Thursday, February 14, 2008

AutoAdmit Libel Case Moves Forward

We read:

"Federal judge approves request to subpoena ISPs for clues to anonymous posters' identities

Two Yale Law School students suing for defamation against anonymous users on the online legal community AutoAdmit made an important stride this week toward unmasking their attackers. A federal judge in New Haven granted their request Tuesday to subpoena Internet service providers in the hopes of identifying the users.

Since sexually explicit and derogatory posts targeting three female Yale Law students appeared on the Web forum in 2005, two students, who are unnamed in the suit, filed against the 39 authors of the allegedly defamatory posts.

The suit claims that the postings, which bore the students' full names and some of which linked to their pictures, caused emotional distress and cost one of the students a job offer. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified actual and special damages from the defendants, on top of $245,400 in punitive damages.

To prevent companies from filing suits as a means of discovering the identities of anonymous posters in order to harass them - as initially occurred when these cases first appeared with employees criticizing their companies on Yahoo! message boards - Morris said plaintiffs must now demonstrate a valid claim before a judge will grant subpoenas.

"Being anonymous online will not protect you if you libel or defame someone," Morris said. "But a mere claim is not enough to breach anonymity. That protects anonymity from inappropriate harassment and protects the ability to speak and criticize."

If the plaintiffs succeed in outing the defendants, they still have a regular libel case to pursue.


It would be great if the scum -- budding lawyers -- who did their best to defame and destroy these innocent women were traced and prosecuted.

Previous posts on this on June 18, 2007 and June 5th. 2007