In Elektra v. Schwartz, an RIAA case against a Queens woman with Multiple Sclerosis who indicates that she had never even heard of file sharing until the RIAA came knocking on her door, the judge held that Ms. Schwartz's summary judgment request for dismissal was premature because the RIAA said it had a letter from AOL "confirm[ing] that defendant owned an internet access account through which copyrighted sound recordings were downloaded and distributed....". (Copy of order)(pdf) When her lawyers got a copy of the actual AOL letter they saw that it had no such statement in it, and asked the judge to reconsider.
In Elektra v. Schwartz, an RIAA case against a Queens woman with Multiple Sclerosis who indicates that she had never even heard of file sharing until the RIAA came knocking on her door, the judge held that Ms. Schwartz's request for summary judgment dismissing the case was premature because the RIAA said it had a letter from AOL "confirm[ing] that defendant owned an internet access account through which copyrighted sound recordings were downloaded and distributed...."(pdf). Do they really have such a letter?
Marie Lindor Renews Motion for Summary Judgment; Home Health Aide Who Never Used A Computer Seeks End to RIAA Litigation
Ms. Lindor's lawyers first wrote to the Court asking for a summary judgment pre-motion conference on February 2, 2006. The Judge indicated that he wanted pretrial discovery to take place first. Since then Ms. Lindor has answered the RIAA's written discovery requests (interroagtories, document requests, and requests for admissions), attended her deposition, made the computer in her apartment available to the RIAA for a 'mirror imaging' exam, and made her son and daughter available -- without need of a subpoena -- to testify at their depositions.
Her lawyers argued:
"With all the discovery they've taken, plaintiffs are no closer to making any kind of case against Ms. Lindor than when they started this action. There is simply no evidence that she did anything that would subject her to any form of liability. Ms. Lindor has never even used, or even turned on, a computer, in her life. Plaintiffs are content to let the case go on indefinitely, to use it as a convenient platform for a never ending fishing expedition against potential third parties, but it would be unfair in the extreme to the defendant to allow this to continue, as it was unfair for plaintiffs to go this far. Plaintiffs should have conducted an appropriate investigation prior to commencing suit, and should conduct whatever further investigation they wish on their own time, but defendant should not have to support plaintiffs' investigation, when it has nothing to do with her. It is an abuse of the federal judicial system to allow a lawsuit against an individual who is clearly not the copyright infringer to be used as a convenient vehicle for investigating to find out who, if anyone, did violate plaintiffs' copyrights.
"No doubt plaintiffs will respond to this letter with a voluminous, albeit frivolous, letter of their own, representing to the Court that they have many good ideas for pursuing further leads against other possible individuals, one of whom who may have infringed some of plaintiffs' copyrights. But they will have nothing pointing to the defendant. There is simply no basis in the law to permit a lawsuit to be maintained against an innocent individual in order to give the plaintiffs a convenient platform for investigating to find some other individual who might be liable."
In Warner v. Stubbs, in Oklahoma, the defendant filed her answer and counterclaim against the RIAA on August 23, 2006 . In it she likened the RIAA's tactics to "extortion".
The very next day, on August 24, 2006 , the RIAA turned around and asked the Judge for permission to withdraw its case :
Ms. Stubbs is represented by Marilyn Barringer-Thomson, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the same lawyer who represents Deborah Foster in Capitol v. Foster, the case in which the judge held that the RIAA may be liable for the defendant's attorneys fees.
I guess the RIAA doesn't want to tangle with Ms. Barringer-Thomson anymore.
In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur