Taylor et al v. DOES 1-10
ORDER granting 15 Second Motion for Leave to Conduct Early Discovery. Taylor may use the subpoena power of the court to compel production of the Doe Defendants' identities. Signed by Senior Judge James C. Fox on 8/28/2014. (Grady, B.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
BENJAMIN TAYLOR, GREENWOOD
JOHN DOES 1-10,
This matter is before the court on the Plaintiffs' (collectively "Taylor") motion for leave
to conduct early discovery [DE-16]. Taylor seeks to use the subpoena power of the court to
identify the names of the John Doe Defendants, who are anonymous posters on a third-party
website. By its May 8, 2014 Order [DE-12] the court denied an earlier motion to conduct early
discovery. Recognizing Taylor's request implicated the Doe Defendants' First Amendment right
to anonymous online speech, the court concluded that Taylor must make a two-part showing
before the court would allow early discovery: (1) he must demonstrate that at least one claim in
the complaint would survive a hypothetical motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6); and (2) he must provide notice to the Doe Defendants of this lawsuit and his
request to compel production of their identities. !d. at 6-7.
Taylor timely complied and he has submitted a brief contending that all the claims in his
complaint would survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. See Renewed Mot. for Early Disc.
[DE-16]. Further, counsel posted a notification on the website providing the case number to this
lawsuit, identifying the posters' aliases that are the subject of this suit, and inviting the Doe
Defendants to appear and oppose the motion for early discovery. See Notice [DE-16-1]. None of
the Doe Defendants have done so.
Taylor has made a sufficient showing to compel production of the Doe Defendants'
identities. Taylor's brief demonstrates that at least one of the claims in the complaint would
survive a hypothetical motion to dismiss, 1 and he has provided sufficient notice to the Doe
Defendants and an opportunity to respond. Accordingly, Taylor's motion for early discovery
[DE-15] is ALLOWED. Taylor may use the subpoena power of the court to compel production
of the Doe Defendants' identities.
SO ORDERED .
This the ____1!day of August, 2014.
S C. FOX
Senior United States District Judge
Of course, this is not to say that the complaint will survive an actual motion to dismiss. This
order is without prejudice to the Defendants to file their own Rule 12(b)( 6) motion to dismiss after they
are properly served.
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