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Anonymous v Lerner,

___ AD3d ___, ___ NYS2d ___, 2015 NY Slip Op 00469 [1st Dept., 2015]

The anonymous plaintiff claimed that the defendant negligently and fraudulently gave her herpes. The defendant moved to compel her to be named in the action, which Supreme Court granted and the First Department here affirmed. Clearly, the allegations of a sexually transmitted disease implicate substantial privacy rights, but then the complaint implicates the defendant’s privacy rights to the same extent. The plaintiff didn’t help herself by giving interviews to the news media before serving the summons and complaint on the defendant. The court’s discretion is to be guided by balancing the plaintiff’s privacy claims against the presumption favoring open trials and prejudice to the defendant. The court noted that mere claims of public humiliation and embarrassment will not justify allowing a party to proceed anonymously.

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