Virtually a yr in the past, we wrote a couple of considerably complicated set of instances involving a lady named Shirley Johnson, who posted movies to YouTube that had been important of the New Future Christian Facilities and Paula White Ministries. Paula White didn’t take kindly to this criticism and sued Johnson… for copyright infringement (although, the main points recommend that the choice to sue truly got here from White’s son, Brad Knight, and White agreed to it at Knight’s suggestion). This was as a result of Johnson used video clips and pictures in her personal movies. This appeared like a fairly clear copyright abuse case because it was clearly filed to cease criticism that concerned honest use, and never for any legit objective. The case was dismissed, however Johnson countersued for “malicious prosecution.” As we famous in our article from final September, Johnson then additionally filed a separate lawsuit for a DMCA 512(f) abuse declare. In case you don’t recall, 512(f) is the (largely toothless) a part of the DMCA that bars “misrepresentations” in DMCA claims. So, there are two parallel instances occurring, introduced by Johnson (representing herself, with no lawyer), in opposition to Paula White and her varied entities, for submitting a bogus copyright declare in opposition to Johnson.
That case round 512(f) is still going so far as I can see. Nonetheless, the malicious prosecution case has now concluded with the courtroom awarding Johnson $12,500 for the “emotional harm” from the bogus copyright claim. In fact, earlier than this occurred, because the courtroom itself says (and I’m not joking): “all hell broke loose.” That’s instantly from the courtroom’s ruling again in January, which particulars a convoluted mess of discovery fights and dangerous conduct. It’s by no means value going into what an entire and utter mess it turned, however be at liberty to take a look at that hyperlink if you need. The quick abstract, although (quoting the courtroom) is that Paula White Ministries “have exhibited a patent disregard for the Court docket’s discovery orders and processes” and “maintained that they didn’t should adjust to discovery, demonstrating a preordained perception that they had been above this course of.” Provided that, the courtroom gave a default judgment in favor of Johnson. Default judgments often happen when one celebration fails to indicate up. On this case, the courtroom simply determined to do that due to what seems to be outright frustration with Paula White Ministries. The decide actually stated “been there, completed that” within the ruling:
The Court docket now finds that the pursuits of justice require default judgment as the one efficient treatment. Movement Defendants willfully didn’t adjust to the Court docket’s discovery orders. Lesser sanctions can be ineffective. Certainly, the Court docket balks at Movement Defendants’ recommendations to permit Johnson further discovery, impose extra financial fines, or once more push again the litigation calendar. (Doc. 171, p. 3.) Been there, completed that—to no avail. Movement Defendants have made clear their refusal to adjust to discovery orders, they usually “richly deserve the sanction of a default judgment.” See Malautea, 987 F.second at 1542. Their willful disregard of discovery orders has prejudiced Johnson and introduced this motion to a standstill for eighteen months. Movement Defendants’ obstreperous conduct warrants the sockdolager of default. See Nat’l Hockey League, 427 U.S. at 643 (“[T[he most extreme within the spectrum of sanctions have to be obtainable to the district courtroom in acceptable instances.”); Adolph Coors, 777 F.second at 1543; (upholding default judgment when the defendants refused to show over essential paperwork from the get-go, claiming privilege, and the district decide “exhibited nice sensitivity” to the defendants’ considerations)
Provided that, Johnson then moved for financial awards. And right here, whereas the decide is clearly pissed off at Paula White Ministries and its actions on this case, it discovered little foundation for many of Johnson’s requests. It agrees to the reimbursement of $1,207.93 in prices by Johnson, however rejects a lot of the different requests for damages, together with nominal damages (there have been none) and punitive damages for lack of adequate proof. However what’s fascinating, is that the courtroom did award the $12,500 for emotional harms — although that quantity is proscribed as a result of Johnson apparently didn’t search medical therapy for the hurt:
Johnson’s testimony concerning the psychological anguish she suffered from the Copyright Infringement Motion was credible. Particularly, Johnson testified concerning the lack of sleep, diminished enjoyment in varied hobbies, and total fear concerning the litigation and its penalties on her life. The Court docket finds that Johnson, as a person unfamiliar with the authorized course of, credibly suffered emotional hurt from the Copyright Infringement Motion. However as Johnson didn’t search medical therapy and her signs have abated, the Court docket finds a minimal award for these damages acceptable. Thus, the Court docket awards Johnson $12,500.00 for these damages.
So, the fascinating information right here is an precise award of damages in response to a bogus copyright submitting. However, the instances all look like an entire clusterfuck attributable to either side doing all types of belongings you shouldn’t truly do. Regardless of the considerably amusing expressions of exasperation from the decide, Roy Dalton, within the case, he truly appears to have completed a fairly good job separating out what truly occurred and coming to an inexpensive conclusion.
(Try papers on the following web page…)
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