Case of the Day: In re Application of Ontario Principals’ Council
Posted on December 4, 2013
The case of the day is In re Application of Ontario Principals’ Council (N.D. Cal. 2013). The Ontario Principals’ Council, Gordana Stefulic, Vivian Mavrou, and Varla Abrams were plaintiffs in a Canadian defamation action. The allegation was that anonymous or pseudonymous internet users had posted defamatory comments on websites such as Topix. The plaintiffs sought leave to serve a subpoena on Topix in order to identify the supposed tortfeasors.
The magistrate judge conducted an Intel analysis. The factors favored the subpoena: Topix was not a party to the Canadian case; the evidence would assist the Canadian court in assessing the claims; there was no evidence of an attempt to circumvent Canadian proof-gathering mechanisms. The judge therefore granted the application.
The plaintiffs also sought an injunction enjoining Topix from notify its users of the subpoena. The judge correctly rejected this request for a prior restraint of speech without much analysis. That’s one I haven’t seen before.