A St. Clair County lawsuit accusing Christopher Hubbard and several John Does of hacking into LW Systems’ computer system has been dismissed with prejudice, the attorney for the named defendant said Wednesday.
Hubbard’s attorney, Adam Urbanczyk of Au LLC in Chicago, said the dismissal order came down Tuesday and that “it was a welcomed development” in the case that LW Systems lodged against his client in January.
The LW Systems case is one of several similar suits filed across the nation in which Paul Duffy and other attorneys at Prenda Law in Chicago represent the plaintiffs.
According to the stipulation of dismissal with prejudice in the case that was posted on TorrentLitigation.com, a partner site of Urbanczyk’s firm, the parties agreed “to pay their own court costs and legal fees, pursuant to the parties’ amicable resolution of the case.”
In regards to Tuesday’s dismissal order, Urbanczyk said “the plaintiff has had a lot of difficulty in pursuing its case” and believes LW Systems might have chosen to dismiss the matter after subpoenas it served on several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were deemed invalid.
“I think in the face of that, they weren’t able to obtain the information they needed to proceed against” Hubbard, he said, noting that the plaintiff also may have chosen to dismiss the suit in an effort to avoid providing outstanding discovery.
Urbanczyk said he has not yet terminated his representation of Hubbard, saying “I still have to logistically speak with him about everything. It really just happened.”
With several other similar suits still pending across the nation and “no shortage of these plaintiffs,” Urbanczyk said “the litigation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.”
As someone who tracks the trend closely, he did, however, say he saw the lowest number of these types of suits filed last month and believes the litigation is moving away from companies suing over adult films to those focusing on more mainstream film releases.
In its now-dismissed suit, LW Systems accused Hubbard and alleged co-conspirators identified in the litigation only as John Does of hacking into its computer system that hosts and delivers content to adult Web site operators.
Shortly after the suit was filed, Chief Judge John Baricevic signed an agreed discovery order that let LW Systems subpoena personal information associated with certain Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from 325 ISPs.
Several of the ISPs filed motions to quash the subpoenas, saying the lawsuit was brought in an attempt to extract settlements from the owners of certain IP addresses through the threat of litigation and public humiliation.
Some of these ISPs also asked the court to investigate possible collusion between the plaintiff and defendant.
Late last month, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson granted a joint third party motion to quash subpoenas served on several ISPs and gave LW Systems 14 days to amend its complaint.
Belleville attorney Kevin Hoerner, who serves as local counsel for the plaintiff, urged Gleeson at last month’s hearing to hold the subpoenas in abeyance rather than granting the motion to quash, saying the providers, as third parties, did not have standing to “drive the litigation.”
He told Gleeson that if his client was not allowed to advance discovery by ascertaining customer information, the alleged wrong doers would have time to “cover their tracks.”
Earlier this month, Gleeson set a Sept. 3 hearing over Charter Communication’s motion for costs and protective order involving the issuance of an invalid subpoena in the case.
Charter claims it has incurred more than $5,000 in costs in response to a subpoena improperly issued out of Cook County, rather than St. Clair County, that sought information from 136 of its customers.