New York Decision Denying Discovery of Doe Critics Casts Broad Doubts on Libel Suits over Consumer Reviews
by Paul Alan Levy
The Appellate Division in New York has today affirmed the denial of a pre-litigation petition brought by Woodbridge Structured Funding seeking to compel Opinion Corp. to provide identifying information about the authors of two critical consumer reviews on its Pissed Consumer site.
Represented by Ron Coleman, Opinion Corp. invoked the First Amendment’s protection for anonymous speech and theconsensus requirement that would-be plaintiffs be required to present evidence in support of their claims, but the appeals court decided the case instead on the purely state-law ground that the consumer reviews lacked defamatory meaning.
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