Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, February 24, 2020

Charter seeks sanctions against LW Systems for failing to comply with Aug. 7 order; Says court rules are 'not merely suggestions'

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Oct 3, 2013


Charter Communications has filed a motion for sanctions against a plaintiff that had subpoenaed its customer information saying LW Systems failed to comply with an Aug. 7 court order.

Even though LW Systems and named defendant Christopher Hubbard agreed to dismiss the case in July, targets in the St. Clair County litigation continue to battle for court costs and sanctions.

The suit filed in January accused Hubbard and his alleged co-conspirators of hacking into LW Systems’ computer system – which hosts and delivers content to adult Web site operators.

St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricivic signed an agreed discovery not long after the case was filed that allowed LW Systems to subpoena personal information associated with certain Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from 325 Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Charter filed its motion for sanctions on Sept. 12 requesting an entry of sanctions against LW Systems and its counsel. The company earlier had filed a motion for costs and for protective order on July 11.

Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson granted the costs and protective order motion, ordering LW Systems to pay Charter $1,292.80 and to certify that all information relating to Charter subscribers has been destroyed. The plaintiff was given 10 days from Aug. 7 to comply, Charter’s motion stated.

Gleeson also ordered LW Systems to make no further or additional use of the information and prohibited the plaintiff and its counsel from contacting Charter subscribers.

Charter claimed it incurred more than $5,000 in costs in response to a subpoena improperly issued out of Cook County rather than St. Clair County, which sought information from 136 of its customers.

According to Charter’s sanctions motion, its counsel received a letter from LW Systems on Aug. 30, 13 days after compliance was due, allegedly stating that all information relating to Charter subscribers had been destroyed or returned. However, LW Systems failed to pay Charter or its counsel, as ordered, Charter says.

On Sept. 3, Charter’s counsel sent an email to LW Systems requesting a date at which they would receive the payment. As of the Sept. 12 sanctions motion, Charter says it still has not heard back from LW Systems.

“Court rules and orders are not merely suggestions to be complied with if convenient,” Charter’s motion states. “Instead, they constitute obligations that counsel disregard at their personal peril and that trial courts must enforce.’”

As a result of LW Systems’ failure to comply with the order, Charter requests sanctions in the amount of $1,292.80 for each day it goes without payment beginning on the date the motion for sanctions was filed, as well as attorneys’ fees and any other relief the court deems just.

Several other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) also have filed motions for sanctions against LW Systems saying they were harassed and intimidated with subpoenas.

In an earlier ruling, Gleeson ordered LW Systems to pay $17,625 to Comcast for expenses the company incurred in responding to the lawsuit.

An Oct. 1 motion hearing was rescheduled for Nov. 13 at 9 a.m. before Gleeson.

LW Systems is represented by Kevin Hoerner of Belleville and Paul Duffy of Chicago.

Charter Communications is represented by Robert J. Sprague of Sprague & Urban in Belleville; and Steven M. Sherman and Michael L. Nepple of Thompson Coburn LLP in St. Louis.

Hubbard is represented by Adam E. Urbancyzk of Chicago.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 13-L-15

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Organizations in this Story

Thompson Coburn LLPSprague & Urban