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.
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