Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Defendant files answer in Interscope Records v. Paul, Massachusetts case in which service was made on January 20, 2009

You may recall that we recently reported on a Massachusetts case, Interscope Records v. Paul, in which service was made on January 20, 2009, more than a month after the RIAA's announcement that it had ceased bringing new lawsuits.

The defendant, appearing pro se, filed an answer yesterday.


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Anonymous said...

That's pretty impressive for a pro se answer. I bet the RIAA is even more upset about case documents being posted online.

It will be interesting to see if the RIAA follows the recent trend of dropping a case where the defendant cannot be bullied.

Alter_Fritz said...

lets hope the judge is impressed positively(!) too.

I remember reading one piece from a judge where (s)he was not impressed that a defendant simply copied and pasted her answer cookie cutter like just as the plaintiffs have done in those ~30000 cases so far.
it seems Amanda = Ms. Paul or the clerk she filed the answer with just copied from someone elses pdf and forgot to change the male form of defendant "he" into "she".

Beside that little point; Yes, a powerful answer with the invoking of counterclaims, every pro se defendant should file at least something like that, which is in any case better then doing nothing and playing deaf waiting for a default.

Jadeic said...


Occasional readers of this blog must wonder why four posts ago 'No new cases since December 16th' we both concurred that there indeed appeared to be no new cases served and yet here we are commenting on one such case served on January 20th.

The problem lies in the utter mess that PACER has become in respect of the RIAA backed lawsuits. I have already commented in the December 16th post on the difficulties of tracking cases that are filed under so many record label names where even tracking the major ones is by no means infallible and is always expensive even at the comparatively low PACER charge level. The anomaly in this case is because the service of the new case Interscope Records v Paul is buried within 03-cv-11661. Readers may recall that this is the huge consolidation of dozens of cases mentioned in the blog post 'RIAA withdraws motion to enforce judgment, needs to sort out 'factual inacurracies' in its motion papers' of which said motion is currently the latest docket at #752!

In my view the consolidation of so many unrelated cases is counterproductive to the smooth / reliable running of the court filing procedures but alas is a direct result of the RIAA's erroneous joinder of these cases at the Doe stage. Unfortunately I have yet to discover a means of using the PACER search parameters to search within these huge consolidated files or, for that matter, even identify them.

To clarify, a search of All Courts for the period December 1st 2008 to (or thru for US readers) January 10th 2009 for the plaintiff Interscope produces a list of 24 cases. Of these, seven Doe cases are already closed. Of the remaining 15 are against named defendants and two are Doe cases. I'm sorry that time and finances do not allow me yet to investigate these cases to determine whether any are new cases. However, two of these cases date from January 2009 and I thought these were perhaps worth closer scrutiny. The first (07-cv-00414 Virgin Records America Inc. et al v, Nichole Young [Interscope are part of the et al in case you are wondering]) is an interesting reopening of a 2007 filing in which a default judgement was entered in May 2008. The defendant has since moved to vacate the judgement claiming she was not properly served. The case was reopened, the plaintiff did not file an opposition and the court granted the defendant's motion to vacate. Interesting. The second case is similarly intriguing and as yet unresolved. Case 08-cv-02675 UMG Recording, Inc. et al v. Ceesay (so not a new case) is notable because of the early involvement of The Oppenheim. This is another case in which the plaintiff secured a default what appears to be a routine default judgement in December 2008 but in which the defendant has subsequently filed a motion to vacate. Now it gets interesting...

Oppenheim is still at the helm so to speak and his response (docket #14) to the defendants motion to vacate - again on grounds of improper service - may reveal something of the RIAA's current strategy in such cases. After several paragraphs of history of the case in which it seems clear that there is some doubt, albeit inconclusive from the material presented, about the way in which notice was served he states '11 Because Defendant has now filed an Answer in this case, Plaintiffs do not oppose Defendant's Motion to Vacate Order of Default, Similarly, based on Defendant's filing of an Answer, Plaintiffs will not oppose any request to vacate default judgement entered against Defendant on December 17, 2008.' Despite this, he then continues in paragraph 12 to maintain that 'service was, and is, proper on the Defendant'. He also adds that in a telephone conversation with the Defendant on the matter of a motion to vacate the judgement, 'Plaintiffs reminded the Defendant that he needed to file an Answer with the Court'. The judge has ordered the case reopened.

It seems to me, but IA(decidedly)NAL, that the RIAA were looking for a way to back out of a secured default judgement. Does that strike you as odd? it strikes me as odd. Am I missing something? Could it be that something serious has gone amiss with the litigation machine post default judgement and that there is a hidden failing to serve notice of the judgements correctly. If so, then they are certainly not collecting on their ill-gotten gains and perhaps stand to have many more judgements vacated: indeed perhaps they already have.

However, to return to my original point, how will we ever know because this information is buried in PACER and almost irretrievable.


raybeckerman said...

Dave, suffice it to say, your methodology of searching for the cases in PACER is flawed.

Jadeic said...

An interesting but less than helpful observation.

raybeckerman said...

Well there were more cases in December than 24. I don't know why you would search for Interscope. As you know from the index of litigation documents there are 20 or more frequent plaintiffs.

I don't want to be too explicit about how to do the search because I don't want Mr. Oppenheim and his flunkies to know anything about my methodology.

Eric said...

I will bet this defendant will get *both barrels* from now on because he had the nerve to defend himself.

Anonymous said...

Nice! Impressive answer from a pro se defendant!

Keep it up and stick it to 'em!