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Jones v. Doe

Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - Right To Speak Anonymously

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A member of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers anonymously created a Facebook page for “Lord Newton B. Jones, Monarch,” making fun of Jones, the president of the union, over his having a high salary and several members on the union payroll as well as having succeeded his father in office. Jones filed suit in state court in Kansas, claiming that the page “impersonated” and defamed him, then served a subpoena on Facebook in Sacramento, California, seeking to identify the union member. Representing the member, we moved in California Superior Court to quash the subpoena, arguing that a parody constitutes neither defamation nor “impersonation,” and that Jones did not met the well-established test for overcoming the First Amendment right to speak anonymously. Jones withdrew his subpoena and dismissed the original proceeding in Kansas. “All matters were settled, including attorney fees.”