“Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people's idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.”Ex-RSE group battles subpoena
By Steven Wyble
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013 4:45 PM PST
Ex-members of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment are fighting subpoenas sent to Facebook by JZK, Inc., seeking information on members of a private Facebook group.
Lawyers for JZK, Inc., the company owned by Yelm Channeler JZ Knight, subpoenaed Facebook seeking information on members of the private Facebook group Enlightened Europa (EE) — a self-described support group for ex-RSE members who describe the school as a cult — in relation to their case against former RSE student Virginia Coverdale, who distributed a video of Knight on YouTube.
Lawyers for JZK, Inc., have also filed a motion to compel testimony for Yelm Pastor and Nisqually Valley News columnist Jeff Adams, who refused to testify during his deposition without a lawyer present, according to the motion. A hearing is scheduled Friday morning.
EE is “a private online equivalent of a mental health recovery group,” said Breckan Scott, a Yelm lawyer representing members of the group. “It’s a lot like … (Alcoholics Anonymous) for former members of the RSE school who for whatever reason have left and (are) trying to put their lives together and move on from this organization.”
Voicemails left for lawyers representing JZK, Inc., were not returned by press time.
Scott contends members of Enlightened Europa have a right to privacy the same way members of other support groups do.
It’s “very much like Budweiser having a breach of contract dispute with somebody who happened to be in AA and then other members of AA being subpoenaed by Budweiser to basically produce all this private and identifying information,” she said.
Scott plans to file a motion to quash the subpoenas and for a protective order by the end of the week, she said.
“We want the subpoena quashed, but we also want the court to say, hey, this is not appropriate discovery; this is intrusive into people’s lives who did not purposefully avail themselves of the courts, who have no reason to believe that when they were participating in this therapeutic group that they would be exposed to involvement in a lawsuit,” she said.
Several members of the group received a message from an attorney representing Facebook informing them Facebook would “wait for 21 days before taking any action with respect to the subpoena. If you do not provide me with a copy of a filed motion objecting to the subpoena within 21 days, Facebook may process the subpoena and disclose information to the extent permitted or required by law.”
The subpoena asks for information that would identify participants of the group, including every IP address allocated to users for the past six months; the names, email addresses, phone numbers and physical addresses of users; and dates user accounts were established, Scott said. Transcripts of messages are not requested in the subpoena because that is prohibited by the Stored Communications Act, she added
“They’re really pushing the line as much as they can, or they think they can, not to run afoul of the Stored Communications Act,” she said.
Scott said health professionals and mental health providers participate in EE, and added the group is not open to everyone, as moderators must add members before they can contribute or see other members’ posts.
“They have a very specific purpose and mission statement, which is therapeutic recovery,” she said. “It is limited to people who are seeking recovery.”
Scott cited Washington State Superior Court Civil Rule 26, which states protective orders may be made to “protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.”
“Subjecting them to this kind of intrusion into their recovery group is clearly annoyance, embarrassment and oppression, basically,” she said.
NV News link:
http://yelmonline.com/articles/2013/03/ ... 514930.txt
― Winston Churchill