TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Monday, June 16, 2008

Judge Permits Discovery of Anonymous AutoAdmit Poster

Two Yale law students have sued various posters at AutoAdmit for defamation and other torts.  One of them, "AK47," sought permission to proceed anonymously and to quash (based on free speech grounds) a subpoena seeking his identity.  The trial court judge denied the motion: Download 08.06.13 Ruling on Doe 21's Motion to Quash & Motion to Proceed Anonymously.pdf [PDF]

AK47 did not previously have counsel; the court appointed pro bono counsel.  Prior to that, AK47 sent the plaintiffs a letter:

On February 25, 2008, the plaintiffs’ counsel received a letter and a motion to quash 
signed by “John Doe 21, a.k.a. ‘AK47.’” In the letter, Doe 21 admitted to posting the statement “Women named Jill and [Doe II] should be raped.” Doe 21 also threatened to create a website on which he would track the pending litigation, detail the allegations, feature the actual names of the plaintiffs, and also solicit comments on whether the alleged comments on AutoAdmit were true.

He also stated he would send links to this website to Yale and other university students, as well as posting a link on AutoAdmit.  The ostensible purpose of such a website was to formulate his defense to this action, although he also admitted it would likely be harmful to the plaintiffs.  Doe21's letter stated he would not take such actions if he were dropped from the lawsuit.


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