Internet Law

N.J. Legal Malpractice Suit is on Free-Speech Frontier

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A controversial malpractice suit filed by a New Jersey town against its former municipal attorney over a real estate deal that was part of an environmental cleanup effort is also making waves on entirely different legal front—Internet free speech rights.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit San Francisco advocacy group that supports anonymous blogging, among other Internet-related concerns, is rallying the troops in anticipation of a state court hearing Friday. At issue is an effort by Manalapan officials to unmask the unknown individual who has been criticizing their malpractice suit on an anonymous blog hosted by Google’s Blogspot service, according to an EFF press release issued today.

The township argues that the anonymous author of the “da Truth Squad” blog likely is the defendant attorney in the malpractice suit, Stuart Moskovitz, and is seeking an order requiring Google to disclose his identity. However, Moskovitz has denied under oath that he is the author, according to EFF.

The advocacy group, which is representing the anonymous blogger, has filed a motion to quash a discovery subpoena and is requesting a protective order to, as EFF puts it in a 30-page brief (PDF), “protect his constitutionally and statutorily protected right to anonymity.”

Asbury Park Press: “Manalapan asks Google to reveal blogger ID”

News Transcript: “Foundation files motion to quash Google subpoena”

News Transcript: “Attorney expects to file answer to town complaint”

News Transcript: “Officials award contract for soil cleanup”

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