Citation Edit

Dendrite Int'l, Inc. v. John Doe No. 3, 342 N.J. Super. 134, 775 A.2d 756 (2001)(full-text).

Factual Background Edit

A corporation alleged defamation by multiple Doe defendants on a Yahoo! message board and sought expedited discovery in order to learn their identities.

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

The New Jersey appellate court set forth a four-part test to ensure that plaintiffs do not use discovery to “harass, intimidate or silence critics in the public forum opportunities presented by the Internet.”[1] First, the plaintiff must make an effort to notify the anonymous poster that he or she is the subject of a subpoena or application for a disclosure order, giving a reasonable time for the poster to file opposition. Second, the plaintiff must set forth the specific statements that are alleged to be actionable. Third, the plaintiff must produce sufficient evidence to state a prima facie cause of action. If this showing is made, then the final step should be undertaken: to balance the strength of that prima facie case against the defendant's First Amendment right to speak anonymously.[2]

The appellate court affirmed the trial court's denial of the discovery application, as the corporate plaintiff had failed to produce evidence that any decline in its stock price had been caused by the offensive messages.

References Edit

  1. 342 N.J. Super. at 771.
  2. Id. at 760-61.

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