COVINGTON -- Stephanie Lindsey, attorney for the Alcovy High School principal who has brought a defamation lawsuit against web posters, is attempting to request information from them.
Lindsey posted two comments on the Newton Citizen website this week notifying bloggers that she was seeking information for the civil case filed by Principal LaQuanda Carpenter, who is claiming the web posters libeled her with their comments.
On Monday, Lindsey commented on the article "Judge orders Lindsey to notify web posters" with a notice to web users MsLoy, bluedeyeddevil, amp72, newtoncountyparent, watermelonlover, beautifulblueeyes, Satan69 and KBeet.
The notice reads that by order of Newton County Superior Court, they have been named as a party of the civil action "LaQuanda Carpenter v. John Doe 1 aka 'MsLoy,' et al." in civil action number 2012-895-1.
During a motions hearing earlier this month, Judge Eugene Benton ordered Lindsey to attempt to notify the anonymous posters as well as depose them and other witnesses before attempting to request identifying information from the newspaper.
The judge said that proper notification had not been given to the web posters identified in the suit, although Lindsey claimed that they were provided notification since the Citizen wrote articles about the case and the web posters made comments on the articles.
Benton ordered Lindsey to notify the anonymous posters, informing them that they have the right to be represented or anonymously represented. They must be informed of the hearing date and have time to object; Benton felt that 30 days was enough notice to give them.
Additionally, Lindsey states in her notice that she and her client are seeking all information and documents sufficient to identify the names, addresses and telephone numbers associated with those named in the lawsuit, as well as documents reproducing the texts of the comments from Jan. 1, 2011, to present and all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms related to those named. This is the same information that Lindsey sought in a subpoena of the Newton Citizen.
Lindsey made another comment Tuesday, after waiting for the moderator to approve the first notice, she said.
The second notice said a hearing will be set to further address the motion to quash a subpoena served on the Citizen requesting identifying information of the web users.
She notes that she will publish the date of the hearing on the Citizen's comment board.
Lindsey also notified the posters that they have a right to hire an attorney to represent them, and he could represent them without their identity being disclosed.
She went on to say that depositions of Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews, web commenter Shannon Black and Newton County Board of Education members Almond Turner, Shakila Henderson-Baker, Abigail Coggin and Eddie Johnson will be taken. She states that web posters who choose to hire an attorney can be present at all of the depositions, which will be conducted before the motion hearing date.
"Again, his or her presence at the depositions will not jeopardize your anonymity," she states.
She did not provide a date for the depositions.