Judge subpoenas “Anonymous” blogger to appear

I put this in my “scratch my head” and go “hmmm…” category, just because I have never seen this before.

A judge in New York as subpoenaed an anonymous blogger who goes by the pseudonym “Alfred Little“.  A Chinese consumer products company has sued “Alfred Little” for defamation an for blog posts he has written accusing Deer Consumer Products  of fraudulent transactions, which resulted in a drop in share prices.  Deer is seeking damages amounting to $100 million for lost in trade revenue, according to the Chicago Tribune.

What makes this case interesting is the fact that the blogger is anonymous.  In most cases, the most difficult part of going after an anonymous defendant is finding the defendant.  Most of the time it involves hiring forensic investigators to search IP addresses to find the defendant.  This can be expensive and time consuming.  The plaintiff would have to spend a lot of money merely to find out who they are actually suing.  Unless you have the means to actually find the defendant, you cannot subpoena him.

In this case, the defendant hired counsel, which means they established contact with the court system.  This means that through his attorney, “Alfred Little” is a known entity, and can be subpoenaed through his attorney.  That may be his downfall, however, there is still grounds for appeal.   The trick is, if he actually answers his subpoena and appears, his cover is blown.   If he does not appear, “Little” can be fined and put in jail for contempt… that is, if someone can actually find him.  His actual identity is still covered under attorney-client privilege, and it appears his attorney is the only person who actually knows who “Alfred Little” really is.

About James Skyles

James Skyles is the Owner and Principal Attorney at Skyles Law Group, LLC. He is a 2008 graduate of Ave Maria School of Law, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Prior to graduation from Ave Maria, James earned his bachelors degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. James also holds a Certificate in Advanced European and Global Practice(Summa cum Laude) from Central European University in Budapest Hungary. Prior to founding Skyles Law Group, James was the General Counsel for the Franklin Center for Government Integrity, a nationally recognized pioneer in the field of online journalism. James is licensed attorney in State of Illinois, and is a member of the American Bar Assocation, the Illinois State Bar Association, The Chicago Bar Assocation, the Asian American Bar Association, and the Phi Alpha Delta National Law Fraternity. Aside from his legal work, James also has a passion for Italian gelato, and creates recipes as a hobby. He plans on publishing a book on the history of ice cream.

Posted on May 14, 2012, in anonymous bloggers, blogging, blogs, defamation, News, Open Internet and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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