Cover of All the King's MenIn Parish of Jefferson & Steve Theriot v. John Does 1-100 (24th Jud. Dist. Case No. 687191), the interim president of a La. political subdivision has sued for defamation and subpoenaed www.NOLA.com, the Web affiliate of the New Orleans Times-Picayune daily newspaper, for the identities of 11 anonymous bloggers who have commented on news stories about Theriot and a scandal that has wracked the parish. Neither the newspaper nor the Website are parties to the suit.
According to items on the NOLA site and the blog, http://slabbed.wordpress.com, the lawsuit, which the government entity is funding, seeks, by subpoena, to identify pseudonymous commenters on the NOLA Website, including watchout41, jpigpen4, fauxu, taxesfortim, riverbirch, and viewfromhell, the latter who allegedly labeled Theriot in a comment "another Jefferson Parish politician thug mobster."
The plaintiffs' petition includes a count for defamation alleging that the anonymous posters' comments have harmed plaintiffs' reputation and standing in the community. The Times-Picayune has not commented other than to confirm that its attorneys are reviewing the subpoena.
"TUOL" 's crack research team is unfamiliar with Louisiana law (though has read All the King's Men and seen the movie with Broderick Crawford), but is puzzled because government entities cannot be libeled. Not sure how Jefferson Parish's reputation and standing can be harmed in the community, when Jefferson Parish is the community. Theriot can sue for libel, but as a public official, has a high bar of proof over which to hurdle.
The case would seem to be a candidate for an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) claim.