Shelby Resorts v. Doe

A company that sells vacation timeshare stays and its president sued an anonymous person who created a web site, using the domain name shelbyresortsscam.com, that claimed that the company is a fraud in that it does not have legitimate ownership of timeshares that that its buyers are subject to being denied the stays for which they pay money.  Plaintiffs obtained an ex parte temporary restraining order, and the case file has been maintained under seal, on the ground that the web site is defamatory and the whole idea of the lawsuit is to suppress the criticisms.  Public Citizen is seeking leave to intervene for the limited purpose of having the case file unsealed, arguing that the threat to plaintiffs’ reputation is not a valid reason for sealing, and that, in any event, a preliminary injunction against allegedly defamatory expression is an unconstitutional prior restraint.