807 F.3d 908 (8th Cir. 2015), 14-3274, Killer Joe Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-20

Docket Nº:14-3274
Citation:807 F.3d 908, 116 U.S.P.Q.2d 2011
Opinion Judge:BENTON, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:Killer Joe Nevada, LLC, Plaintiff - Appellee v. Does 1-20, Defendant, Leigh Leaverton, Defendant - Appellant, Nicholas Anderson; Brittany Bolan; Richard Brother; Jason Fills, Defendants; Leigh Leaverton, Counter Claimant - Appellant v. Killer Joe Nevada, Counter Defendant - Appellee
Attorney:For Killer Joe Nevada, LLC, Plaintiff - Appellee: Charles Aaron Damschen, Jay Ramon Hamilton, Alexander JSW Johnson, Hamilton IP Law, Davenport, IA; Keith A. Vogt, Oak Park, IL. For Leigh Leaverton, Defendant - Appellant, Counter Claimant - Appellant: Raymond Johnson, Senior Attorney, Johnson Law...
Judge Panel:Before LOKEN, BENTON, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:December 04, 2015
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
SUMMARY

This appeal stemmed from a copyright dispute over the 2012 motion picture "Killer Joe." Plaintiff filed suit against defendant for copyright infringement and defendant counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment. The district court dismissed the suit, dismissed the counterclaim as moot, and denied defendant's requests for attorney’s fees and to make a record. Defendant appealed. The court concluded ... (see full summary)

 
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Page 908

807 F.3d 908 (8th Cir. 2015)

116 U.S.P.Q.2d 2011

Killer Joe Nevada, LLC, Plaintiff - Appellee

v.

Does 1-20, Defendant, Leigh Leaverton, Defendant - Appellant, Nicholas Anderson; Brittany Bolan; Richard Brother; Jason Fills, Defendants;

Leigh Leaverton, Counter Claimant - Appellant

v.

Killer Joe Nevada, Counter Defendant - Appellee

No. 14-3274

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

December 4, 2015

Submitted September 21, 2015

Page 909

Appeal from United States District Court. for the Northern District of Iowa - Sioux City.

For Killer Joe Nevada, LLC, Plaintiff - Appellee: Charles Aaron Damschen, Jay Ramon Hamilton, Alexander JSW Johnson, Hamilton IP Law, Davenport, IA; Keith A. Vogt, Oak Park, IL.

For Leigh Leaverton, Defendant - Appellant, Counter Claimant - Appellant: Raymond Johnson, Senior Attorney, Johnson Law Firm, West Des Moines, IA.

For Killer Joe Nevada, LLC, Counter Defendant - Appellee: Charles Aaron Damschen, Jay Ramon Hamilton, Alexander JSW Johnson, Hamilton IP Law, Davenport, IA.

Before LOKEN, BENTON, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 910

[116 U.S.P.Q.2d 2012]

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

Killer Joe Nevada, LLC sued Leigh Leaverton for infringement under the Copyright Act. Leaverton counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment. Killer Joe Nevada moved to voluntarily dismiss its suit. Leaverton objected unless the district court1 awarded her attorney's fees. The court dismissed the suit, dismissed the counterclaim as moot, and denied Leaverton's requests for attorney's fees and to make a record. Leaverton appeals. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

I.

Killer Joe Nevada owns the copyright to the 2012 motion picture " Killer Joe." Killer Joe Nevada sued several " John Doe" defendants for copyright infringement, alleging each downloaded the film through a BitTorrent computer program.2 In its

Page 911

complaint, Killer Joe Nevada identified each defendant only by Internet Protocol (IP) address. Killer Joe Nevada subpoenaed the respective Internet service providers (ISPs) to disclose the subscriber at each IP address. After Leaverton was identified, Killer Joe Nevada amended to make her a defendant. Leaverton answered, denied the allegations, and counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment that she had not infringed Killer Joe Nevada's copyright.

After Leaverton denied downloading the film, Killer Joe Nevada moved to voluntarily dismiss its complaint with prejudice and to dismiss Leaverton's counterclaim as moot. Leaverton opposed the voluntary dismissal unless it included attorney's fees. Specifically, she argued that attorney's fees would deter Killer Joe Nevada and other plaintiffs from suing an IP-identified subscriber without investigating whether the subscriber herself had infringed the copyright. The district court granted...

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