Friday, May 15, 2009

Jammie Thomas may have to go to trial alone; her attorneys seek withdrawal, RIAA opposes continuance

In Capitol Records v. Thomas, Jammie Thomas's lawyer has made his second motion for permission to withdraw from the case.

According to Mr. Toder's motion papers, the RIAA does not object to his withdrawal, but does object to the Court's granting Ms. Thomas any continuance.

Motion for leave to withdraw
Declaration of Jammie Thomas
Memorandum of Brian Toder

[Ed. note. Coming from any other attorneys in the world, it would be beyond belief that the plaintiffs' attorneys would object to a continuance. Only RIAA lawyers would do that. I predict that the judge will grant Ms. Thomas a reasonable continuance notwithstanding the RIAA's objection. To you law students and young lawyers out there, the RIAA's refusal to permit a reasonable continuance in a situation like this is not acceptable behavior by an attorney at law. Were I the judge I would impose Rule 11 sanctions. -R.B.]

Commentary & discussion:

Copyrights & Campaigns
Ars Technica
Heise Online
Punto Informatico (Italian)

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet 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 intellectual property portable music player


Rule11 said...

Rule 11 only speaks to the signing and certification of papers. Where do you find the authority within the rule to impose sanctions for the denial of what is, at best, an unspoken professional courtesy?

raybeckerman said...

1. Obviously there is no basis YET; the RIAA haven't submitted any papers yet. But when and if they were to submit papers opposing a reasonable continuance, as Mr. Toder says they intend to do, I would order them to show cause why they should not be sanctioned.

2. Since your name is "Rule11" you must know that a lawyer's signing papers constitutes a representation to the Court that the papers are "not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass... or needlessly increase the cost of litigation".

raybeckerman said...

I wonder why Rule11 has blocked access to his, her, or its profile.

Anonymous said...

"...your movant avows that he has had meaningful dialogue with other
counsel who have indicated a strong desire and possibility, if not probability, that they will represent defendant if they are provided with enough time to prepare."

So the RIAA want Jammie to appear at trial either pro se or with under-prepared counsel. Isn't getting an unfair advantage over your opponent what an adversarial system of justice is all about? [/sarcasm]


Disgusted said...

When will this nightmare end? Its amazing that our country's justice system is allowing the RIAA to continue in this way.

Anonymous said...

Obama's choices for the Justice System of late have been former lawyers who have been paid by the spoils of a war created by the RIAA. Nightmare is a term that does not begin to describe the personal horror thousands of individuals have endured at the hands of this particular cartel in the recording industry.

Oldphart in Kansas said...

Just another example of the stupidity of allowing this to go on for 5+ years... such an unfair advantage on the scumba...oops, RIAAs/cartels side, they can afford to sit back and relax even if they paid a bunch of vultures the maximum per hour rate for 24/7/365 - while on the other end a poor woman is suffering to make ends meet and still has to worry about defending herself against accusations backed by what can be generously described as "faulty" data from the RIAAs "investigators".

Were I the judge...Now THERES an idea! I have no clue as to how it works so am just asking what may be a stupid question but... whats stopping you from becoming a judge Ray?

I think having a Judge that really "gets it" and who is not afraid to speak up on the injustices commited for more than half a decade, and who would rule more justly, would be much more valuable than a lawyer who kicks bullies asses in court.
IMHO anyway.


Anonymous said... -

First, the Judicial Conference surveys the state of the federal courts and determines whether more judges are needed. Then, they report to Congress, who has the authority to create new positions within the circuit courts of appeal and district courts. Then, the President nominates judges to fill those new positions (or vacancies if someone retires) who must then be confirmed by Congress before serving their appointment.

-JudgeJules said...

OIC, thanks for that JJ.

I used to think that once you have had a certain number of years practicing (or other such experience eg: X number of cases... or a combination of years practicing + age above X) you could then take a kind of exam.

Learned something new, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Toder says he has put in "thus far $129,485 of uncompensated for time."

So - how could he have NOT found directly relevant and controlling 8th Circuit opinion that any decent law student could have found in a few minutes?

The Judge had to find it himself.

I'll bet that Mr. Toder has been offered much pro bono help here. There's also been a lot of useful legal commentary all over the internet.

The irony is that, had he worked harder at defending Ms. Thomas and not on getting himself off the record, he might have hit a grand slam and very public home run that would have been very career enhancing.

Eric said...

I can just hear the RIAA arguments... Since Jammie Thomas "endorses" the withdraw of council then why should the RIAA further delay the trial?

Of course the reality is that sometimes it just doesn't work out. I'll bet that Jammie Thomas does not have the finds to pursue a second trial but without a motion to withdraw the lawyer is morally bound to continue appearing. This of course means, short of a Pro Bono lawyer, she will have to appear alone as no other law firm in their right mind would defend a civil case where the client does not have assets to cover such a trial. It looks like this poor woman will have spent her last dime defending herself. I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up having to declare BK after this is all over.

Doesn't the Judge see the inequity in this case? Do they even care?

Doesn't this further the argument in the other case where the defendant was seeking enhanced damages due to the difficulty finding, retaining, and keeping a lawyer to fight the RIAA?

Anonymous said...


The judge has a clear idea about the financial burden this is to defendant. You should read the document where the judge threw out his old ruling and ordered a new trial -- he asks Congress to revisit the law and fix it.