People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Winograd

January 24, 2019

(Alameda County Superior Court, January 24, 2019)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sought to learn the identity of confidential whistleblower informants who had corroborated reporting by Citizen Journalist/Blogger/Activist Nathan Winograd concerning PETA’s practices of killing animals. Winograd successfully asserted his right to protect the confidentiality of his sources under the Reporter’s Shield of the California Constitution and the Reporter’s Privilege.

We are grateful to the Press Freedom Defense Fund for its support of Winograd’s defense in this important precedent-setting case.

Signature Management Team, LLC v. Doe

August 21, 2018

2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141459 (EDMI, August 21, 2018)

Applying the legal standard that the Sixth Circuit had previously announced in this case of first impression (see below), the District Court held that the anonymous blogger defendant was entitled to maintain his anonymity, even though the Court had previously determined that the blogger had infringed plaintiff’s copyright.

Order Granting Motion Maintaining Anonymity

Colman et al. v. Theranos, Inc. et al.

June 13, 2018

(N.D. Cal. June 13, 2018)

Jigsaw Productions (Alex Gibney and Jessie Deeter, filmmakers), intervened and persuaded the Court on First Amendment grounds to permit public access to videotaped deposition testimony of Elizabeth Holmes and other witnesses in securities class actions and SEC proceedings against Theranos.

Signature Management Team, LLC v. Doe

November 28, 2017

876 F.3d. 831 (6th Cir., Nov 28, 2017)

In an important case of first impression, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that an anonymous speaker defendant may be able to preserve his anonymity even after plaintiff wins a judgment against him.  This decision is a very helpful precedent for the protection of the First Amendment right to anonymous speech.  On remand to the district court, Doe (represented by Koltun) successfully argued on remand (see above) that the factors outlined in this decision warrant continuing to protect his anonymity.

Opinion of the Court of Appeal

Jewel v. NSA; First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA

(N.D. Cal. 2013), November 18, 2013

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 13 other news organizations seek to join as amici curiae in support of lawsuits to bar National Security Agency”s wholesale surveillance of Americans.

Amicus Curiae Brief of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and others (FUC)

Amici Curiae Brief of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and others (Jewel)

The underlying lawsuits were brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Non-Party Movants v. Chevron Corp. (Chevron Corp. v. Donziger)

(2nd Cir. 2013), November 7, 2013

Human Rights Watch, Automattic Inc. (WordPress), anonymous bloggers and online activists file amici curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit, arguing that foreigners using American blogging platforms have a First Amendment right to anonymity.  In the underlying litigation, the anonymous speakers were represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Amici Brief of Human Rights Watch, et al.

Hodge v. East Bay Express et. al.

2013 Cal. App. Unpub. Lexis 2892, April 25, 2013

California Court of Appeals upholds the granting of anti-SLAPP motion in favor of the East Bay Express.  Joshua Koltun represented the East Bay Express, its columnist Robert Gammon, and editor Steve Buel.

Court of Appeals Decision

Does v. Arnett

2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107791 (C.D. Cal. August 1, 2012), September 10, 2012

Court retains jurisdiction of Does’ declaratory relief action on Copyright and DMCA misconduct.

Art of Living Foundation v. Does

2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95489 (July 9, 2012), July 9, 2012

Case settles.  Plaintiff Art of Living dismisses case with prejudice.  Anonymous bloggers agree to freeze blogs without removing content and without disclosing identities.  Nothing in settlement prevents bloggers from creating new blogs or posting content on other blogs.  Defendant bloggers pay nothing, and Plaintiff Art of Living Foundation pays defendant bloggers’ attorney fees.

Art of Living Foundation v. Does

2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159619; 40 Media L. Rep. 2429 (N.D. Cal. May 9, 2012), May 9, 2012

Court refuses to order disclosure of bloggers identity, closes discovery, and sets case for trial. Blogger allowed to go to trial anonymously.

Minute Order CMC