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In re Lazaridis, No. 10–CV–00029, 2011 BL 224965 (D.N.J. Sept. 1, 2011) The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granted a motion to quash a subpoena duces tecum for postings to an online forum, finding that the posters' First Amendment rights outweighed the petitioner's need for the information, and that producing it would be unduly burdensome.
Subpoena Sought for User InformationEmmanuel Lazaridis alleged that he was the complainant and civil participant in a Greek criminal prosecution for defamation against several U.S. citizens. Lazaridis petitioned the court under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for discovery from the Bring Sean Home Foundation ("BSHF"), a non-profit corporation based in New Jersey that assists victims of international child abduction. According to the court, BSHF, which was run on a part-time volunteer basis, maintained a website with over 40 forums containing thousands of individual posts. Lazaridis filed an ex parte petition with the district court for discovery on BSHF. The court issued an order allowing Lazaridis to serve a subpoena duces tecum on BSHF for all documents concerning (1) Lazaridis (2) members of BSHF's website with certain specified user names, (3) the National Centre for Missing in Europe Children, and (4) certain BSHF messages, including authorization, error, and download logs. After it was served, BSHF filed a motion to quash the subpoena.
The cost and burden to BSHF, when weighed against the lack of a showing of actual need or relevance of the information sought, coupled with the First Amendment rights that are necessarily implicated, leads this Court to conclude that enforcement of the Subpoena would create an undue burden on BSHF.Id. Accordingly the court granted the motion to quash the subpoena. Disclaimer This document and any discussions set forth herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice, which has to be addressed to particular facts and circumstances involved in any given situation. Review or use of the document and any discussions does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author or publisher. To the extent that this document may contain suggested provisions, they will require modification to suit a particular transaction, jurisdiction or situation. Please consult with an attorney with the appropriate level of experience if you have any questions. Any tax information contained in the document or discussions is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code. Any opinions expressed are those of the author. The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. and its affiliated entities do not take responsibility for the content in this document or discussions and do not make any representation or warranty as to their completeness or accuracy. ©2014 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All rights reserved. Bloomberg Law Reports ® is a registered trademark and service mark of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
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