RedTube Loses Round Over Subpoena Power

SAN JOSE, Calif. — RedTube won't have open subpoena power in its quest to find those thought to be responsible or have knowledge in the redirection of RedTube traffic on July 24, a federal judge ruled today.

RedTube attorneys last week asked the court for an expedited discovery process without having to identify subpoenaed individuals.

RedTube parent company Bright Imperial Ltd. of Hong Kong is seeking $6 million in damages against unknown defendants. The company has named 20 John Does in its complaint filed at U.S. District Court in San Jose.

RedTube said it lost “millions of visits” by its customers by the hackers’ efforts, as well as lost value to advertising rates that are dependent upon its traffic.

The request for open subpoena power was made after RedTube said one of its attorneys was subject to an anonymous 140-word threat that was sent via email.

Thayer Preece was the recipient of the email “with implicit and explicit threats stemming from her representation of RedTube.” Preece is an associate of the Menlo Park, Calif., office of Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton, which handles all of RedTube’s civil litigation.

"Anyone who works with them or an attorney who represents them should ask themselves who they're working for and what they're being paid to do — it really just might not be worth it in the end,” said one of the passages in the email.

Using the email as ammunition in the case, RedTube asked U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg for an exception to discovery rules, seeking permission to serve subpoenas on the John Does.

Today, Seeborg asked RedTube to provide the court with 10 days a proposed order containing the names of the specific companies or entities it desires to subpoena.