Sorry, Rabbi, Your Second Attempt To Uncover Anonymous Critics Rejected Too

from the what-does-the-torah-say-about-harassing-your-critics? dept

A few months back, we wrote about Rabbi Mordechai Tendler, who had tried, five or so years ago, to identify some anonymous bloggers, who had criticized what they felt were inappropriate sexual relationships with his congregants. That attempt had failed under California’s anti-SLAPP laws that are useful in protecting anonymous speech. Why this came up again earlier this year was because Tendler apparently wanted to take a second shot at identifying the same bloggers. He did this by filing a different lawsuit about a contractual dispute, and using that lawsuit to subpoena Google to try (again) to identify the bloggers he had been denied learning about years ago. Public Citizen stepped in to question this, and the court has quashed the subpoena — and did so in a very broad (and useful) manner.

As Paul Levy from Public Citizen notes in his blog post (linked above), his filing had provided a number of “procedural” reasons to reject the subpoena, but NY Supreme Court Justice Victor Alfieri chose the broadest one, saying that the revealing of the anonymous speakers needs to “go to the heart of the case.” Since the commentary by these bloggers really only impacted the amount of damages, but wasn’t central to the key legal questions in the case, the court rejected the attempt to identify the bloggers.

Plaintiff contends that the information sought is relevant to his mitigation of damages defense. However, mere relevance is not sufficient. Rather, the information sought must “go to the heart of the matter,” i.e., that the information is crucial to the party’s case.

Since that was not true in this case, the anonymity remains reasonably protected… and Tendler has to deal with another bit of news about the original accusations.

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Comments on “Sorry, Rabbi, Your Second Attempt To Uncover Anonymous Critics Rejected Too”

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Anonymous Coward says:



The Torah may not say much, but the Bible says quite a bit. You see, back in those days, the rabbis were known as pharisees. Well, the pharisees were having a bit of a problem with a certain critic called “Jesus”. The pharisees got the government, in the form of the local governor, Pontius Pilate, to do their dirty work for them. The troublesome Jesus got silenced rather effectively. Alas, his followers were not silenced, and there has been a spot of bother about that around the 1930s and 1940s, instigated by a chap called “Hitler”.

Some of you may be familiar with the stories of this Jesus chap and the Hitler chap. It seems that getting the government to do some religion’s dirty work for it has a rather long and bloody history.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Torah

Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Pellentesque ut mi ante, non pretium lorem. Suspendisse libero arcu; ornare egestas molestie id, tincidunt a turpis. Praesent blandit venenatis pretium. Nulla tincidunt tincidunt tellus, vitae fringilla dolor facilisis vel. Nullam odio lectus, consequat blandit convallis nec; auctor quis felis. In at magna nisi. Cras aliquet, ipsum eget commodo dapibus, lacus turpis vehicula est, ut tristique turpis erat at turpis. In condimentum nibh eu urna pulvinar sed feugiat orci sodales. Fusce nibh ipsum, rhoncus a tincidunt vitae; pellentesque eu purus. Donec facilisis auctor bibendum! Nunc quis lorem at arcu scelerisque accumsan eleifend sed eros. Phasellus vel neque tellus. Phasellus tincidunt tellus quis magna tempus consequat.

The ABOVE generated randomly by a computer makes more sense then you do

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Torah

Now, let’s not diverge into a theological debate. The simple fact stands, this one particular Rabbi is going a bit off the deep end over some anonymous messages without realizing the more he causes a fuss, the worse it is for him.

Anonymous rights were upheld. The courts did the right thing. And don’t forget, they’re part of triad of our governing system as well.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Sounds like the Rabbi has a lot to hide

Probably a lot more than any blogger has revealed so far. But then, don’t most religious “leaders” have a lot to hide? Most of it involving sex, and the rest, money. Too bad they couldn’t all just simultaneously spontaneously combust, but then they might wind up burning down a lot of whorehouses and banks. Now that I think of it, the banks need to go with them, but the cathouses serve a useful purpose to some.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Sounds like the Rabbi has a lot to hide

But then, don’t most religious “leaders” have a lot to hide? Most of it involving sex, and the rest, money.

Nope. Most religious leaders don’t have any issues with sexual or financial impropriety. Even if you restrict it to Catholic priests, most of the hundreds of thousands of them haven’t had any problems they need to hide.

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