The OC Sheriff’s department staked out an FFFF outpost last week to deliver a subpoena demanding that fullertonsfuture.org produce information identifying one of our anonymous commenters.
Cheryl Sanders, currently a “Real Property Specialist” for the City of Anaheim, is suing (see complaint) one or more John Does who allegedly defamed her in anonymous comments on FFFF and a few other sites. The blog comments claim that the Anaheim planning department is taking bribes under the table, call for an investigation and state that Cheryl Sanders should be “brought to justice.”
Of course, Sanders’ suit against the commenter claims that all of these statements are false and were made with the intent to emotionally harm her.
But back to the matter at hand: Cheryl’s initial demand for FFFF to identify the commenter was denied. We don’t disclose our logs to anyone. So what should we do with the subpoena?
The Friends have a soft spot for the anonymous horde of commenters that visit our humble blog and we’d hate to see any of them get pushed around by a litigious public employee. On the other hand, making false statements with the intent to harm is a legal no-no, and the alleged victim should have her day in court. But the actual comment that was left on FFFF was vague, uninspired, and hardly defamatory in my professional opinion (it was removed pending the outcome of the case, but that was pointless since you can now view it on the last page of the subpoena.) Truthfully, this blog is disinclined to acquiesce to the court’s request, but we’d like to consider the opinions of the armchair attorneys that frequent our blog before we proceed.
And it’s worth noting that in over two years and 350,000 words, none of our own bloggers have ever been sued for libel. Why not? Because you can’t sue if it’s true.