The campaign began with a $100m complaint against multiple “business entities” but a judge dismissed all but one of the parties from the action, warning that by joining all of them as cooperating parties, the illegal conduct of one defendant could be wrongly attributed to another independent defendant.
In response, Triller began filing separate actions against each entity. One of those suits targeted YouTuber ‘ItsLilBrandon’, later identified as Brandon T. Williams.
Allegations Against Williams
Triller’s complaint alleged that Williams is the operator of the ‘ItsLilBrandon’ YouTube channel, which seemed a reasonable conclusion to draw, adding that Williams publicly displayed the Jake Paul fight and asked followers to “help out” by donating to mobile payment processing service Cash App.
However, without any supporting evidence, the company also went on to claim that Williams owns and operates a number of torrent and streaming websites and accused Williams of utilizing the ‘ItsLilBrandon’ branding as a shell to avoid liability to Triller.
Following up on these somewhat grand allegations, Triller accused Williams of copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, violations of the Federal Communications Act, conversion, and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Williams Was Served, Triller Seeks Default Judgment
The case docket reveals that 19-year-old Williams was served with the summons and complaint during the morning of June 7. Triller’s representative couldn’t locate the defendant at the expected address but Williams later accepted service at an address in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
On July 1, Triller applied for entry of a clerk’s default against Williams, stating that Williams had failed to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint within 21 days of being served. A day later, the clerk entered default against Brandon Williams and ItsLilBrandon, ordering Triller to file a motion for default judgment no later than July 20, 2021.
United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin informed Triller on July 6 that its motion should include detailed information, such as the damages and injunctive relief sought, and any claim for attorney’s fees. One of the basic requirements was that any claim for damages must be “supported by detailed, clear, and thorough calculations” that cite the “underlying admissible evidence, such as contracts, spreadsheets, and declarations.”
The Judge warned that failing to file for a motion for default containing the information detailed in his order could result in the motion being denied. It could even see the case against the defendant being dismissed for failure to prosecute and/or failing to comply with a court order.
Triller Fails To Comply With The Judge’s Instructions
In minutes dated July 26, Judge Olguin notes that Triller had been ordered to serve a motion for default judgment no later than July 20 and had been warned that failure could result in the action against Brandon Williams and ItsLilBrandon being dismissed.
Triller failed to comply with that order.
Noting that dismissal is a severe penalty and an extreme remedy, the Judge adds that relevant factors have to be weighed before dismissal including the public’s interest in expeditious resolution of litigation, the court’s need to manage its docket, and the risk of prejudice to defendants and respondents.
“Plaintiff’s failure to file the motion for default judgment hinders the court’s ability to move this case toward disposition and indicates that plaintiff does not intend to litigate this action,” Judge Olguin writes.
“Thus, having considered the Pagtalunan factors, the court is persuaded that the instant action should be dismissed for failure to comply with a court order and failure to prosecute.”
The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that a new complaint can be filed at a later date. However, in light of the Judge’s demands that a detailed damages claim is required (no evidence supporting such a claim has been presented to the court), it’s open to question whether Triller is genuinely interested in pursuing this matter any further.