United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
February 4, 2004.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES ZAGEL, District Judge
In May of 2003, Directv, Inc. ("Directv") filed lawsuits against
thousands of individuals nationwide based on their alleged purchasing of
electronic equipment over the Internet for the purpose of illegally
intercepting and decoding Directv's satellite signal. Directv has filed
over seventy such complaints in the Northern District and has joined on
average six defendants per complaint.
In this suit, Directv has joined seven defendants including Tom Frey
who now moves, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 20 and 21, to dismiss or to
sever the claims against him. For joinder to be proper here, the claims
against each defendant must arise out of the same transaction or series
of transactions. Directv has alleged only that the defendants purchased
electronic equipment from individual distributors who had each received
their equipment from a common warehouse in California. Directv has not
indicated how this common origin is relevant to the defendants' alleged
misappropriation of its satellite signals. This is insufficient to
establish a common series of transactions. Defendants in this case,
including Frey, have been misjoined.
Under Rule 21, the proper remedy is to sever cases that have been
misjoined and proceed with them separately. Elmore v. Henderson,
227 F.3d 1009 (7th Cir. 2000). Therefore, I order these cases to be
severed and to proceed against each individual defendant. I also order
Directv to pay filing fees for each suit except for that of the named
defendant, which I assume has already been paid.
Defendant Frey's Motion to Sever and proceed in a separate suit is
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