Palatine, IL asked in Legal Malpractice for Illinois

Q: Can a lawyer be stopped from extorting settlement money before filing an individual suit?

An attorney has filed 43 cases in Illinois against multiple anonymous defendants ("Does") in each case. The plaintiff in each case is a different company that sells pornographic “copyrighted” content on the Internet. The attorney then discovers the defendants’ personal information. He then proceeds to threaten the defendants with individual lawsuits (that he assures them they cannot win), unless they pay a settlement of several thousand $$ each. Then those Does who pay are dropped from the suit. It has been proven that an IP addres NOT = a person. The attorney receives 40% of the settlement money.

Is it possible to force the attorney to file those cases separately for each defendant and to cease his quest for settlement until the end of each respective trial, otherwise it would remain just an easy money-making scheme for him?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Edward X. Clinton, Jr
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  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: A lawyer's settlement demand is not typically considered extortion. Extortion is the attempt to collect a debt by a wrongful threat, such as a threat of force. If you are a defendant in such a case, I recommend that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. There are lawyers who specialize in this area and can deal with the copyright and intellectual property issues that are presented in these cases. These cases can be troubling because the defendants may be embarrassed about the viewing of the videos or pictures involved. Some may settle. The only way to prevent this is to (a) tell them you won't pay and (b) demand proof of infringement.

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