Another Amended Complaint in the Auto Admit Case

The Auto Admit plaintiffs have finally named a defendant. Other than that, not much of note in this latest installment in the AutoAdmit saga. The plaintiffs claim complete diversity of citizenship with respect to the new named defendant (formerly identified only as “:D”). However, they don’t make any such statement with respect to all the other defendants. Given the flimsy copyright claim in this complaint, I presume that the plaintiffs are trying to manufacture diversity jurisdiction. However, given the statements in the complaint, it seems like there couldn’t possibly be complete diversity with respect to all plaintiffs and defendants.

At paragraph 7, the plaintiffs seem to be invoking the Calder v. Jones standard for personal jurisdiction. Some courts still follow Calder in the internet context. I look forward to seeing how the D.Conn handles it.

At paragraphs 44 and 59, the plaintiffs include some nasty, offensive, and mean language posted by the newly-named defendant. However, I fail to see what is legally actionable in those statements.

What I find shocking is that this complaint still names some defendants who could clearly prevail in a motion for judgment on the pleadings. “A horse walks into a bar” – to name one. I’ll wear a New York Yankees T-Shirt for 24 hours if anyone can put forth a non-frivolous argument to support keeping him in this action.

In other words, the long-awaited amended complaint is a big yawn. The only really interesting thing about it is how sloppy it is. Of course, the sloppiness pales in comparison to this.

IDENTITY UPDATE

For anyone who is curious, I have personally spoken to the University of Texas adjunct who happens to bear the name of the newly-outed defendant (Matthew C. Ryan). He IS NOT the person in question (“:D”). I would appreciate it if any readers would keep that in mind, and educate anyone who might hold this mistaken belief. I can confirm with 100% certainty that the guy in the complaint is neither an attorney nor a law professor.

I find the press coverage on this case to be terribly irresponsible. Listing a name like this without doing some basic fact-checking to figure out if they have the right man seems to be foolish (from a legal standpoint) and shameful (from an ethical standpoint).

So far, it seems that the only people who have been made to suffer from the inception of this complaint are “collateral damage” parties.

Where is Richmond, again? D’OH!

Check TEH MAP before filing!

Check TEH MAP before filing!

Another Update – in the little discovery skirmish going on in this case in the Western District of Virginia, we have the following lulz.

This matter is before the court on the motions to quash third party subpoena to AOL, LLC of non-party movants Anthony Ciolli, Jane Roe and John Roe. After reviewing the record in this case, the court is now concerned regarding the validity of the subpoena at issue and its jurisdiction to enforce said subpoena. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(a)(2)(C) requires that a subpoena for production or inspection must issue from the court for the district where the production or inspection is to be made. In this case, the subpoena in the underlying case of Doe I and Doe II v. Individuals whose true names are unknown, et al., Civil Action No. 07:CV00909, filed in the District of Connecticut, was issued from the Western District of Virginia but was directed to AOL, LLC at its office in Richmond, Virginia and requires production at the Ikon location which is also in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is in the Eastern District of Virginia, however, not the Western District. Therefore, it appears that the subpoena at issue in this matter may be invalid on its face as it was issued from the wrong court.

Before issuing a ruling on the motions to quash, however, the court invites the plaintiffs to submit a supplemental memorandum of law addressing the validity of the subpoena directed to AOL, LLC. Any such supplemental memorandum must be submitted to the court within ten (l0) days from the date of this Order. The non-party movants will then have seven (7) days from the date any such supplemental memorandum is filed in which to file a response.

I look forward to seeing that memo. How many times can one firm fumble the ball in a single case?

23 Responses to Another Amended Complaint in the Auto Admit Case

  1. popehat says:

    A big yawn — though not, perhaps, for the newly named defendant (I’m not naming him in this comment out of courtesy to you, as I sense you’ve decided not to here in your house).

    Whether or not he faces legal consequences — and I think it is highly questionable whether his words justify legal punishment — he’s certainly about to face social consequences, which strike me as entirely appropriate.

  2. popehat says:

    Bah! I’m a big idiot. You named in him your first paragraph.

  3. popehat says:

    The Texas State Bar site is down at the moment, but Google only spits out one Texas lawyer of that name — one who is older than I would have expected for such behavior. Curious.

  4. AH says:

    Hrm, interesting, I guess. At least :D was one of the ones who actually belonged in the complaint in the first place (to the extent anyone did).

    Whatever happened with AK47?

  5. p says:

    Doe I and Doe II vs. “Mathew C. Ryan”? You’d think the Does’ lawyers would have started double-checking for typos by now.

  6. p says:

    Wow. I’ve got an awesome avatar.

  7. Yes, especially since they mixed up Doe I and Doe II through the first two versions of the complaint. I expected higher-quality work out of KVN as well.

  8. Popehat,

    I have seen no evidence that the Texas lawyer is the same guy. This is a pretty common name, so I’d like to ask all commenters to be careful about pointing at any specific Matt Ryans until there is something at least strongly persuasive that actually identifies him.

  9. lulz says:

    A very big lulz indeed. There are two people affiliated with UT-Austin who have the identical name in the amended complaint.

    I doubt the prof is the :D in the complaint. Rather it is the second individual.

  10. The prof is not :D — I have updated my post to confirm this. I had a 10 minute conversation with the prof, and the poor guy is absolutely bewildered at all the attention focused upon him.

  11. popehat says:

    Good work on that!

  12. Matty Ryan says:

    So wait, did the plaintiffs get the identity wrong or is it definitely another Matthew C. Ryan who happens to be at UT-Austin? and what do we know about Matthew C. Ryan #2?

  13. I can’t offer any information except the fact that the Matthew C. Ryan who everyone seems to be looking at (the UT adjunct) is the wrong guy.

  14. Eddie says:

    I feel badly for that UT prof. Almost feels like there should be a collection taken up for him.

    How much *do* lighting rods cost nowadays?

  15. I feel badly for him too. The guy was a super-nice guy.

  16. reputationhasmeaning says:

    Here is an article confirming that the lawyer and adjunt professor at UT was in no way involved in Autoadmit. As a older reader of your blog, I’m often surprised at the speed of the internet and the ability of person not to ask basic questions about facts, just because it is the answer they have is number one response on google that they obtained after a 30 second search.

    No, not that Matthew C. Ryan
    By Chuck Lindell | Wednesday, August 6, 2008, 05:19 PM

    Austin lawyer Matthew C. Ryan telephoned to help us avoid confusion in a breaking story about a similarly named Austin man being sued for allegedly posting anonymous, defamatory comments on a web site.

    The lawyer Ryan says he is not the Ryan named in the lawsuit, and he has an e-mail from the plaintiffs’ lawyer to prove it:

    “We named Matthew C. Ryan, an undergraduate at the University of Texas, as a defendant in the AutoAdmit complaint. Please be aware that there are other Matthew C. Ryans in Austin, including an attorney, and that they are NOT the defendant in the AutoAdmit case.”

    The e-mail is signed Mark Lemley, a Stanford University law professor who is representing the women in the lawsuit. (Lemley confirmed to me that the e-mail is genuine.)

    Ryan, a 40-year-old construction attorney with Allensworth and Porter, and an adjunct UT professor in construction law, said he has received hate mail after his resume was posted with news of the lawsuit on Above the Law, a blog that bills itself as a legal tabloid.

    He’s also received calls from the ABA Journal, Associated Press and other news outlets.

    “You can see how important it is for me to maintain and preserve my reputation and my good name,” he said.

    You bet.

    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/courts/entries/2008/08/06/no_not_that_matthew_c_ryan.html

  17. I agree that it was sloppy lawyering for the plaintiffs to not put in a few words to clarify who the defendant was.

    And it was very sloppy journalism for the initial writers to not drill down for a few minutes and check their facts.

  18. […] The WSJ Law Blog reports that the two Yale Law women suing AutoAdmit/XOXOHTH posters are “seeking to resolve their claims against these defendants” without amending the complaint to name their identities, obtained over the course of a variety of subpoenas.  Thus, the recent amended complaint named only a single AutoAdmit poster, Matthew C. Ryan, who had apparently refused to settle–perhaps because while Ryan’s comments were obnoxious, they were not legally actionable. […]

  19. I just posted this on Lat’s site…so hopefully it will get read:

    This is a statement to local press by attorney Matthew C. Ryan w/ conclusive evidence he IS NOT the named plaintiff:

    The lawyer Ryan says he is not the Ryan named in the lawsuit, and he has an e-mail from the plaintiffs’ lawyer to prove it:

    “We named Matthew C. Ryan, an undergraduate at the University of Texas, as a defendant in the AutoAdmit complaint. Please be aware that there are other Matthew C. Ryans in Austin, including an attorney, and that they are NOT the defendant in the AutoAdmit case.”

    The e-mail is signed Mark Lemley, a Stanford University law professor who is representing the women in the lawsuit. (Lemley confirmed to me that the e-mail is genuine.)

    Ryan, a 40-year-old construction attorney with Allensworth and Porter, and an adjunct UT professor in construction law, said he has received hate mail after his resume was posted with news of the lawsuit on Above the Law, a blog that bills itself as a legal tabloid.

    He’s also received calls from the ABA Journal, Associated Press and other news outlets.

    “You can see how important it is for me to maintain and preserve my reputation and my good name,” he said.

    Here is the link http://tinyurl.com/578kty

    David, it’s one thing to spread gossip…but if it’s patently false…fix it!

  20. But what did David post that was false?

  21. […] covered the case diligently, and who at one point ably represented the dismissed former exec) has teh latest, in which the plaintiffs have filed an amended complaint naming one of the anonymous commenters as […]

  22. […] I reported on August 6, the plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Complaint (third try overall). In that complaint, they […]

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