Two Yale Law Grads Settle Suit Against Once-Anonymous Online Critics
Posted Oct 22, 2009 7:23 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Two graduates of Yale Law School have settled their defamation lawsuit against several online critics who wrote nasty comments about them on the law school discussion board AutoAdmit.
Lawyer Ashok Ramani of Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco represented the women pro bono. He told the Hartford Courant that his clients settled “with a handful of folks” under terms that are confidential.
The suit was dismissed late last week with leave to reinstate if additional information is developed. It was filed when the women were still Yale law students; they have since graduated.
Court records and lawyers following the litigation said the women were able to identify eight or nine of the posters and settled with some of them, the Courant says. One unmasked critic was identified in earlier stories as a student at the University of Texas at Austin; most of the other critics were said to be law students.
According to the Courant, some of the posted material about the women, Heide Iravani and Brittan Heller, “was vicious and apparently posted by students with whom they had, at best, only a passing acquaintance.” Some of the posts were “crude sexual allegations,” the story says.
New Haven, Conn., lawyer David Rosen, who also represented the women, told the Courant that the suit succeeded in tracking down Internet critics who hide behind a veil of anonymity. "That knowledge could lead to greater accountability when the posters know they can be outed and held responsible for what they write," Rosen said.
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