Friday, March 4, 2011

Miller Time: Judge Orders Indy Papers to ID Anonymous Posters

HeadquartersImage via WikipediaIndiana's shield law [Ind. Code sec. 34-46-1,2] does not protect newspapers from having to disclose information to enable a defamation plaintiff to identify anonymous bloggers as potential defendants, Marion County Superior Court Judge S.K. Reid has ruled, according to an article in the online edition of The Indianapolis Star (

Both the Star and the Indianapolis Business Journal must turn over data, such as Internet protocol addresses, to former long-time Junior Achievement ("JA") head Jeffrey Miller and his spouse, who are suing current JA executive Jennifer Burk, Central Indiana Community Foundation ("CICF") President Brian Payne, and their respective organizations for defamation. Miller subpoenaed the two newspapers, along with WRTV Channel 6, to disclose the identities of anonymous commenters, whose posts, the plaintiffs claim, defamed them.

Among the anonymous comments that the plaintiffs claim are actionable include an accusation that Miller "most likely [committed] a criminal act," that he is "the most greedy man I've ever known," and that "somebody needs to call the state's attorney general and investigate him [Miller]." 

Judge Reid is expected to rule on the subpoena against the television station next week.

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