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Supreme Court denies Star appeal in online commenter case

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The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday denied transfer in The Indianapolis Star’s appeal of an order that it identify a person who posted an anonymous online comment that has been included in a defamation suit.

The order had been temporarily stayed in Jeffrey M. Miller, et al. v. Junior Achievement, et al., 49A02-1211-PL-898. A divided Court of Appeals panel last week dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to intervene. In its two-page order, Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote for the court, “Jurisdiction, to the extent it exists in this matter, remains with the Court of Appeals.”

Star attorney and Barnes & Thornburg partner Jan Carroll said in an email the court’s order means “we have to await the Court of Appeals ruling on the petition for rehearing.”

Meantime, Miller’s attorney, Betz & Blevins partner Kevin Betz, said stays that had been issued and extended to prevent enforcement of a trial court subpoena requiring the Star to identify the commenter have expired.

“At this point, The Indianapolis Star, we believe, is in contempt of the subpoena,” Betz said Friday.  

Marion Superior Judge S.K. Reid ordered that the Star disclose to Miller the identity of a commenter on its website whose screen name was DownWithTheColts, and the Star appealed.

Miller, former CEO of Junior Achievement of Indiana, sued multiple parties for defamation and sought to add people, including DownWithTheColts, who made anonymous comments on news organization websites that ran stories about Miller and J.A.


 

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