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Pageo v. Linda G. Doe

A jewelry store and its owner filed suit in Boston Municipal Court against an anonymous Yelp user who complained about the store online. The plaintiffs then issued a  Massachusetts state court subpoena to Yelp commanding it to provide information identifying the user.  Yelp objected to the subpoena, invoking the user’s First Amendment right to speak anonymously and pointing out that the plaintiffs has presented no evidence showing that the reviews were false. The jewelers move to enforce the subpoena. Representing Yelp, Public Citizen opposed the motion and asked the Massachusetts court to follow the line of cases, begun in Dendrite v. Doe, that require plaintiffs to support their claimed discovery with evidence, not just allegations. We also argued that Yelp should have been subpoenaed in California, where it is headquartered and where the requirement of presenting evidence is established under previous court decisions.  The trial judge enforced the subpoena, and Yelp complied rather than seeking appellate review.