U.S. Judge Orders 27 Porn BitTorrent Piracy Suits Dismissed

Apr 4, 2012 1:45 PM PST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  — A federal judge has tossed 27 porn BitTorrent piracy lawsuits targeting 3,394 defendants because the adult studios suing them were represented by an attorney who was not licensed to practice law in Florida.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed all of the 27 cases handled by attorney Terik Hashmi, who lined up plaintiffs from some of the top studios in the adult entertainment business to sue the John Doe defendants. Plaintiff studios included Elegant Angel, Wicked Pictures, Digital Sin, Devil's Film, Zero Tolerance and others.

Hashmi last month asked forgiveness of the court, while acknowledging he had transferred the cases to substitute counsel, Mike Meier.

But Hinkle didn't buy Hashmi's apologies, ruling on Tuesday that Hashmi’s filing of these cases was a clear violation of the undertakings set out in an affidavit signed two years ago.

Opposing counsel earlier noted to Hinkle that Hashmi was  in violation of a cease-and-desist affidavit from 2010 where he agreed to not engage in an "unlicensed" capacity as legal counsel in the state.

"In the affidavit Mr. Hashmi swore that he understood that holding himself out as authorized to practice law in Florida would constitute contempt of the Florida Supreme Court and a third-degree felony," Hinkle said in his ruling. "He swore that he understood he could not forward letters to third parties appearing to be from an attorney.  He swore that he understood he could not provide legal advice or otherwise practice law in Florida, except on immigration matters.  

"The assertion that Mr. Hashmi thought he could properly undertake to represent these plaintiffs in these cases — cases arising in Florida and having nothing to do with immigration — is plainly unfounded." 

The following porn BitTorrent suits are subject to Hinkle's dismissal order: Third Degree Films Inc. vs. Does 1-259,  Third Degree Films Inc. vs. Does 1-375,  Digital Sin Inc. vs. Does 1-208,  Digital Sin Inc. vs. Does 1-145, Digital Sin Inc. vs. Does 1-167,  Next Phase Distribution Inc. vs. Does 1-126,  Patrick Collins Inc. vs. Does 1-85, Zero Tolerance Entertainment Inc. vs. Does 1-52,  Media Products Inc. vs. Does 1-34,  SBO Pictures Inc. vs. Does 1-92,  SBO Pictures Inc. vs. Does 1-97, Metro Interactive, LLC vs. Does 1-56, Evasive Angles Entertainment vs. Does 1-97, Elegant Angel Inc. vs. Does 1-87,  Elegant Angel Inc. vs. Does 1-115, Elegant Angel Inc. vs. Does 1-85, Elegant Angel Inc. vs. Does 1-77,  Media Products Inc. vs. Does 1-175, Digital Sin Inc. vs. Does 1-150,  Digital Sin Inc. vs. Does 1-131, Exquisite Multimedia Inc. vs. Does 1-178,  Media Products Inc. vs. Does 1-43,  Next Phase Distribution Inc. vs. Does 1-93,  Patrick Collins Inc. vs. Does 1-159,  Third Degree Films Inc. vs. Does 1-195, Media Products Inc. vs. Does 1-168 and SBO Pictures Inc. vs. Does 1-98.

Hinkle ordered the cases dismissed without prejudice, allowing for the cases to be re-filed.

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