Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Motion to Restore Assignment by Lot in Brooklyn Federal Court fully briefed, now awaiting decision, in Elektra v. Torres

The motion made by defendants Victor Torres and Fazlul Chowdhury in Elektra v. Torres, to restore the rule of random assignment of cases to judges by lot, rather than permitting the RIAA to designate all of its cases as "related", has now been fully briefed, as the RIAA filed its opposition papers on Monday and defendants filed their reply papers today.

Until now, the RIAA has been designating all of its cases in Brooklyn Federal Court -- covering Kings, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties -- as "related cases", thus ensuring their assignment to District Judge David G. Trager and Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy.

RIAA Opposition Memorandum*
Defendants' Reply Memorandum*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Keywords: digital copyright online law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs


Anonymous said...

You've got to win this one. One pair of judges is just don't provide the diversity of opinion, legal knowledge, or broad understanding necessary for the building of precedent necessary for defining this new and unexplored area of the law. They simply cannot be allowed to be the gatekeepers for all such suits in such an important and influential district!


Anonymous said...

The only problem is that the Judges might see this as a way to help their workload, I often wonder how many cases are filed in a year in this district?

Of course, I agree that all judges of the district should get to know these cases, and I agree the assignment should be by lot.


Anonymous said...

I would think that Judge Trager and Magistrate Levy would WANT these cases assigned randomly simply to prevent the appearance of impropriety. The judges and magistrates who sit on the court I work for would likely transfer a case the minute a party raised ANY non-frivolous motion for reassignment simply as a matter of policy. Granted we don’t have the caseload that a New York Federal District Court has, but they also have more judges and judicial resources at their disposal as well. The fact that plaintiff’s are opposing this motion, itself speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you. Whether or not it *is* bad, it certainly looks VERY BAD. And "appearances" mean a lot in the administration of the law.


Anonymous said...

To quote Senator Peter Fitzgerald as told to Enron head Ken Lay - I find it rather applicable here to the RIAA plaintiffs:

"I'd say you were a carnival barker, except that wouldn't be fair to carnival barkers. A carnie will at least tell you up front that he's running a shell game."

It is not a matter of whether or not, but in how many ways, the RIAA is breaking the law in the way it pursues these cases - from MediaSentry/Safenet/whatever, to the real reason why they are trying to group a bunch of unrelated cases as related just so the same judge will hear every one. In time it will come to light, and we'll find out the truth about this "shell game."


Anonymous said...

Since I have not heard of the RIAA playing the related game in other districts, this makes me wonder the following:

Could it be that they started this after getting success with these Judges? Does anyone know of any earlier cases in this district that were NOT before this pair?

Of course if there are other prior non-successful cases that were heard before other judges, this would make that act of marking the cases related after success look like judge-shopping to me.