Attorney again denied use of pseudonym in suit

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A northern Indiana attorney who filed a lawsuit against Porter Memorial Hospital and its employees following her involuntary detention has once again lost her battle to proceed using a pseudonym instead of her real name.

This is the fourth time the federal court has denied the motion of "Jane Noe" seeking permission to use an alias in her litigation. The attorney was detained in January 2008 in a facility for people who may be mentally ill and dangerous or gravely disabled. She claimed she was held beyond the 72-hour limit, forced to undress for a physical examination, forced to teleconference with her parents, and denied an initial examination with the staff psychiatrist until after a day had passed.

Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich had previously denied Noe's motion three times and required her to proceed with the lawsuit using her real name; Judge James T. Moody issued the fourth order denying her motion earlier this week in Jane Noe v. Jennifer Carlos, et al., No. 2:08-cv-227.

Judge Moody ruled Noe's objections to the Nov. 26, 2008, order by the magistrate were untimely because she failed to get her filing in within 10 days of service. The judge still considered her objections for "plain" error because of the gravity of the ultimate issue, he wrote.

One of Noe's main arguments was Magistrate Rodovich's Nov. 26 ruling was contrary to law because it was issued before her reply in support of her motion was due, thereby depriving her of the opportunity to be fully heard in support of her motion. But again Noe miscalculated a deadline by excluding weekends. Noe believed she had until Dec. 1, 2008, based on Fed. R. Civ. P. 6, to file her reply to an Oct. 30 initial response by the defendants; it was actually due Nov. 10.

In response to the defendant's supplemental response filed Nov. 13, Noe should have been allowed seven days to file an additional reply, which would have fallen on Dec. 1 because of Thanksgiving Day, wrote the judge. Even though Magistrate Rodovich issued his order without giving Noe a full seven days to file a reply to the Nov. 13 supplement, it didn't prejudice Noe, wrote Judge Moody. It's clear the magistrate's ruling would have been the same even if he had not considered the supplemental response.

Noe believed she should be allowed to litigate anonymously because she says her future employment prospects will be severely impacted - especially in the legal community - because of the stigmatization of individuals with mental illness. She also argued there are many published cases allowing a person to proceed under a pseudonym; however, none of the cases she cited were in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

But Noe's arguments fail because in the 7th Circuit, litigation under a pseudonym is strongly disfavored and must be conducted using the parties' real names unless exceptional circumstances are present, wrote Judge Moody.

"Although plaintiff believes that her profession makes this the exceptional case, that would mean that every attorney litigating a case involving alleged mental illness could do so anonymously, and that is certainly not the law, at least in this circuit," the judge wrote.

Noe has until May 1, 2009, to comply with Magistrate Rodovich's order by filing an amended complaint that doesn't use a pseudonym. Failure to do so will result in a dismissal of this action, beginning the time for Noe to take an appeal, should she so choose.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

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  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.