Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Guava, LLC v. Does 1-5

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

June 27, 2013

GUAVA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
DOES 1-5, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.

Plaintiff Guava, LLC filed a Complaint against John Doe Defendants 1-5 (the "Doe Defendants") on October 5, 2012. In its Complaint, Guava alleged four counts against the Doe Defendants: (I) computer fraud and abuse; (II) civil conspiracy; (III) conversion arising from unlawful computer-based breaches; and (IV) negligence arising from unlawful computer-based breaches. ( See Compl.) Guava filed a Motion for Early Discovery on October 17, 2012. On December 5, 2012, the motion was denied without prejudice with leave to re-file; furthermore, the parties were ordered to exchange Rule 26(a)(1) initial disclosures by January 4, 2013. Guava has filed an Amended Ex Parte Application for Leave to Take Expedited Discovery. Defendant John Doe 1 has filed an Objection to Guava's Motion for Early Discovery, and the matter is ripe for ruling.

BACKGROUND

The Instant Complaint

According to its Complaint, Guava is the owner of password-protected websites, which were allegedly hacked by the unknown Doe Defendants and their alleged co-conspirators, using hacked usernames and passwords. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 18.) Guava identifies itself only as a "limited liability company" that owns and operates "protected computer systems, " but does not provide any information about what types of websites it operates or any additional business information. (Compl. ¶ 2.) Guava states that it has identified the Doe Defendants and their co-conspirators only by unique Internet Protocol ("IP") addresses that correspond to the date and time at which the hacking activity occurred. (Compl. ¶¶ 3, 20.) An IP address is a specific identifying number that Internet Service Providers ("ISPs") assign to each subscriber of its services; the ISP connects a subscriber's router to the internet and allows a subscriber to receive or transmit data. ( Id. ); see also First Time Videos, LLC v. Does 1-500, 276 F.R.D. 241, 245 (N.D. Ill. 2011).

According to Guava, the ISPs typically keep subscribers' personal information only for a short, temporary time before they erase it. In its present motion, Guava seeks expedited discovery to serve expedited discovery on the ISPs of the IP addresses associated with the Doe Defendants and their co-conspirators.

Prior and Concurrent Procedural History

Without identifying himself, Defendant John Doe 1 ("Defendant") has filed an objection to Guava's motion. Defendant urges that Guava's motion be considered in connection with a previous suit filed by Guava in the Circuit Court of Cook County in the matter, Guava, LLC v. Skyler Case, 2012-L-007363 (" Guava I "). (Def.'s Objection at 1.) Tellingly, Guava, who is the same party and is represented by the same counsel, Prenda Law, as in the matter of Guava I, does not discuss or dispute Defendant's discussion of Guava I.

In Guava I, Guava stated the same allegations and averred the same four counts as those in the instant Complaint. Defendant was one of the John Doe defendants served via subpoena in that case and was represented by the same defense counsel. ( Id. ) According to Defendant, during the pretrial period in Guava I, the presiding judge, the Honorable Sanjay Tailor, expressed doubts as to the legal sufficiency of Guava's claims, specifically with respect to the claim of civil conspiracy. ( Id. at 2.) Additionally, Judge Tailor questioned counsel for Guava and one of the defendants, Skyler Case, as to whether they had a collusive arrangement in place because of unusual litigation practices between the parties. ( Id. ) In particular, those parties had entered an agreed order that permitted a broad net of discovery via subpoenas to numerous John Doe targets from a list of over 300 ISPs. Furthermore, defendant Skyler Case had filed an answer in which he admitted both the existence of and his participation in the conspiracy alleged by Guava. ( Id. at 1-2.)

On October 4, 2012, Judge Tailor entered an order, in which he stayed all subpoenas already issued by Guava, ordered that Guava cease issuing any new subpoenas thereafter, and required Guava to notify all subpoenaed ISPs of the court's order. (Def.'s Objection, Exh. A.) Judge Tailor also scheduled a hearing for ruling on Defendant's and other John Does' motions to quash Guava's subpoenas. However, on the next day, October 5, 2012, Guava filed a notice that it was withdrawing the subpoenas for all the defendants who had objected, so that Guava could pursue those objecting defendants in another venue. (Def.'s Objection, Exh. B.) Guava concurrently filed the instant Complaint in this Court against the Doe Defendants that same day.

Following Judge Tailor's Order from Guava I, Guava also filed suits, with Prenda Law as counsel, in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. against the same Doe Defendants listed in this suit. (Def.'s Objection at 3.) In each lawsuit, Guava sought the identities of the Doe Defendants through the same methodology utilized in this suit: filing a motion for expedited discovery to serve subpoenas on relevant ISPs to obtain the personal account information of the Doe Defendants. ( Id. ) Defendant has received a subpoena notification for a case filed in the Middle District of Georgia, named Guava LLC v. John Doe, Civil Action No. 5:12-cv-00398-HL, which was issued from the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. (Def.'s Objection, Exh. D.) Furthermore, as discussed below, counsel for Guava has filed numerous other similar suits against unknown defendants and sought expedited discovery in those cases, as well.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow parties to seek discovery of "any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). A district court has "extremely broad discretion in controlling discovery." Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co., 126 F.3d 926, 943 (7th Cir. 1997). Expedited discovery is permissible in certain circumstances, but it is "not the norm." Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. O'Connor, 194 F.R.D. 618, 623 (N.D. Ill. 2000).

A plaintiff seeking expedited discovery bears the burden to make a prima facie showing of the need for expedited discovery. Merrill Lynch, 194 F.R.D. at 623. Furthermore, the courts "must also protect defendants from unfair expedited discovery." Id. Therefore, courts will employ a "good cause" standard in determining whether to authorize expedited discovery. Hard Drive Prods., Inc. v. Doe, 283 F.R.D. 409, 410 (N.D. Ill. 2012). There may be good cause if "the need for expedited discovery, in consideration of the administration of justice, outweighs the prejudice to the responding party." Id. (quoting Hard Drive Prods, Inc. v. Doe, No. S-11-3074 KJM CKD, 2012 WL 90412, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 11, 2012) (internal citations and quotation omitted). The court evaluates "the entirety of the record to date and the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.