Court Refuses to Enjoin Plaintiff from Posting Her Own Deposition Online

Start at Black v. FriedrichsenYesterday, Judge Theresa L. Springmann (N.D.) ruled in favor of the petition. Ind.Ind.

[C]Ornsel for the Defendants found that portions of the Plaintiff’s deposition were recorded by her [in her Fair Housing Act case against Defendants]They were posted on social media without the knowledge of counsel. Counsel sent the Plaintiff an email asking for her permission to delete the videos. However, the Plaintiff said that counsel was not entitled to request the removal of my testimony. Shortly thereafter, the Plaintiff made several more postings on her social media account related to the case, including calling the Defendants liars, evil, and racist, among other things…. [T]he Defendants … request[] that the Court enjoin the Plaintiff from posting disparaging comments about the Defendants and their counsel on social media, order the removal of various social media posts and videos, and sanction the Plaintiff by terminating her case….

In their motion, the Defendants argue that a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction are proper because they are likely to succeed on the Plaintiff’s Fair Housing Act claims and the social media posts are causing irreparable harm to their reputation….

The Defendants have rightly stated that the First Amendment permits courts to limit the publication of civil discovery information. see, e.g., Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart (1984), they request a much broader injunction. They seek to stop the Plaintiff’s dissemination of her ideas. Owndeposition testimony. This is in addition to the deposition testimony of the Defendants. The Plaintiff must also take down any posts on social media that don’t contain pre-trial discovery materials. This order does not have to be tied to the First Amendment, as the Supreme Court has ruled. The long-held “tradition” that litigation is open for the public would be undermined. The Court considers these factors and concludes that the damage done to the reputations of the Defendants is less than the harm caused to Plaintiff’s reputations and in the public interest.