? Surely whether or not the fees are to be paid is a matter of law, and not at the personal discretion of the judge. That the judge is taking out his frustrations with Mr. Beckerman on Ms. Lindor seems wholly inappropriate to me. What the hell is it with the legal system that results in a defendant having to pay when the incorporated plaintiff requests dismissal of the case?

Re:Great. (2, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002164)

And that would be why Europe uses the loser-pays system, with security of costs for out-of-jurisdiction claimants.

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31007272)

In addition to the defendant's delayed disclosures, Beckerman, defendant's counsel, adopted an unduly contentious approach throughout this litigation (albeit the same can be said of plaintiff's counsel). For that reason alone, his request for attorney's fees and costs is not only denied but is also inappropriate.

So the judge said, more or less, "Because of the way you acted, you get nothing. But because your opponents acted the same way, I'm letting them get off the hook like they want."

Ray... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000732)

I wish you'd crosspost your blogs in a slashdot journal; I open slashdot while on break, and they have you firewalled off. I'd love to read them but will have to wait until I get home.

Re:Ray... (3, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000828)

Where do you work that Slashdot is allowed but recordingindustryvspeople isn't?

Re:Ray... (1)

IndigoDarkwolf (752210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000934)

Where do you work that Slashdot is allowed but recordingindustryvspeople isn't?

Probably Apple. Maybe Amazon.

Re:Ray... (4, Interesting)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001038)

Some place that uses Fortinet? http://www.fortinet.net/ [fortinet.net]

Same boat. Epically sucks.

Re:Ray... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001962)

In the hopes that google will notice this and help spread the word:
Fortinet sucks!
Fortiguard sucks!

Especially since they keep classifying google translate as proxy avoidance.

Just about every week I have to send in that google translate has been incorrectly blocked. Works for a few days and then back to proxy avoidance.

Re:Ray... (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001132)

I make it a point to never mention my employer, but we have less internet access than the Chinese. Slashdot probably gets through because it is a .org domain.

Re:Ray... (3, Insightful)

MrCawfee (13910) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002516)

No it is because the guys in the IT department want to read slashdot.

Re:Ray... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003100)

*ding* *ding* *ding* We have a winner!

Those IT guys made the business case that slashdot keeps them informed of events/announcements in the computer and IT world, which is part of the job of IT guys (to keep current on news/events/products).

Re:Ray... (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007162)

Those IT guys control the firewall so probably didn't need to bother with making the business case.

Re:Ray... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001200)

Acquaint yourself with the wonders of 'ssh -D'.

Re:Ray... (1, Offtopic)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001328)

I'm too close to retirement to risk pissing anybody off.

Re:Ray... (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001946)

I'm too old for this shit.

"Without prejudice, without attorney fees... (5, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000766)

Perhaps I'm missing something. Doesn't this mean:

The RIAA can refile if they wish (no prejudice), and

Lindor has to pay for his own attorney, UMG is totally off the hook ("no harm, no foul")

They were right: government of the people, by the people and for the people - but in the court system, big business rulez!

Re:"Without prejudice, without attorney fees... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31000830)

corporations are people too!!!11

Re:"Without prejudice, without attorney fees... (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000946)

But some people are more equal than others.

Re:"Without prejudice, without attorney fees... (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000888)

Exactly. This case shows pretty clearly that if you're a big company with enough money, you can trample all over the rights of the public, break the law flagrantly, and still get off scot-free. This was anything but a win for the rule of law. At best, it was a draw.

So fighting off the RIAA carries no costs (4, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000818)

Other than an attorney bill that you need to sell your kidney for.

Yeah, that's going to teach the RIAA not to scare people. :/

Re:So fighting off the RIAA carries no costs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31001334)

You win, you owe money. You lose, you owe money. And, even if you "don't play the game" (i.e. violate copyright), you can still be sued by the RIAA and taken to court.

Here's one. The RIAA brings suit, but 'you are actually innocent' (never have violated copyright), but you still need a lawyer, which costs money. Case gets thrown out, but you still have to pay the lawyer. Turns out the lawyer works for a firm, quietly owned by RIAA membership. They still win!

Does it smell like RICO in here yet?

Re:So fighting off the RIAA carries no costs (2, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001734)

It's been reeking of RICO for a while now, actually.

RIAA (0, Troll)

gooman (709147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000948)

Quitters.

Surprised that no violence occurs (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31000976)

I'm really surprised that with all this potential wrecking of lives, no otherwise-innocent person has simply arranged for a meeting with the accusing attorneys and shot them to death.

I'm not advocating this, but I'm surprised that no one has snapped in that manner.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001080)

Nothing new I suspect - they're in the record business.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001230)

While that might be a successful tactic if an individual sues you, it does you no good at all if a corporation sues you. Oposing attorneys are cheap, plentiful, and easily replaced; the corporation itself is immortal. Many people also seem to consider murder unethical... go figure.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31003272)

If it happens often enough Lawyers get a little scarce.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31003510)

While that might be a successful tactic if an individual sues you, it does you no good at all if a corporation sues you. Oposing attorneys are cheap, plentiful, and easily replaced; the corporation itself is immortal. Many people also seem to consider murder unethical... go figure.

Opposing attorneys might not be so cheap, plentiful and easily replaced if your company/organization has a history of 100% mortality rate of all lawyers hired for the purpose they're hiring you for; there'd definitely be a few desperate attorneys, but most attorneys are intelligent enough to go after a client with a higher rate of return.

Also, are you implying that while many people consider murder unethical, a corporation wouldn't?

Food for thought.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (4, Interesting)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001232)

The recent history has been to shoot the family of the Judge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Lefkow [wikipedia.org] .

There is starting to be a realization that civil court is basically out of the reach of the lower 70% of the US citizenry. and this is starting to strain the fabric of society.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (0, Redundant)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002416)

I'm sure this is redundant, obvious, etc, but ... what a tragedy.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003874)

I'm sure this is redundant, obvious, etc, but ... what a tragedy.

For all involved.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31003254)

Everyone generalizes from a single data point. At least, I do.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (2, Insightful)

jeffrey.endres (1630883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005152)

When justice is not seen to be available to the common people, you can expect revolts.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001456)

Then they would simply be charged with murder as well as their current charge, and the RIAA et all would simply hire a new attorney. (While the person has to deal with the trial while being held in jail.)

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002528)

When someone is suing you for a life-destroying amount of money, I could imagine someone (who doesn't believe in an afterlife where suicide or murder are punished) deciding that it was financially better for their loved ones and offspring to:

- Divorce oneself from one's family legally
- Murder-Suicide.

What are they going to do, stick your children with the bill?

I mean, on the one hand it's completely ethically bankrupt. On the other, it discourages potential counsel for the life-destroying corporation, protects (?) your family, etc. Is losing one's parent that way more or less traumatic than losing them in war? (Thank god I don't know.)

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (1)

A Pressbutton (252219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003430)

they knew they would be arrested by the grammar police.

Re:Surprised that no violence occurs (1)

rozthepimp (638319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004812)

Word on the street is that Matt The Dentist has his own posse/enforcer crew - no one messes with Da Dentist.

RIAA never had evidence of a "person" (1)

Dr_Art (937436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001046)

The RIAA's boilerplate says "detected an individual", but they never have any evidence identifying a specific person. Same thing happened here. My condolences to Ms. Lindor for the hell she was put through by the RIAA. Too bad she can't get attorneys fees from the b*stards!

Don't have a case? Litigate them to the poorhouse (3, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001070)

It seems that a person who couldn't math the virtually infinite funding of the RIAA would lose even if they win, having to defend endlessly against such suits.

Re:Don't have a case? Litigate them to the poorhou (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001134)

It seems that a person who couldn't math the virtually infinite funding of the RIAA would lose even if they win, having to defend endlessly against such suits.

It's called a Phyrric victory [wikipedia.org]

Re:Don't have a case? Litigate them to the poorhou (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31003046)

FYI, that would be Pyrrhic... even in the page you liked to.

Re:Don't have a case? Litigate them to the poorhou (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31001180)

Yeah, wonder how that slipped past the judge... Oh, look, it didn't. The Magistrate Judge's piece opined that the case is unlikely to be refiled, and if it were the previous work could be reused.

Re:Don't have a case? Litigate them to the poorhou (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002204)

Assuming, of course, that the defendants can easily afford a defense (and the attorneys to do so) against a drawn-out lawsuit that, even with precedent like this, could easily be made to last at least a year, if not more.

That's a hell of a big assumption.

Re:Don't have a case? Litigate them to the poorhou (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003186)

He's probably right; the case is highly unlikely to be refiled.

However it is still a bad precedent to allow somebody to file a lawsuit, string it out for five years and then withdraw it and not have to pay the other party for their expenses. Five years of lawyer fees x1 is better than five years of lawyers fees x2, but only marginally. A group as well-financed as the RIAA could surely bankrupt people without any bother of actually proceeding to trial and they don't need to continuously re-file the lawsuit to accomplish it.

Re:Don't have a case? Litigate them to the poorhou (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001208)

And right after that we'll boycott all the Chevron stations for 3 days.

Weird (2, Interesting)

jwinster (1620555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001482)

Reading the judge's decision, he blames most of the court costs on the fact that the Lindors may have had a houseguest in 2004, and that she sold her computers sometime between 2004 and 2008, which was a loss of evidence for the RIAA. If they had disclosed their houseguest then a lot of this could have been averted, according to the judge. Talk about overcompensation for a small discrepancy, you effectively ruin a family because they didn't disclose a houseguest they had for an unknown amount of time. I am not a lawyer, but that seems like a pretty large case of overkill.

Re:Weird (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002242)

Reading the judge's decision, he blames most of the court costs on the fact that the Lindors may have had a houseguest in 2004, and that she sold her computers sometime between 2004 and 2008, which was a loss of evidence for the RIAA. If they had disclosed their houseguest then a lot of this could have been averted, according to the judge. Talk about overcompensation for a small discrepancy, you effectively ruin a family because they didn't disclose a houseguest they had for an unknown amount of time. I am not a lawyer, but that seems like a pretty large case of overkill.

The judge's decision seems to be based entirely upon his having accepted as gospel the first version of Ms. Yanick Raymond-Wright's testimony, and totally ignored the second version contained in her errata sheet. At her deposition she testified that she spent a considerable amount of time at Ms. Lindor's house during the Summer of 2004. Thereafter, Ms. Raymond-Wright consulted her records and realized that she was in school in the Summer of 2004, so that it was another Summer, not the Summer of 2004. The trier of fact, at the trial, would have been permitted to determine which of the two versions to accept. Judge Trager was not the trier of fact, since this was a jury case. So the judge -- without even observing the demeanor of witnesses -- made a decision which it was beyond his authority to make.

Re:Weird (1)

jwinster (1620555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002440)

Please mod up! Thanks for the informative post.

Re:Weird (2, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31003030)

I don't like this precedent that such a sloppy, unlicensed investigation can still provide enough grounds to drag someone into court, cost them big $, and then the plaintiffs get to drop the whole thing and walk away. The judge writes of 5 criteria he used to determine whether the plaintiffs should pay for this mess.

First is diligence. Clearly, Media Sentry was incompetent. And they didn't have any sort of sanction such as a PI license. The so called expert witness also lacked competence. I'd say the plaintiff was not diligent. The judge seems to think they were.

Second is vexatiousness. In the document the judge says "the question ... is whether the plaintiff acted for purposes of harassing ... the defendant." I would say the answer to that one is "no", but that question does not go far enough. The RIAA is obviously acting for purposes of terrorizing the public. They're not interested in Ms. Lindor personally, they're interested in getting another big headline, in having another broken torture victim to show off to the public, and they don't care whether the victim is really guilty. They're the Copyright Inquisition. That's hugely vexatious. Consider that anyone could have been caught in this dragnet. They didn't go after some pirate publisher who is cranking out bootleg CDs, they targeted an ordinary citizen. The judge totally missed that.

3, 4 and 5 have to do with, call it "pushiness". The judge is being a fence sitter on this one, blaming both sides for refusing to back off. On 5, so what if the plaintiff really tried to dismiss the case within a few weeks? I bet they'd already cost the defendant a lot of time and money by then. Perhaps the defendant was beat down so hugely just from what happened in the first few weeks, was left with so little to lose that she felt obliged to go for broke. The judge seems to have overlooked that. It is by definition the plaintiff that started the whole mess, and if the defendant was made desperate, it is the plaintiff's fault. 4 is really incredible. The RIAA would like to have to option to go after Lindor again?! However, why not let the RIAA have that option, but make them pay the defendant's legal costs anyway? Is that against the rules?

Re:Weird (1)

app13b0y (767720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004230)

Judge Trager was not the trier of fact, since this was a jury case. So the judge -- without even observing the demeanor of witnesses -- made a decision which it was beyond his authority to make.

If that is the case, can you appeal Trager's decision to still try to collect lawyer fees? or is that a final decision

Hrmm (2, Funny)

chazzf (188092) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001928)

Perhaps someone with better knowledge of the case could comment on the substance of the judge's order, which concerns the apparently incorrect testimony given by the defendant. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think you can recover fees when your own client makes material misrepresentations. I'm surprised that the RIAA's own request for sanctions was denied under the circumstances.

To take a quote from Altered Carbon... (2, Interesting)

Xelios (822510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31001982)

"The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here - it is slow and cold, and it is theirs. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin."

-Quellcrist Falconer

Fraud (3, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31002078)

(abridged version)

RIAA: I sue you for $xx,xxx,xxx

Lindor: Ok, here's my attorney. En garde!

(many years and several thousand dollars later)

RIAA: Ok, I was kidding all along. I didn't really mean to sue you, especially since I have no hope of ever winning. Let's call the whole thing off. No hard feelings ?

Judge: Yeah, Beckerman, quit being such an feisty little prick. Oh, and btw you can both go fuck yourselves.

Now I'm not all that well-versed in the letter of the law, but that reeks of fraud. A frivolous lawsuit gone unpunished is what this is. I'd dare accuse the judge of collusion.

RIAA Digital Music Price-Fixing Case Reinstated (2, Informative)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005922)

link [zeropaid.com] :

Judges note, among other things, that record labels didn't dramatically lower their prices for online music as compared to physical CDs despite the fact that they "experienced dramatic cost reductions in producing" it.

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