Sunday, September 12, 2010

San Francisco Judge allows abusive filer to drop lawsuit

Truly abusive litigation is rare because if a court believes that a case is worthless it can force the fruitless litigant to pay the opposing side's attorney's fees and costs.  As Asis Internet Services found out, that can be an expensive proposition.

Asis sued a number of internet domains for spamming its subscribers in violation of California law.  Instead of settling, the companies fought Asis to prove its case.  When it couldn't, it got hit with a judgment for $806,978.84 in attorneys fees and costs which "threatens to place Asis in either bankruptcy or corporate dissolution." So, Asis wanted to dismiss its spam case against Subscriberbase.

Interestingly, Subsrcriberbase did not want the case dismissed because it wanted a chance to recover its attorneys' fees and costs from Asis just like did.  Judge Samuel Conti ruled that a party can dismiss its own case unless that can be shown to prejudice the opposing side.  However, "[the] contention that [the plaintiff] should have been estopped from requesting a voluntary dismissal, because [the defendant] was put to significant expense in preparing and filing its pleadings, is without merit." Hamilton v. Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. (9th Cir. 1982).

The judge dismissed the case with prejudice.  The Case is Asis Internet Services v. Subscriberbase, No. C 09-3503 and the opinion is below the jump.

Asis Internet Services v. Subscriber Base

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