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Denison v. Larkin

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

August 13, 2014

Joanne M. Denison, Plaintiff,
v.
Jerome Larkin, Melissa Smart, Sharon Opryszek, Leah Black, Nextpoint, Inc and the Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission, Defendants

For JoAnne M. Denison, Plaintiff: Joanne Marie Denison, Denison & Assocs, P.C., Niles, IL.

For Jerome Larkin, Melissa Smart, Sharon Opryszek, Leah Black, Defendants: James Scott Renfroe, Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, Chicago, IL; Susan Frederick Rhodes, Wendy J. Muchman, Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, Chicago, IL.

For Nextpoint, Inc., an Illinois corporation, Defendant: Christopher Ross McElwain, LEAD ATTORNEY, Saper Law Offices, LLC, Chicago, IL; Daliah Saper, Saper Law Offices, Chicago, IL.

For Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission, an agency of the State of Illinois, Defendant: Wendy J. Muchman, Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, Chicago, IL.

Page 1128

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER.

AMY J. ST. EVE, United States District Court Judge.

Plaintiff JoAnne M. Denison (" Plaintiff" ) brings this action against Defendants

Page 1129

Jerome Larkin, Sharon Opryszek, Melissa Smart, Leah Black, and Nextpoint (collectively, " Defendants" ) alleging copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety. Jerome Larkin, Sharon Opryszek, Melissa Smart, and Leah Black (collectively, the " IARDC Defendants" ) move to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)[1]. Nextpoint also moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendants' motions to dismiss.

BACKGROUND[2]

This case arises out of an Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (" IARDC" ) disciplinary proceeding. Plaintiff, a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois, is suing the IARDC and Nextpoint for using portions of her copyrighted Blog (" Blog" ) as evidence against her in an attorney disciplinary proceeding. The IARDC has alleged that Plaintiff made false statements about judges and other lawyers on her Blog, which addresses the guardianship proceeding of Mary Sykes. (R. 1-4, Pl. Exhibit C ¶ 6.) [3] 3 Plaintiff submitted a redacted version of the IARDC complaint against her. The Court may take note of the IARDC proceeding against Plaintiff in this motion to dismiss because the IARDC complaint is a public record. Ill. S.Ct. R. 766(a) (attorney disciplinary proceedings are public). See Ennenga v. Starns, 677 F.3d 766, 773-74 (7th Cir. 2012) (" Taking judicial notice of matters of public record need not convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment" ). Defendants filed the un-redacted IARDC complaint as R. 24-1, Defendant's Exhibit 1.

I. Mary Sykes

Mary Sykes was a 90-year-old woman who was put into guardianship in December of 2009. (R. 1, Compl. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff investigated Ms. Sykes' case and allegedly found " a large number of irregularities" in the case. ( Id.) Plaintiff believes that Ms. Sykes was a victim of courtroom corruption. ( Id.)

In late 2011, Plaintiff created the Blog to, in her words, " provide a forum for the friends and relatives of Mary Sykes, a probate victim, to speak out against corruption in the courtroom." (R.1, Compl. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff applied for and received a copyright registration for the Blog on January 26, 2013. (R 1-4, Pl. Exhibit A.) Plaintiff posted her own writings as well as the writings of others on the Blog. The writings included allegations of corruption in the Probate Court of Cook County, that Sykes was the victim of elder abuse, and that the guardians ad litem and the court had physically or mentally harmed Sykes. (R. 1-4, Pl. Exhibit ...


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