In LaFace v. Does 1-38, the Raleigh, North Carolina, case targeting 38 North Carolina State University students, District Judge W. Earl Britt basically followed the recent decision by a Magistrate Judge in Arista v. Does 1-27, the case against University of Maine students.
In the Maine case the students had moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. They did not attack the subpoena or ex parte discovery order, and did not move to dismiss for misjoinder. The Magistrate upheld the RIAA's boilerplate complaint, but raised the issue of improper joinder, and even recommended to the District Judge that the Court consider imposing Rule 11 sanctions against the plaintiffs and/or their attorneys for making false statement to justify joinder.
In the North Carolina case, the NC State students attacked everything, the subpoena, the underlying ex parte order, and the complaint, and moved to dismiss for misjoinder. Judge Britt, following the reasoning of the Maine Magistrate Judge, (a) upheld the complaint, but (b) dismissed as to all but one of the John Does, for misjoinder, and ruled that the RIAA had to re-file separate cases for each of them.
February 27, 2008, Decision Dismissing for Misjoinder* (2008 WL 544992)
* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation
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