Can you sue an anonymous person who is defaming you online? An Arizona Superior Court judge recently ruled “yes,” it is possible to get an injunction against an unidentified person who is engaging in online anonymous defamation.
In a precedent setting case, a group of attorneys represented by Kelly Warner Law brought an action against an unnamed attorney hater who used the Internet to spread tall tales. What made the case atypical was the lack of information the plaintiffs had on the defendants — they only had the culprit’s phony online usernames.
Anonymous Defamation Lawsuit: Background
Several months ago, a tech-savvy bounder besmirched a handful of lawyers on several websites. The statements posted were false and vile. Being well-versed in the ways of online obfuscation, in addition to using aliases, the legal heckler connected to the Internet via a virtual private network (VPN). The VPN hid the perpetrator’s actual IP address, which made it impossible to identify the offending party. After all, filing a lawsuit without knowing the defendant’s name(s) is difficult – especially a defamation lawsuit.
Thwarted by the defendant’s effective online privacy protections, the lawyers found themselves at an impasse. They had originally subpoenaed the defamer’s service provider for information, only to discover the user worked behind a VPN. Then they tried to get identifying information from the VPN service, but were denied. Not willing to throw in the gavel, the lawyers turned to Kelly Warner – a respected AV-rated law firm that focuses on Internet defamation cases – to devise a legal solution.
Daniel Warner filed a motion listing the available identifying information about the defendants – their online aliases.
Anonymous Defamation Lawsuit: Arizona Court Ruling
The Arizona court agreed with the plaintiffs’ arguments and handed down a comprehensive ruling in favor of the claimants. The judge issued a permanent injunction against the anonymous defendant that forbids him or her from defaming the plaintiffs and their employees. The court also ordered that any defamatory material currently online be taken down. Lastly, the Maricopa County Superior Court left the door open for the plaintiffs to seek monetary damages down the road “when and if they deem it appropriate.”
Kelly Warner successfully handled this anonymous online defamation lawsuit – we can do the same for you. Get in touch today to begin the conversation.
Did the California Supreme Court inadvertently create a cottage industry that will allow for easy trafficking of PII (Personally Identifiable Information)? In a little discussed case, California’s highest court ruled that music e-tailers (i.e., Apple, et al) are not subject to data collection parameters outlined in the state’s Credit Card Act.
California’s Credit Card Act
Passed in 1971, California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act established regulations for credit card privacy. Specifically, the law forbids retailers from collecting the zip codes and other identifying information from consumers.
Why The California Supreme Court Said E-Tailers Are Exempt From The Credit Card Act
Since an actual card cannot be inspected in an online marketplace, to ensure a secure checkout, e-tailers use other signals (like zip codes) to authenticate a card. As such, the Song-Beverly Act made it extremely difficult for online retailers to properly authentic credit cards online, without breaking the law.
Writing for the majority, Justice Goodwin Liu reasoned that the “legislature did not intend to achieve privacy protection without regard to exposing consumers and retailers to undue risk of fraud.”
Not everyone on the bench agreed with Liu’s position. Justice Joyce L. Kennard dissented:
“Internet retailers are free to demand personal identification information from their credit-card-using customers and to resell that information to others. The majority’s decision is a major win for these sellers, but a major loss for consumers, who in their online activities already face an ever-increasing encroachment upon their privacy.”
Regardless of your stance, legal precedence in California asserts that music e-tailers are now exempt from certain privacy parameters outlined in the state’s Credit Card Act.
If you’re an online business in need of a law firm that deals in Internet law, get in touch with Kelly / Warner today.