RIAA Sues Transplant Patient for Copyright Violations and Then Secures a Default for Not Responding to the Complaint

riaa_logoFor those who view the RIAA as akin to Land of Mormor have another baffling alleged abuse to cite. Nineteen-year-old Ciara Sauro was sued for allegedly sharing 10 songs online. RIAA lawyers sued her. She didn’t respond so the lawyers secured a default judgment. She was a bit busy getting a transplant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Now it is the RIAA lawyers who refuse to respond.

She is facing over $8000 in fines as a music pirate. Suffering from both the transplant and depression, Sauro is unsure what to do. Her mother says “I make $8.25 an hour. She can’t work. This child is very sick. I mean, what am I supposed to do?”

Nice. Like the recent excessive lawsuit by Wal-Mart attorneys, this story raises questions over the judgment and priorities of legal counsel.

For the full story, click here and here.

11 thoughts on “RIAA Sues Transplant Patient for Copyright Violations and Then Secures a Default for Not Responding to the Complaint”

  1. From the article:

    “A local attorney, James Brink, has offered to represent Ciara at no charge and ask a judge to reopen the case.”

    I am hopeful this will not fall upon deaf ears. If the RIAA proceeded knowing she could not possibly have responded and failed to notify the Court, I believe this default may have been obtained by extrinsic fraud. That would cast the case in a whole new light. If the Court knew of her plight but permitted this to occur, that bad light belongs to the bench. I see there are many modern day Shylocks.

  2. JT:

    I completely identify with that. I just don’t know how it’s normally done: Do plaintiffs try to get in touch with defaulting defendants, or do they cross their fingers and stay silent in the hope that the defendants end up defaulting and there’s no need for an adjudication on the merits? If it’s the latter then my sense of outrage is mollified. You’re on the money though that it’s shameful that the RIAA hasn’t remedied the situation.

  3. Butters:

    The RIAA has still not made any effort to rectify this situation. They were clearly informed of the situation long ago, but seem not to view this as their problem. The legal system is composed of human beings, not thoughtless, senseless robots. There remains a modicum of decency that is expected from litigants and lawyers. Can they do this? Of course they can. The question here is not “can” by “should” — it is the difference between a legal and a moral choice. One would hope that they are not always separate considerations.

  4. rafflaw:

    Since when does a plaintiff have to investigate why the defendant is not answering her complaint? I wanna be just as outraged as you are; tell me what I’m missing here.

  5. Former Fed and Butters,
    It would be easy for the RIAA to confirm the health status of the defendant in this case. I have no problem enforcing your legal rights, but discretion is the better part of valor. I don’t remember who said that first, but it fits here.

  6. I’m actually writing a paper that’s very critical of the copyright industry, but to play devil’s advocate, how were they supposed to know she was in a coma? However ill considered this whole campaign against file sharing is, once they undertake it they might as well do it right. If there’s no response, it’s logical to seek a default judgment.

  7. This overreaction by the RIAA is nothing new for this crowd. I would think that the RIAA should be held up for ridicule for this obvious abusive litigation, as well as many other examples of their heavy handed handling of the downloading problem. This is not how Americans should treat other Americans. Especially those that are deathly ill.

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