GLBT Ltd. Hit With Sanctions Over Destroying Evidence
OAKLAND, Calif. — GLBT Ltd., which started Day 1 of its $1,000-a-day fines stemming from a contempt order for not handing over six tube sites that allegedly streamed poached content, has been hit again with judicial sanctions.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu today granted in part and denied in part Channel One Releasing, Corbin Fisher and Titan Media's motion against GLBT for sanctions involving spoliation of evidence.
Ryu said that GLBT Ltd. operators Steven and David Compton — owners of JerkYourTube.com, GayForIt.com, ItsAllGay.com, JerkYourTube.eu, GayForIt.eu and ItsAllGay.eu — destroyed internal emails, takedown notices and removal notifications, rendering it impossible for plaintiffs to explore their "motivation and state of mind in operating their websites."
"The court concludes defendants 'consciously disregarded' their obligation to preserve relevant evidence," Ryu said in her ruling.
As a result, Ryu said Channel One Releasing, Corbin Fisher and Titan Media can compel further responses in the $29 million lawsuit, including documentation over GLBT's terminated services for members who are repeat violators and a database containing 1.8 million pages of documents referencing their websites.
Ryu also ordered that GLBT pay $15,000 in attorneys fees to counsel for Channel One Releasing, Corbin Fisher and Titan Media, ruling that they "spent unnecessary resources to challenge the deficient declarations."
But Ryu wouldn't grant the plaintiffs request for billing records from GLBT.
"Defendants respond that they use a third-party biller, that the requested records are in the third-party biller’s possession, and that the information on the spreadsheet reflects all of the billing information in defendants’ possession," she said. "Given that defendants are not in possession of the actual billing files, plaintiffs’ request for an order compelling further responses ... is denied."
The decisions made by the U.S. magistrate based on a motion conceived and argued by Titan attorney Gil Sperlein continue a string of legal defeats for GLBT.
U.S. Judge Maxine Chesney recently ordered six of the company's websites transferred to a receiver pending resolution of the suit.
Tuesday's deadline has come and gone over the transfer of domains and court-ordered $1,000-a-day fines are starting to mount.
Marc Randazza, who represents Corbin Fisher in the case, said that the "Comptons' ship is sinking."
"Doing these cases takes a lot of work; when you have liars and sneaks like the Comptons, it is even more work," Randazza told XBIZ. "You have to dig down into the facts, do lots of research, and if you don't have the right resources, you can't get it done.
"Fortunately for us, we had PornGuardian working with us on this case. They provided a wealth of evidence that we were able to use to refute most of the Comptons' lies. Without them, the Comptons might have escaped liability."
XBIZ has been unable to reach the Comptons for comment on recent developments, including the magistrate's ruling today.