Judge throws out 2 more Righthaven copyright lawsuits
2 September 2011
Two more Righthaven LLC newspaper copyright infringement lawsuit defendants can rest easier this holiday weekend after a judge dismissed their cases Friday.
The cases against Peter Ashton and Kathleen Peddle were dismissed by U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Las Vegas after Righthaven failed to show the defendants had been served in time.
The dismissals were without prejudice, meaning Righthaven can attempt to sue both of them again over the same alleged infringements.
These lift to 13 the number of Righthaven dismissals for lack of service since July 20 — and more may be in the works.
Righthaven has disputed suggestions it’s purposefully not serving defendants because its litigation campaign is stalled over questions about whether it has standing to sue over Las Vegas Review-Journal and Denver Post material.
Shawn Mangano, an attorney for Righthaven, said Friday the dismissals for lack of service can be attributed to Righthaven’s inability to locate the defendants.
One of the defendants in Righthaven’s 275 lawsuits who hasn’t been served, Greg Stocks in Baltimore, disputes that.
Stocks has pointed out to two of the Nevada judges that Righthaven has his current address on file — as that’s the address listed on Righthaven’s summons for him in court records.
Yet Righthaven has not only not served him with the summons, it hasn’t provided him with sanctions information it was supposed to provide all defendants in open Righthaven cases over R-J material, Stocks said.
Stocks, who has a blog called lawmedconsultant.com, said he filed a motion Friday in his case — the service deadline — called “motion to dismiss with prejudice for failure to serve the complaint, willful deception and failure to comply with a judicial order.”
A dismissal with prejudice would mean Righthaven could not sue Stocks again over the same alleged infringement.
“Since the (sanctions) documents Judge Hunt ordered to be provided contained material and damaging probative content to their lawsuits, current and future, Righthaven had a vested interest in not supplying it to non-served defendants whose cases, though dismissed eventually for failure to timely serve, might be resurrected under new complaints in the future,” Stocks’ filing said.
Righthaven has not yet responded to these assertions.
As for Righthaven’s standing to sue, the judges in Las Vegas, Reno, Denver and Charleston, S.C., handling Righthaven lawsuits haven’t yet issued final rulings on that issue.
But two Nevada judges have expressed skepticism about whether Righthaven can sue over R-J material based on the most recent amendments to the Righthaven/R-J lawsuit contract.
Four judges have ruled that the problem with the Righthaven lawsuits over R-J material under previous versions of the contract is that it left the R-J in control of the copyrighted material at issue, contradicting Righthaven’s claims of ownership.
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