Filing Under a Pseudonym
Courts in South Carolina have only noted the use of pseudonyms in passing; however, the facts of the few reported cases with Doe plaintiffs could be used to draw analogies in terms of the privacy issues facing the plaintiffs with respect to their identities.
- Doe v. Roe, 475 S.E.2d 783 (S.C. App. 1996) – Doe sues her former lesbian partner of many years for partition of the couple’s property. The court notes: “Because of the sensitive nature of the issues involved in this appeal, we have protected the confidentiality of the parties with assumed names.” Id. at 784 n.1.
- Doe v. American Red Cross Blood Services, S.C. Region, 377 S.E.2d 323 (S.C. 1989) – Doe is infected with HIV from blood transfusion and sues for negligent failure to screen and exclude high-risk donors as there was no HIV test at the time. No mention of pseudonym.
Note as well that it is possible for plaintiffs themselves to end the use of pseudonyms simply by beginning to use their true names in formal proceedings:
- Charleston County Dept. of Social Services v. King, 631 S.E.2d 239 (S.C. 2006) – The court notes that “[a]lthough the Kendles [petitioners] filed their motion to intervene under the pseudonyms John Roe and Mary Roe, they used their real names at the hearing.” Id. at 240 n.2. The court continued to refer to the couple as the Kendles in the opinion.
Filing Requirements & Availability of Court Records
Rule 10, SCRCP (2009): Form of Pleadings
“(a) Caption, Name of Parties. . . In the summons and complaint the title of the action shall include the names of all parties . . . .”
Supreme Court and courts of appeal decisions searchable back to 1997 at http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/opinions/searchOpinion.cfm (last visited Apr. 20, 2010).
S.C. CODE ANN. § 63-7-2600 (2009) provides for the sealing of all court records pertaining to termination of parental rights.
Rule 41.1, SCRCP (2009) states the rules and procedure for seeking court records to be sealed.
S.C. CODE ANN. § 44-29-136 (2009) allows for individuals with HIV/AIDS to use pseudonyms in proceedings relating to disclosure of such records.