Doe Wins Motion to Unseal, impotent Bodes Well for Preservation of Anonymity | Stanford Center for Internet and Society [beta site]

H.B. Fuller v. Doe is a case my Cyberlaw Clinic students and I have been working on for a year or so. Today we had some good news. The Sixth District Court of Appeal in California has granted our client John Doe’s motion to unseal records. In the trial court, artificial Doe and Fuller stipulated to sealing documents Fuller claimed contained confidential information. On appeal, we moved to unseal the records in the appellate court because they do not contain confidential information. The appellate court agreed in this published opinion.

This conclusion could lead to a great outcome. Allowing companies to bring employee breach of contract claims based on conclusory allegations of confidentiality could really threaten anonymous speech. The case law clearly establishes a right to anonymous speech and a burden on plaintiffs to make some showing of wrongdoing before enforcing subpoenas for identity information, but exactly what that burden of proof is and what evidence is sufficient is still being fleshed out in the courts, including through cases like Fuller v. Doe.

For more about the case, visit the Fuller v. Doe page