No Pseudonymity as to PTSD-Based Lawsuit About City Siren

Starting at Doe v. City of LudingtonJudge Hala Jarbou (W.D.) ruled today in favor of the petition. Mich.)

Anonymously, plaintiffs sued the City of Ludington over the relocation and reconnection of a siren located in Copeyan Park downtown Ludington. The move allegedly increased Plaintiff John Doe’s posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), from two tours of service in Afghanistan and one in Iraq as part of the American Armed Forces. Plaintiffs assert that Plaintiff John Doe has been violated by the City in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Federal Fair Housing Act. They claim the City refused to allow Plaintiffs reasonable accommodation, such as using the siren only for emergency situations. Plaintiffs also allege pendant state claims for nuisance, city code violations, and a request for injunctive relief….

Presumption of open proceedings in judicial proceedings begins the court process. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure usually require that all parties be named in a complaint. Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a). A plaintiff may proceed anonymously only in exceptional circumstances …. Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that their privacy interests substantially outweigh the presumption in favor of open judicial proceedings….

Fears that they will be stigmatized and/or damaged reputations by others are not sufficient to justify open judicial proceedings. These fears are insufficient to justify an exception. This is particularly true in this case, since the identities of Plaintiffs are known. {Justin Cooper, Copeyon park Siren approves City Settlement talksLudington News, Mar. 15, 2022), [URL].} The public interest in guaranteeing open access to judicial proceedings requires a heavy basis to overcome…. The Court of Justice’s proceedings must be made public. This is one of its essential characteristics. … Plaintiffs have failed to meet this burden….

In order to move forward with litigation, Plaintiffs will need to file an amended petition in full name within seven days after the Date of this Order. If they fail to comply, the Court may dismiss the case for lack of prosecution….

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The Complaint provides more information about the case.