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Judge: Attorney can't sue using pseudonym

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A Northern District magistrate judge has again denied an attorney's motion to proceed with a lawsuit under a pseudonym, finding the type of injury the attorney may suffer as a result of suit doesn't rise to the level to justify anonymity.

This is the third time U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich has denied the attorney's motion to use a pseudonym in her lawsuit, Jane Noe v. Jennifer Carlos, et al., No. 2:08-cv-227. The court denied this latest motion Nov. 26.

The attorney was detained in January 2008 in a facility for people who may be mentally ill and dangerous or gravely disabled. She claims 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.

The attorney wants to proceed with her suit against Porter Memorial Hospital and its employees under the pseudonym Jane Noe to prevent her from public ridicule and embarrassment, and to protect her medical records.

The magistrate judge considered the factors in determining whether a plaintiff's interest in privacy is so significant as to outweigh the presumption of favoring public identification, as outlined in Doe v. Indiana Black Expo, Inc., 923 F. Supp. 131, 140, (S.D Ind. 1996), and ruled Noe didn't meet the factors to require anonymity. He also wrote that her medical records could be sealed.

Magistrate Judge Rodovich also noted the prejudice against the defendants in this case if the attorney is allowed to proceed with the pseudonym. Noe showed a lack of good judgment by sending surveys that explore the application of the Indiana Code under which she was detained to physicians working for the defendants, the magistrate judge wrote, adding in a footnote that her contact with the doctors under the guise of "psychological research" strongly suggests improper ex parte contact.

Noe's accusations against the defendants include their names in the caption and they, too, have an interest in their reputations.

"By her ex parte communications, Noe has shown the precise prejudice that the use of a pseudonym here would permit," he wrote.

The magistrate judge ordered Noe to file an amended complaint under her true name consistent with the rules or else her case would be dismissed. Noe has until Dec. 5 to file the amended complaint without the pseudonym.

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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  2. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

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  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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