AF Holdings’ Individual suits in Central California
In several of the AF Holdings v. John Doe cases in the Central District of California, early discovery orders have been VACATED and orders to show cause have been entered. Let’s take a quick look.
In 2:12-cv-05712, leave to take early discovery was granted on 7/12/12 by Magistrate Judge Walsh:
About three months later, on 10/19/12, that order was vacated by Judge Otis Wright.
“The Court hereby VACATES any prior order in this case allowing for the issuance of a Rule 45 subpoena…”
Additionally, the Judge had a few rather interesting things to say:
“This Court has a duty to protect the innocent citizens of this district from this sort of legal shakedown…”
“Thus, when viewed with the public interest in mind, the Court is reluctant to allow any fishing-expedition discovery when all a plaintiff has is an IP address—the burden is on the plaintiff to find other ways to more precisely identify the accused infringer without causing collateral damage.”
The action isn’t over, however, as the court is giving AF Holdings a chance to justify why early discovery is warranted:
Thus, the Court hereby ORDERS AF Holdings TO SHOW CAUSE in writing within 14 days why early discovery is warranted in this situation.
However, those fourteen days went by, and there is no brief by AF Holdings on the docket!
This has apparently happened in a number of cases in the Central District of California. For example, in 2:12-cv-07406, another AF Holdings v. Doe case, Judge Wright entered the same order. In that case, just before the 14-day period expired, AF Holdings dismissed the suit with prejudice. Perhaps this provides insight into why AF Holdings hasn’t filed in C.D. Cal. since late September.
UPDATE: As Raul points out, a response to the order to show case was entered in the lead case, 2:12-cv-05709. There are 24 total cases listed in the response. This is the response by Gibbs: