Judge Denies Government Motion to Dismiss in 2257 Case

PHILADELPHIA, PA—Argument on the U.S. Department of Justice's Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit in Free Speech Coalition, et al v. Holder was set for 1:30 this afternoon in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson, but less than an hour later, it was over, with Judge Baylson denying the government's motion from the bench.

While plaintiffs' attorney J. Michael Murray was not available for comment, his associate Lorraine Baumgardner told AVN that with the dismissal of the motion, the judge allowed discovery in the case to go forward. That would involve taking depositions of both the various plaintiffs as well as attorneys and others in the Justice Department who might have knowledge of the facts and issues involved, and who might have possession of documents relating to the government's handling of the case.

"There was an oral argument set on the Motion to Dismiss, and some judges do that," Baumgardner said. "We were a little bit surprised, but in an abundance of caution, Mike prepared his oral argument on the Motion, and he ruled from the bench denying their motion."

Today's hearing was the first official action taken by Judge Baylson since his ruling in 2010 dismissing the case on the original pleadings—a dismissal that was overturned by a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on April 16.

"We are thrilled with this decision and want to applaud the great work of Michael Murray and Lorraine Baumgardner," commented Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke. "The industry's battle with 2257 has been around for a while and many have become complacent about its importance. The victories we have seen with this litigation are critical to the security of just about everyone in the industry, from retailers to VOD companies and of course, producers.

"We are at a very important juncture with the litigation and we need support from the industry to continue in the fight," Duke warned. "We need everyone's support to win this. Please, as you consider your end-of-year contributions, consider contributing to the important cause and write a check to FSC targeted toward 2257 litigation. Every cent contributed to this cause will go to the litigation. The time to act is now and please give generously."

Check back with AVN for more details of this exciting development.