Friday, September 16, 2005

Priority Records v. Chan: RIAA Case Against Mother Dismissed; No Attorneys Fees; Guardian Ad Litem must be appointed for 13 yr old defendant

Michigan court rules:

Case dismissed "with prejudice" against mother;
No attorneys fees;
Guradian ad litem must be appointed for 13 year old defendant.

In an actively contested case in federal court in Michigan, Priority Records LLC et al v. Candy Chan, the RIAA was forced to withdraw its case against a mother. Priority Records v. Candy Chan, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division
Case No. 04-cv-73645-DT Honorable: Lawrence Zatkoff.

The RIAA sued the defendant Candy Chan, who had no experience or knowledge of computers. It was possible that her 13 year old daughter may have had a file sharing account.

The RIAA continued to argue that Ms. Chan was indirectly liable for providing a computer to her teenage daughter. After taking Ms. Chan's deposition, the RIAA moved to add the 13 year old child as a defendant.

Ms. Chan's attorney, John Hermann of Berkley, Michigan, objected, arguing that the daughter was a minor and that the Court would have to appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of the child, before for the child before they could proceed.

In the meantime, Mr. Hermann indicated that he would make a motion for summary
judgment on behalf of Ms. Chan.

The RIAA then immediately moved to withdraw its own case against the mother.

The Judge granted the motion.

A copy of Judge Zatkoff's opinion, order, and judgment is posted at

Judge Zatkoff declined to award Ms. Chan attorneys fees, holding that in his opinion plaintiffs' lawyers had "taken reasonable steps to try to prosecute this case and litigate against the proper defendants" and that "[t]o the extent Candy Chan has incurred legal fees in this action, such fees are primarily the result of tactics designed to imped the ability of Plaintiffs to prosecute this action in an efficient manner" and because "Candy Chan has not agreed to fairly simple mechanisms which would accomplish the same objectives that the filing of motions has accomplished."

The Court dismissed the case "with prejudice" (which means that it could never again be reinstituted against the defendant).

Subsequently, the RIAA plaintiffs made another motion. They asked the Judge to amend the judgment to allow them to continue the lawsuit against the 13 year old daughter through a guardian ad litem.

The Court denied the motion.

Judge Zatkoff held that a guardian ad litem would have to be appointed for the 13 year old daughter, regardless of whether the old action was allowed to proceed, or a new action was commenced, and that the only additional work was his having to spend the time to review and decide plaintiff's motion.

Ms. Chan was represented by:

John Hermann
Attorney at Law
2684 West Eleven Mile Road
Berkley, MI 48072
248-591-2304 fax

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The two PDF files linked here look identical and appear to contain the second order, although they're significantly different sizes. The first PDF file is also damaged, although XPDF does manage to display it.