New York court orders Twitter to disclose information on a twitter account

Lemon Juice, a New York resident, was arrested for allegedly posting in twitter account LemonJuice@moseh718 pictures taken during a trial when the judge had forbidden taking pictures. Eventually the charges against him were dropped after an investigation revealed that he had no connection to the Twitter account in question.

Lemon Juice sought an order against Twitter to obtain disclosure and preserve certain evidence pursuant to CPLR 3102 (c) (pre-action discovery). In particular, petitioner sought a court order directing Twitter to disclose basic subscriber information, records, internet protocol addresses or similar information sufficient to identify the owner/owners of the account LemonJuice@moseh71. He would use those information to sue the creator of that account for for “personal injuries based on claims of prima facie tort, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and malicious prosecution.”

On August 29, 2014, the Supreme Court of New York held that “the anonymous Twitter account creator’s behavior constitutes an actionable tort and is not speech covered by First Amendment protection. Furthermore, the identity of the creator of the subject account is necessary for Lemon Juice to seek appropriate redress. Accordingly, the anonymity of the creator must yield to Lemon Juice’s need to redress the actionable wrong perpetrated against him”.

Therefore the court granted the motion for pre-action disclosure directing Twitter: “to disclose to Lemon Juice the basic subscriber information, records, internet protocol addresses and other similar information sufficient to identify the owner or operator of the Twitter account known as “LemonJuice@moseh718″ who logged or tweeted on the account…” Twitter was also directed to preserve the documents containing this information.

The full text of decision is available at: http://nylawyer.nylj…

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