Filing Pseudonymously: Alabama


  1. Alabama
  1. Alabama

    1. Caselaw

      No cases are directly on point or address plaintiff pseudonymity. Analogies can be drawn to the facts and claims of the following cases with Doe plaintiffs; however, Alabama has codified extra confidentiality protections for juveniles and victims of sex crimes in its court system (see below), making the pseudonymity in such cases easily distinguishable from a privacy-tort plaintiff.

      • Doe v. Swift, 570 So.2d 1209 (Ala. 1990) – Doe is an involuntarily committed patient sexually assaulted by a doctor. Doe sought money damages. Court does not address pseudonymous plaintiff.

      • Alabama Coalition for Equity, Inc. v. Hunt, Not Reported in So.2d, 1993 WL 204083 (Ala. 1993) – Does are special education public school students intervening in the lawsuit. Claims for equitable and adequate public schooling. Court does not address pseudonymity of Doe school children. See also Opinion of the Justices, 624 So.2d 107 (Ala. 1993) (advisory opinion on request by Alabama Legislature regarding special education challenge; pseudonymity not addressed).

      • Doe v. Markham, 776 So. 2d 757 (Ala. 2000). Doe is a physician. Claims for libel and intentional interference with business relationship. Court does not address pseudonymity of plaintiff.

    2. Filing Requirements & Availability of Court Records

      ALA. R. CIV. P. Rule 17 (2010): Parties plaintiff and defendant; capacity.

      (a) Real party in interest:

      Every action shall be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. . . . No action shall be dismissed on the ground that it is not prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest until a reasonable time has been allowed after objection for ratification of commencement of the action by, or joinder or substitution of, the real party in interest; and such ratification, joinder, or substitution shall have the same effect as if the action had been commenced in the name of the real party in interest.

      Alabama offers access to its appellate and Supreme Court cases dating back to 1994 through its online service Alalinc, at a cost of $200 per year. See Frequently Asked Questions About Alalinc (last visited Apr. 19, 2010).

    3. Relevant Statutes

      • CODE OF ALA. § 26-23A-11 (2010) provides for sealing court records and proceedings and the use of pseudonyms to preserve anonymity of women who sue under the chapter and have had an abortion.

      • ALA. R. APPELLATE PRO. Rule 52: Anonymity in appellate proceedings, opinions, and case styles:

        In any case involving a juvenile who has been the subject of a proceeding in the juvenile court system, a person granted youthful offender status, a victim of child abuse, or a victim of a sex offense, the appellate court shall make reasonable efforts to preserve the anonymity of such a person. This anonymity shall be observed in the body of any opinion and in the styling of the case and upon the direction of the court shall be observed in motions and briefs. . . .

      • CODE OF ALA. § 22-11A-64 (2010): Infected Health Care Workers: Appeal of Orders

        (i) All proceedings under this section shall be confidential and anonymous. In all pleadings or court documents, the infected health care worker shall be identified only by initials or a pseudonym. The Alabama Supreme Court shall issue any additional rules it deems necessary to assure that appeals under this section are handled in a confidential and anonymous manner.

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