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Civil Procedure

11th Circuit Mulls Bid by ‘Girls Gone Wild’ Plaintiffs to Remain Anonymous Despite Suit

Posted Oct 26, 2010 1:26 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Legal counsel for four young women told a federal appeals court today that their clients should be allowed to proceed with a civil suit over being filmed as teenagers for Girls Gone Wild videos without having to reveal their names to the public.

But lawyers for two media organizations that are now involved in the appeal contend the public has a right to know the identities of the plaintiffs, who are now in their 20s but were between 13 and 17 when footage was shot, reports the Associated Press.

During questioning today by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Chief Judge Joel Dubina pushed for an explanation of why it would harm the public if journalists—who would still be allowed to cover the civil case against the founder of the Girls Gone Wild soft-porn empire, Joe Francis—weren't allowed to use the plaintiffs' names in news coverage.

"The editorial process is based on access to openness," responded attorney Jeffery Nobles, who is representing one of the media groups. "And the purpose of fact-checking is obscured and prevented when parties come to court anonymously."

The plaintiffs brought suit in federal court in Florida in 2008, identified only by their initials.

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