Andrew White and Steven Kelly
Andrew C. White, left, and Steven J. Kelly of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White LLC, the lawyers for the plaintiff. (Daily Record file photo)

Civil suit over images of children takes slight detour

I experienced a bit of deja vu Friday as I went through the federal court filings. The mother of two young children had filed multiple lawsuits over the last few days against individuals she alleged viewed a video online of her children being sexually assaulted by their father and another person.

A quick search of our archives and I realized these lawsuits were similar to one written about last May, when the mother filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against 266 defendants.

It turns out that since the case was filed, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis ordered the plaintiff to file a lawsuit for each defendant. Steven J. Kelly, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, said 30 lawsuits have been filed and another 120 are on the way. The smaller number of defendants reflects a few duplicates found in the original lawsuit, but the new lawsuits will include fewer John Doe defendants, said Kelly, of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White LLC in Baltimore.

Many of the defendants are already in prisons across the country on child pornography charges. Garbis has yet to rule on whether the U.S. District Court in Maryland has jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendants, Kelly said.

The lawsuits seek $9 million in compensatory damages and $34 million in punitive damages from each defendant. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in January in a separate case concerning how defendants should pay restitution in child pornography cases. The court has not yet issued its decision in Paroline v. United States.

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