United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO QUASH [DKT.
Vanessa L. Bryant, United States District Judge.
copyright infringement action, Defendant John Doe
(“Defendant”) filed a motion to quash a subpoena
that Plaintiff Strike 3 Holdings, LLC
(“Plaintiff”) served on a third party, Comcast
Cable Communications (“Comcast”). Plaintiff
served this subpoena pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 26, which permits parties to conduct discovery when
a court authorizes it by order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(d)(1). For
the following reasons, Defendant's motion to quash is
is an adult film company that produces, distributes, and
licenses adult films. [Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 1]. It distributes
its films through adult entertainment websites and DVDs.
[Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 3]. It brings this action against the
unnamed Defendant and owner of the following IP address:
18.104.22.168. [Dkt. No. 1 (Compl.) ¶ 5]. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant utilized a peer-to-peer file
distribution network, BitTorrent, to illegally download and
distribute seventy-nine of Plaintiff's copyrighted adult
films over quite some time. [Dkt. No. 1, ¶¶ 4,
claims that Defendant can be identified through
Defendant's Internet Protocol (IP) address, which
Plaintiff represents is 22.214.171.124. [Dkt. No. 1,
¶¶ 5, 8]. Plaintiff represents that its
investigators have traced Defendant's IP address to a
physical location within the Court's jurisdiction. [Dkt.
No. 1, ¶¶ 8-9]. Plaintiff also asserts that Comcast
is the Defendant's Internet Service Provider (ISP) and
that Comcast can identify Defendant through the IP address.
[Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 8]. Accordingly, Plaintiff moved for
leave to serve a third-party subpoena on Comcast seeking the
name and address associated with the aforementioned IP
address prior to the Rule 26(f) conference in this case.
See [Dkt. No. 9 (Subpoena Mot.)]. The Court granted
Plaintiff's motion on October 9, 2019. See [Dkt.
No. 11 (Order Granting Subpoena Mot.)]. In doing so, the
Court required that Comcast provide the individual associated
with the IP address notice of the subpoena and an opportunity
to move to quash the subpoena before responding to it.
Id. at 2-3. Comcast did so, and Defendant now moves
to quash the subpoena. See [Dkt. No. 13 (Mot.
Motion to Quash, Defendant's representatives represent
that Defendant passed away in August 2018 after a long
illness. Id. at 1. Defendant's representatives
assert that it will be impossible to discover who had access
to Defendant's IP address and that Defendant's family
members have “no knowledge of possible copyright
infringements.” [Dkt. No. 13, at 1-2].
subpoena must comply with the requirements of Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure 26 and 45. Rule 26(d) permits discovery
generally only after a Rule 26(f) discovery conference,
“except … when authorized by these rules, by
stipulation, or by court order.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(d)(1).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has
held that district courts possess “wide discretion in
[their] handling of pre-trial discovery.” In re.
Subpoena Issued to Dennis Friedman, 350 F.3d 65, 68 (2d
Cir. 2003) (quoting In re DG Acquisition Corp., 151
F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1998)) (internal quotation marks
out in Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3, in the Second
Circuit, courts employ the following factors in evaluating
motions to quash subpoenas to ISPs regarding subscribers who
may be engaged in copyright infringement:
(1) the concreteness of the plaintiff's showing of a
prima facie claim of actionable harm, (2) the specificity of
the discovery request, (3) the absence of alternative means
to obtain the subpoenaed information, (4) the need for the
subpoenaed information to advance the claim, and (5) the
objecting party's expectation of privacy.
Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 119 (2d
Cir. 2010) (quotation marks and citation omitted).
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(d)(3), the
Court “must quash or modify a subpoena that …
requires disclosure of privileged or other protected
information, if no exception or waiver applies” or
“subjects a person to undue burden.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
45(d)(3). “Whether a subpoena imposes an ‘undue
burden' depends upon ‘such factors as relevance,
the need of the party for the documents, the breadth of the
document request, the time period covered by it, the
particularity with which the documents are described and the
burden imposed.'” Travelers Indem. Co. v.
Metro. Life Ins. Co., 228 F.R.D. 111, 113 (D. Conn.
2005) (quoting United States v. Int'l Business
Machines Corp., 83 F.R.D. 97, 104 (S.D.N.Y. 1979)).