Federal Judge Fines Denton Attorney Pursuing Porn Pirates $10,000. But Was It Enough?

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Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Evan Stone
During his storied tenure here, Patrick Michels took a deep interest in the legal doings of Denton attorney Evan Stone, who's filed dozens of cases in Dallas federal court involving thousands of John Does who Stone says are illegally downloading movies, most of 'em pornos. As Patrick wrote in his cover story on Stone:
It was a novel approach, suing thousands of anonymous defendants at a time, a strategy used by just a handful of lawyers around the country. Quicker than he could add defendants to his mailing list, though, Stone attracted enemies: Internet freedom advocates, technology lawyers, the ACLU and even lawyers for the porn industry, each with their own complaints.
To that list, you can now add District Court Judge David Godbey, who, I see here, fined Stone $10,000 last week for subpoenaing Internet Service Providers after the judge told him not to. Godbey's order, which you'll find on the other side, is very heavy on the tsk-tsk:
To summarize the staggering chutzpah involved in this case: Stone asked the Court to authorize sending subpoenas to the ISPs. The Court said "not yet." Stone sent the subpoenas anyway. The Court appointed the Ad Litems to argue whether Stone could send the subpoenas. Stone argued that the Court should allow him to -- even though he had already done so -- and eventually dismissed the case ostensibly because the Court was taking too long to make a decision. All the while, Stone was receiving identifying information and communicating with some Does, likely about settlement. The Court rarely has encountered a more textbook example of conduct deserving of sanctions.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which came onboard to protect the nameless defendants, is particularly enamored of that "staggering chutzpah" line. Meanwhile, one attorney writes that $10,000 ain't nothin' to a guy like Stone, who's trying to get each John Doe to settle for $1,500 or more: "This seems like pennies to an attorney who is bringing in $2,500 per settlement at what he claims is a 45% settlement rate." Godbey Fines Evan Stone $10,000
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5 comments
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Montemalone
Montemalone

How does one download these movies?

Every site I visit wants money.

Somebody, please share...

LaceyB
LaceyB

$10K wouldn't stop up anything this unworking dildo was doing. I agree with my fellow commentors that if Evan F. can't bend over and take it hard and deep (to the pockets), he should never have been in the porn game to begin with. Limp!

HCHB
HCHB

Corruption in the  American Legal System  is causing the demise of Our Country. LawinIustice.com exposes a really disturbing case in Dallas

Rooster
Rooster

This is the kind of litigation that happens when an ambulancer chase from a 12th rate law school smells money. 

thufir_hawat
thufir_hawat

Let's be sure you are referring to Evan F. Stone, in Denton, and *not* Evan D. Stone in Dallas (Evan D., hope you don't get too many calls on this one).

The sanction goes further than $10K though, as it requires him to, inter alia, (i) serve a copy of the order on all the ISPs that he contacted (and may be harassing in other cases), (ii) file a copy of the order in any and every pending case where he represents a party, (iii) disclose to the Court if he got any settlement funds from the Does he contacted in the case (which the Court presumably may order disgorgement), and, the kicker, (iv) pay the ad litems. Their fees will likely dwarf the sanction. 

One is hopeful, yet doubtful, Evan F. will learn the correct lesson.

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