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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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