Fairfax Attorney Files Defamation Lawsuit, Seeks Identity of Anonymous Posters on Fairfax Underground.
On June 4, 2013, Fairfax attorney Andi Geloo filed a defamation suit against
several anonymous FU posters who posted on one or both of these threads (the
defamatory remarks have been removed):
On June 23, 2014, the court made a ruling which appears to have ended the case.
Attorney Lee Berlik wrote the matter up on his legal blog (abridged version below),
and included a PDF copy of the court's ruling, which is attached to this post.
You can attack your fellow anonymous posters with impunity,
for the most part.
But when you start attacking people in the real world, if you cross certain lines,
like defamation, or even come close
to crossing those lines, your anonymity wouldn't
protect you, and Cary wouldn't protect you.
And you may well find yourself having to spend real money to hire a real attorney
to defend yourself against a lawsuit, like the anonymous posters sued by Geloo
had to do.
From The Virginia Defamation Law Blog
Anonymous Online Critic Will Remain Anonymous Absent Defamation
Posted July 2, 2014 by Lee E. Berlik
Fairfax attorney Andaleeb Geloo filed a defamation action against various
anonymous posters to the Fairfax Underground site and sought to uncover their
identities by issuing subpoenas to Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and Cox
At issue were statements referring to Ms. Geloo as a "run of the mill court
appointed attorney" and a "fat Paki," and a statement accusing Ms. Geloo herself
as being the secret author of a discussion thread entitled "Andi Geloo - Bullshit
Cox moved to quash the subpoena. The court, applying the Yelp test as well as Va.
Code Section 8.01-407.1, granted the motion.
The issue here was whether the Fairfax Underground statements were defamatory.
The court said "no".
Simply stated, the statements were not defamatory because they were either
constitutionally protected opinion, or mere rhetorical hyperbole that no
reasonable reader would interpret as having defamatory meaning.