ZL Technologies, Inc. v. Does 1-7

Before a court may order a website to produce identifying information about an anonymous poster of information on the website, the plaintiff must establish a prima facie case, including, in a defamation case, proof of falsity of the posting’s allegedly defamatory statements.  Following Krinsky v. Doe 6, 159 Cal. App.  4th 1154 (2008), in part, this decision holds that before a court may order a website to produce identifying information about an anonymous poster of information on the website, the plaintiff must establish a prima facie case (including in a defamation case, proof of falsity of the facts stated in the anonymous posting).  Also, the plaintiff must have made reasonable efforts to notify the poster that he was being sued or subpoenaed, and plaintiff must set out in particular the statement it claims were defamatory.  But that is all.  The decision rejects a notion adopted in a New Jersey case that the court thereafter apply a balancing test to determine whether to order discovery.  Here, the plaintiff showed anonymous reviews of it by former employees on Glassdoor’s website contained defamatory statements of fact, and on remand it may be able to show they are false, at least prima facie, and thus be entitled to obtain the poster’s identifying information.

California Court of Appeals, First District, Division 4 (Rivera, Acting P.J.); July 19, 2017; 2017 WL 3048761

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