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?
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.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.