Dendrite International v. Does

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

05/24/2000

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

New Jersey

Disposition: 

Subpoena Quashed

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Dendrite International, a company that developed and serviced software for the pharmaceutical industry, brought a John Doe lawsuit in New Jersey state court against fourteen unnamed defendants for critical messages they posted on Yahoo! message boards. Dendrite claimed the messages were defamatory... read full description
Parties

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Dendrite International, Inc.

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Does 1-14

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • New Jersey

Legal Counsel: 

Eugene G. Reynolds, Wacks, Mullen & Kartzman LLC (Defendant/Respondent John Doe No. 3); Paul Alan Levy, Public Citizen (Amici Curiae); J. S. Salyer, ACLU (Amici Curiae)
Description

Dendrite International, a company that developed and serviced software for the pharmaceutical industry, brought a John Doe lawsuit in New Jersey state court against fourteen unnamed defendants for critical messages they posted on Yahoo! message boards. Dendrite claimed the messages were defamatory and revealed trade secrets, and they sought permission from the court to take discovery from Yahoo regarding the identity of certain of the anonymous posters.

The trial court allowed Dendrite to conduct limited discovery to find out the identities of John Does 1 and 2, who were current or former employees of the company, but rejected its request for an order compelling Yahoo to identify John Doe 3.

Dendrite appealed, and the New Jersey appellate court affirmed the lower court's ruling. In its opinion, the court set out guidelines for lower courts to follow when faced with a request for an order compelling an ISP to reveal the identity of an anonymous Internet poster. The court developed a five-part test: (1) the plaintiff must make efforts to notify the anonymous poster and allow a reasonable time for him/her to respond; (2) the plaintiff must identify the exact statements made by the poster; (3) the complaint must set forth a prima facie cause of action; (4) the plaintiff must bring forth sufficient evidence for each element of its claim; and (5) the court must balance the defendant's First Amendment right of anonymous free speech against the strength of the prima facie case presented and the necessity for the disclosure of the anonymous defendant's identity.

Applying the standard to the facts of the case, the appellate court held that Dendrite had failed to produce sufficient evidence for each element of its defamation claim, because it had not produced evidence of harm resulting from John Doe 3's statements.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
  • Trade Secrets
  • Anonymity
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • New Jersey

Source of Law: 

  • New Jersey

Court Name: 

Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division; Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

Court Type: 

State

Case Number: 

MRS C-129-00 (Superior Court); A-2774-00T3 (Appellate)

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

CMLP Notes: 

alison editing