A federal court has awarded attorney’s fees against serial copyright litigant Richard Liebowitz for his practice of refilling and dismissing copyright claims without prejudice. Liebowitz has been called a “copyright troll” by federal judges based on the volume of lawsuits he has filed.
In Glen Craig v. Popmatters Media, Inc. (Case No. 19C5596) (N.D. Ill.), after the Defendant raised objections to personal jurisdiction and venue in the Southern District of Illinois, Liebowitz voluntarily dismissed this action and refiled in the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants then filed a motion for attorneys’ fees in the first action.
The following day, Liebowitz filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in the second action. Defendants again moved for attorneys’ fees, and Liebowitz opposed, arguing that no attorneys fees should be awarded because the dismissal was “without prejudice.” In an order dated March 23, 2020, the Court granted Defendants motion for attorney’s fees against Liebowitz and his client.
The Court acknowledged that the dismissal stated that the case was being dismissed “without prejudice,” but that simply stating as much “does not make it so.” The Court reasoned that “[t]he privilege of dismissing a federal suit without prejudice to refiling may be used only once” and Liebowitz “used that privilege when he dismissed the Southern District case, so his dismissal of this case operated as a with-prejudice dismissal, an adjudication on the merits.”
The Popmatters order marks another set back for Liebowitz, who now faces the increased specter of attorneys fee awards to Defendants. Tauler Smith has a history of winning Liebowitz’ Copyright claims, and has argued to the Southern District of New York that an award of attorney’s fees in cases brought by Liebowitz “would serve the dual objectives of validating Defendant’s enforcement of its rights and deterring [Liebowitz] so far unrepentant abuse of judicial resources to meet purely mercenary interests which the Copyright Act was in no way created to protect.”
If you have been sued by Richard Liebowitz contact our law firm. Tauler Smith’s copyright attorneys may be able to help you defend your claims.