Filing Under a Pseudonym
Reported cases from South Dakota state courts are few. Three allow pseudonymous plaintiffs on appeal, but there is no mention in either of the procedure or any sort of court-applied balancing test of privacy interests. However, a hopeful Doe complainant could attempt to analogize to the privacy interests of the plaintiffs in the following cases:
- Doe v. Quiring, 2004 SD 101 (S.D. 2004) – Jane Doe, an incest victim, seeks a writ of prohibition to prevent the listing of the names and offenses of convicted incest offenders on the state’s sex offender registry, under a state statute prohibition publication of the identity of victims. No mention of pseudonymity.
- Doe v. Nelson, 680 N.W.2d 302 (S.D. 2004) – Doe plaintiffs seek to prevent publication of their identities as subjects of governor’s sealed pardons. The court considered the public interest in accessing public documents in the context of the pardons, but did not address the issue of the Doe pseudonym.
- Roe v. Doe, 649 N.W.2d 566 (N.D. 2002) – Paternity action of Indian child, mother and alleged father use pseudonyms. Court does not discuss pseudonym use beyond a brief mention.
Filing Requirements & Availability of Court Records
S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 15-6-10(a) (2009): Caption – Title
“ . . . In the complaint the title of the action shall include the names of all the parties . . . .”
Supreme Court cases are searchable dating back to 1996 at http://www.findlaw.com/11stategov/sd/sdca.html (last visited Apr. 20, 2010).
S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 15-15A-7 (2009) states what information in court records is not open to the public.
S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 15-15A-8 (2009) protects PII from being revealed in court records.
S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 34-23A-23 (2009) allows women who have had abortions to use pseudonyms in court proceedings brought under the state’s public health and safety laws.