Coventry First, a company that buys life insurance policies in the hope that the seller will die soon enough to provide a good return on its investments, brought a trademark action against an anonymous consumer critic over her creation of a parodic Twitter page where the critic makes biting comments about the ghoulish side of the company’s business. Without filing a motion for leave to take early discovery, Coventry served a subpoena on Twitter seeking to identify the defendant. Public Citizen opposed the subpoena, arguing that seeking early discovery without court permission was a sanctionable violation of the rules of procedure, and that, in any event, Coventry could not meet the well-established Dendrite test for identifying anonymous speakers because its trademark claims were hopelessly deficient. Hours before the motion to quash was due to be filed, Coventry dismissed its lawsuit and withdrew the subpoena.
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