Paul Alan Levy alerts us to the news that Rabbi Mordechai Tendler, who tried to identify some anonymous bloggers nearly five years ago and had his attempt crushed as an anti-SLAPP effort (thanks to the work of Public Citizen and the EFF), is trying to identify the same bloggers again
as part of a separate lawsuit involving a contractual dispute. Despite the previous ruling against his efforts to uncover these bloggers, Tendler appears to be trying to use this new case to end-run around that ruling. Levy notes that this new subpoena doesn't make much sense for a variety of reasons -- in particular because it's only likely to draw much more attention to the (now abandoned) blogs and blog posts that got him so upset in the first place, discussing claims of inappropriate sexual relationships with congregants.
Because Tendler has refused to provide any justification for the subpoena, as New York law requires as a condition for subpoena to a third party, it is not clear how Tendler thinks identification will help him prove his contract damages against the synagogue or whether, indeed, he is going to try arguing that he needs the names to sue the bloggers. The latter approach seems problematic not only for the reasons why his original subpoenas could not be enforced, but also because the statute of limitations for defamation claims is one year, and the bloggers have had nothing to say about Tendler for several years.
Perhaps the most significant oddity of the new subpoenas is what Tendler hoped to accomplish. Because the blogs have been inactive for years, that Google’s efforts to notify the bloggers of the new subpoena were unsuccessful. The new subpoenas seem more likely to draw renewed public attention to the allegations about Tendler’s abuses several years ago than to further his litigation interests.