DOE v. Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority et al
ORDER Granting Plaintiff's 2 Motion for a Protective Order to Proceed Pseudonymously. Signed by District Judge Thomas L. Ludington. (KWin)
Case 1:20-cv-12997-TLL-PTM ECF No. 5, PageID.38 Filed 11/19/20 Page 1 of 2
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 20-CV-12997
Honorable Thomas L. Ludington
NORTHERN LAKES COMMUNITY
MENTAL HEALTH AUTHORITY,
CHRISTINE M. SMITH,
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER TO
On November 6, 2020, Plaintiff John Doe filed a complaint against Defendants Northern
Lakes Community Mental Health Authority (“NLCMHA”) and Christine M. Smith, alleging
violations of the Fourteenth Amendment and Michigan law. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff, who was a
patient at NLCMHA, alleges that Defendant Smith, his social worker, sexually harassed and
abused him. Id. Plaintiff moves for a protective order allowing him to proceed pseudonymously.
For the reasons stated below, his motion will be granted.
“As a general matter, a complaint must state the names of all parties. Under certain
circumstances, however, the district court may allow a plaintiff to proceed under a pseudonym by
granting a protective order.” D.E. v. John Doe, 834 F.3d 723, 728 (6th Cir. 2016) (internal citations
They include: (1) whether the plaintiffs seeking anonymity are suing to challenge
governmental activity; (2) whether prosecution of the suit will compel the plaintiffs
Case 1:20-cv-12997-TLL-PTM ECF No. 5, PageID.39 Filed 11/19/20 Page 2 of 2
to disclose information ‘of the utmost intimacy’; (3) whether the litigation compels
plaintiffs to disclose an intention to violate the law, thereby risking criminal
prosecution; and (4) whether the plaintiffs are children.
Doe v. Porter, 370 F.3d 558, 560 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Doe v. Stegall, 653 F.2d 180, 185–86 (5th
Here, Plaintiff raises serious allegations against NLCMHA, an alleged governmental unit,1
and Defendant Smith, its employee. These allegations will require Plaintiff to disclose intimate
information regarding his mental health and prior sexual acts. Additionally, other courts of this
Circuit have allowed litigants to proceed pseudonymously where the case involved allegations of
sexual misconduct. See, e.g., Doe v. Miami Univ., 882 F.3d 579 (6th Cir. 2018) (involving Title
IX and § 1983 claims against university and allegations of sexual misconduct among students).
Plaintiff agrees to “privately disclose his identity to the Court and  Defendants so as not to create
any appearance of prejudice.” ECF No. 2 at PageID.30. Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s motion
will be granted.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Plaintiff John Doe’s Motion for Protective Order for
Permission to Proceed Pseudonymously, ECF No. 2, is GRANTED. Plaintiff may proceed
pseudonymously but must disclose his identity to the Court, Defendants, or others as directed by
order of this Court.
Dated: November 19, 2020
s/Thomas L. Ludington
THOMAS L. LUDINGTON
United States District Judge
Plaintiff alleges that NLCMHA “is a multi-county community mental health authority created pursuant to
MCL 330.1205 of the Michigan Public Health Code.” ECF No. 1 at PageID.2.
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