Bloggers Win Attorney Fees
A California lawsuit seeking to unmask four anonymous bloggers has resulted in an order requiring the plaintiff to pay the bloggers' attorney fees. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation blog Deep Links reports, former rabbi Mordecai Tendler had filed suit in Santa Clara Superior Court against the "John Doe" bloggers after they wrote about allegations that he had sexually abused women he had counseled. When lawyers from EFF and Public Citizen came to the bloggers' defense, asking the court to strike the complaint as meritless, Tendler voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit.
But in a ruling issued Thursday, the court said Tendler's dismissal did not get him off the hook for the bloggers' attorney fees. "A plaintiff may not avoid liability for attorney fees and costs by voluntarily dismissing an action while a special motion to strike is pending," Judge Neal A. Cabrinha wrote.
At the Deep Links blog, EFF's Corynne McSherry sums up the case:
Lawsuits like this one are too often designed as an excuse for a court-ordered investigation into the identity of anonymous speakers. If the speakers fight back, however, the plaintiffs simply withdraw their meritless claims, content in the knowledge that at least they have made life a little more difficult for their critics by forcing them to hire attorneys to defend themselves.
Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 17, 2006 at 05:59 PM | Permalink
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