December 14, 2011

Internet Law Firm Obtains Two Court Orders to Identify Anonymous Defamers

Kronenberger Rosenfeld has obtained two important court orders to assist the victim of anonymous online defamation in identifying the anonymous defendants.

Kronenberger Rosenfeld, representing the plaintiff, filed a John Doe lawsuit against anonymous defendants. The plaintiff alleged that the anonymous defendants had posted defamatory statements about him on a Facebook account and distributed those defamatory statements to his friends and family. After filing the lawsuit, Plaintiff obtained a court order allowing expedited discovery and served a subpoena on Facebook. In response to the subpoena, Facebook identified four IP addresses that had been used to post the defamatory comments. Three of the IP addresses are owned by Sprint and the fourth is owned by Time Warner Cable.

The plaintiff served subpoenas on Sprint and Time Warner to obtain the account information associated with these IP addresses. In response to the subpoena to Time Warner, a pseudonymous party, “Jane Doe,” moved to quash the subpoena. In response to the subpoena to Sprint, Sprint responded that it could not produce the requested information without a court order or consent from the consumer under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1985.3 and Public Utilities Code section 2891. Kronenberger Rosenfeld, on behalf of the plaintiff, moved the Court to enforce both of the subpoenas.

On December 13, 2011, the San Francisco Superior Court issued two orders allowing the plaintiff to enforce both of the subpoenas. First, the Court issued an order denying Jane Doe’s motion to quash the subpoena to Time Warner. The Court found that the plaintiff was entitled to the discovery at issue, and that Jane Does’ objections were without merit. Second, the Court issued an order requiring Sprint to respond to the subpoena.

These are two important orders regarding discovery into the sources of anonymous online defamation.

Turner v. Does, Case No. CGC-11-512960 (San Francisco Superior Court).

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