Thursday, October 06, 2005

[consider this story embargoed for now. i'd revised it earlier today, to correct factual errors, and i'm only seeing the previous version now. will fix when i get back to the office. 5:30 pm friday.]
[7 pm update: I had rewritten the article earlier today to correct factual errors, but apparently didn't hit the publish button, and the corrected version vanished somewhere. So the story as it stands is unreliable, awaiting revision.]
MEANWHILE, there's a report the Cahills were arrested today, for mowing their lawn.
The Delaware Supreme Court has issued a ruling pdf in Cahill v Doe, about the standard used for discovery of anonymous libelous internet speech. While this is a victory for David Finger and Paul Alan Levy, and correctly sets out a good legal theory, it gets the facts wrong and reaches the wrong decision. Hat tip my brother Bill, via Declan's Politech list.
Article/rant to follow when I have more time.

this part is written on the fly, and may be adjusted later - i have to run to a tax sale.

You could read the opinion, and the public citizen/eff release, and have no idea what the case was about.

Doe is almost certainly the mayor of smyrna (leaving out the part about whether he rigged and stole the election using faked absentee ballots - that case is still going on.)
He lives next door to the Cahills, and has been making their lives miserable for years.
As John Does number 2, 3 and 4, he published a series of
false malicious and defamatory statements about the cahills,
and invaded their privacy by revealing sensitive medical information.
He [they] said, for example, that she sleeps around, that their marriage is over because of his disease, and so forth and so on.
These allegations are spelled out in the complaint and should taken as true for the purposes of a summary judgment motion.
His statements as john doe #1 are not in themselves defamatory - the discovery at issue is about proving that john doe #1 is the mayor, in support of their claim john does 2-4 are also the mayor , which can be shown via traffic analysis, his distinctive writing style and so forth - it's an issue of fact for the jury.
While the case sets the correct legal standard, it is wrong and does an injustice, and we should be very careful in citing to it.
Cordially, Robbin Stewart.
NewsJournal article. Reaction from the blog where it started.
Smoking gun? The top line of this document lists a name "Ruby Schaefer".
One theory, new to me, is that Does 2-4 were not the mayor, but were members of family.

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