Monsarrat v. Zaiger (17-10356).

Judge Saris denied Jonathan Monsarrat’s motion for reconsideration of her grant of Zaiger’s motion to dismiss.  Monsarrat became aware of Zaiger’s publication of an alteration of a copyrighted photograph of Monsarrat, dressed in an MIT mascot costume, at least as early as 2013, yet did not file suit until 2017, beyond the three-year statute of limitaitons.  Monsarrat argued that the “discovery rule,” whereby the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the plaintiff knows or should reasonably know of the claim, keeps the statute of limitations from starting until after the identity of the infringer is known.  Judge Saris rejected this proposition, noting that First Circuit law clearly states that a copyright claim accrues when the plaintiff knows or should reasonably know about the conduct on which the claim is based.  She also noted that complaints are often filed against unknown defendants.  In a separate ruling, Judge Saris rejected Zaiger’s motion for attorney’s fees, finding that Monsarrat had objectively reasonable infringement and timeliness arguments and that Zaiger’s motion was untimely, coming beyond the two-week period of time laid out in FRCP 54.  Finally, Judge Saris noted that Zaiger’s conduct had been “unduly nasty.”  Zaiger, who was accused of altering the photograph to associate Monsarrat with pedophilia, indicated his intention to repost the offensive photograph, and had filed the photograph to the public record before the Court could rule on Monsarrat’s known objections.

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