According to the 2004 decisions and orders of Judge Newcomer, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, it is improper for the RIAA to continue to bring single cases against a large number of John Does.
Judge Newcomer's decisions, prohibiting such joinder, are linked below.
The RIAA has a practice of starting off its torrents of litigation
with massive, secret suits against John Doe defendants who do not
know they've even been sued. Invariably these cases name dozens,
scores, or even hundreds of different "John Does" in a single lawsuit.
I recently came across the above decisions from Judge Newcomer in the
Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania, who explained in very clear
terms why the law does not permit the joinder of the multiple John Does.
Judge Newcomer pointed out that none of the normal indicia for
joinder are present:
1. There is nothing in the complaint indicating that the claims result from
the same incident or incidents;
2. The claims against the defendants would all require different
trials, since there would be different evidence, different theories,
different defenses, etc.
3. There will almost separately be different issues of fact;
4. There is no indication that plaintiff's alleged injuries arose
from the same transactions or occurrences.
In BMG v. Does, the case he was deciding, which was against
204 defendants, the judge required the RIAA to file 203 new
Since these decisions are from 2004, and since judicial precedents
are usually followed by lawyers, it is a bit difficult for me to understand
why the RIAA has been proceeding as though Judge Newcomer's
decisions do not exist.