Light Speed Media Corp. v. Does 1-1000, No. 10 C 5604, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 31, 2011) (Manning, J.).

Judge Manning dismissed without prejudice 999 of the 1,000 Doe defendants in this copyright infringement suit accusing unknown individuals of using BitTorrent to download copyrighted material without sufficient permissions. As in prior cases in the Northern District (click here for similar decisions), the Court held that the Doe defendants were not properly joined pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2)(A) because the use of a common internet service provider or network does not create sufficient commonality of action or transaction to warrant permissive joinder. The Court also held that joinder did not serve judicial interests or economy. A case with 1,000 Doe defendants could generate hundreds of factually dissimilar motions, just at the initial phase of the litigation.

The Court’s decision to sever was bolstered by its concerns about whether venue was proper. There was nothing to indicate that plaintiff or any Doe had contacts with Illinois. The Court, therefore, dismissed without prejudice each of the Does except the one individual who had been identified, although not yet named. Plaintiff was given seven days from the Order to notify the parties and their Internet Service Providers. Finally, the Court denied as premature the identified individual’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The motion was premature until the individual was actually named in the suit.