In DirecTV v. Adkins, Judge Jones of the W.D. Va. denied the motions of some of the local defendants sued by DirecTV to be severed from the rest of the bunch. The opinion notes that different districts have taken different views on this issue. Compare, e.g., DIRECTV v. Loussaert, 218 F.R.D. 639, 642-43 (S.D. Iowa 2003) (requiring severance of defendants), with DIRECTV, Inc. v. Hosey, No. CIV.A.03-2278-GTV, 2003 WL 22463055, at *2 (D. Kan. Sept. 11, 2003) (denying severance).
I would suspect that the Court revisit this issue if other and better facts were presented - e.g., if DirecTV admits that it got the plaintiffs' names in different ways, and the proof as to different defendants will involve widely different stories. On the other hand, if all the Southwest Virginia names came from the same source, maybe joinder/consolidation is the right thing.