Monday, October 03, 2016

Doe v. Nikolay (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 29, 2016)

Plaintiff says that Nikolay had some naked/sex pictures of plaintiff and distributed them to others, as well as threatened to send them to plaintiff's employer.  So plaintiff sues, since in California there's an express cause of action for that.

Not surprisingly, plaintiff sues as a Doe, since plaintiff wants to remain confidential and not let the world know there are naked/sex pictures out there.  In California, there's an express statute that -- for good reason -- allows such claims to be filed as a Doe.  But the trial court finds out that the clerk has accidentally posted Doe's real name on a publicly-available document -- a mistake not of Doe, but of the court -- so says that Doe can't use a pseudonym anymore, since the cat's out of the bag.

The Court of Appeal reverses.  Rightly so, in my view.  It's a short opinion.  That's all it takes.  The fact that a clerk made a (reversible) mistake doesn't justify forcing Doe to make everything public at this point.  Instead, you should taken the mistakenly-published document off the court's web site and continue to let plaintiff use the word Doe.


One last thing, that might be a tiny bit surprising.

Defendant's Nikolay's first name is Poulet.  She's a woman.  And plaintiff is a John Doe.  So it's the guy in this case that doesn't want his naked/sex pictures circulated by a woman.

Not what you might have first thought, eh?

Not that that's at all relevant to the merits of the case, of course.  But I bet those particular gender roles are the minority of these types of cases.