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Third Degree Films, Patrick Collins and New Sensations Might Need to Look at Their Piracy Lawyers More Closely

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According to a ruling handed down by US District Judge Robert Hinkle, Third Degree Films cannot pursue 27 lawsuits against more than 3,500 unknown file-sharers until their attorney proves he’s licensed to practice law in Florida, a federal judge ruled.

Terik Hashmi, an attorney retained by Third Degree Films to go after copyright violators, has until March 9th to offer proof that he can practice where the lawsuits have been filed.

Judge Hinkle consolidated the 27 related cases and halted all proceedings pending a determination of Hashmi’s authority to represent them in the Northern District of Florida.

Three defendants in one of the cases notified the court that the Transnational Law Group attorney lacked qualifications to practice law in Florida. Hashmi is licensed as an attorney in Ohio, but lives and practices law in Florida.

Upon further investigation, it’s being reported that Hashmi’s part of a larger group called the Copyright Enforcement Group headed by attorney Ira Siegel and his partner Owen Onouye. Onouye, according to www.fightcopyrighttrolls.com became one of CEG’s founders and its registered agent.

Prior to that, Onoye served 2.5 years in prison: police caught him with 48 pounds of marijuana and he was convicted in 2005. It took a while for the California Bar to catch up, but finally Onouye’s license was suspended in August 2011.

On the other hand, Siegel repped Patrick Collins in a P2P lawsuit that was dropped when magistrate judge Maria-Elena James in December, 2011, dismissed outright both of Siegel’s cases in her docket: 13:11-cv-02766 Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Does 1-2590 and 3:11-cv-02770 New Sensations, Inc v. Does 1-1474.

It all started when James ordered Siegel to answer some uncomfortable questions about the case status, because he did not name a single defendant in violation of the 120-day rule.

After that she issued another order, this time questioning the Court’s jurisdiction over the majority of putative defendants. To make a long story short, Judge James dismissed the suits due to Siegel’s refusal to follow up on some of her requests.

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