Filing Pseudonymously: Arizona


  1. Arizona
  1. Arizona

    1. Caselaw

      No reported Arizona 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.

      Victims’ names and other personal information can be kept out of public records by filing suits under pseudonyms, such as Jane or John Doe. No reported Arizona 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.

      • Doe v. Arpaio, 150 P.3d 1258 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2007) – Doe is inmate in state prison and brings privacy-based U.S. constitutional challenge against prison for its refusal to allow her to leave jail to procure a first-trimester abortion. Court notes: “The trial court allowed plaintiff Jane Doe to proceed pseudonymously. We continue that usage.” Id. at 1259 n.1.

      • Doe v. Roe, 931 P.2d 1115 (Ariz. App. 1996), vacated, 955 P.2d 951 – Doe is adult child of defendants, Roes. Doe brings tort claims against parents for sexual abuse and failure to protect during Doe’s childhood, Doe recently regained memory of these suppressed events. Court acknowledges, but does not discuss, plaintiff and defendant pseudonymity: “To protect the parties, the trial court amended the caption to use fictitious names, and sealed the record.” Id. at 1117 n.1. See also Doe v. Roe, 955 P.2d 951 (Ariz. 1998) (state Supreme Court opinion, no discussion of plaintiff pseudonymity).

      • Planned Parenthood Center of Tucson, Inc. v. Marks, 497 P.2d 534 (Ariz. App. 1972) – Doe was pregnant and advised by doctor to seek abortion for health reasons; Doe goes out of state to get abortion and to avoid criminal prosecution under Arizona anti-abortion law. Doe challenges the law under Arizona’s Constitution. Court does not address plaintiff pseudonymity. See also Roe v. Arizona Bd. of Regents, 549 P.2d 150 (Ariz. 1976) (challenging University hospital refusal to offer second-term abortions).

      • 7200 Scottsdale Road Partners v. Maricopa County, 861 P.2d 699 (Ariz. Tax. 1993) – No pseudonymous plaintiffs. Tax court addresses the government’s fear about increases in pseudonymous tax plaintiffs in dicta: “The government fears that if the Partnership is allowed to amend its complaint to change the name of the plaintiff this Court will be overwhelmed with a flood of tax cases with John Doe plaintiffs, real names to be filled in later. But the Court has no such fear; there is nothing innocent or subtle about a John Doe complaint and such slyness will fool no one.” Id. at 701.

      • Carlson v. Pima Cty., 141 Ariz. 487, 490–91 (1984) (“where the competing interest [to public access of court records] is one of confidentiality or privacy, a practical alternative to the complete denial of access would be deleting specific personal identifying information, such as names”)

    2. Filing Requirements & Availability of Court Records

      ARIZ. R. CIV. PRO. 10. Form of pleading

      (a) Caption; names of parties. -- Every pleading shall contain a caption setting forth the name of the court, the title of the action, the file number, and a designation as in Rule 7(a). In the complaint the title of the action shall include the names of all the parties, but in other pleadings it is sufficient to state the name of the first party on each side with an appropriate indication of other parties.

      Arizona provides public internet access to published and unpublished opinions of the state’s Supreme Court. See Welcome to Arizona Supreme Court Opinions (last visited Apr. 19, 2010).

    3. Relevant Statutes

      • ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 8-208 (2010): Juvenile court records; public inspection; exceptions

        G. The court may order that the records be kept confidential and withheld from public inspection if the court determines that the subject matter of any record involves a clear public interest in confidentiality.

      • ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 8-525 (2010): Open court proceedings; closure; records

        D. At the beginning of a hearing [related to dependent children, permanent guardianship and termination of parental rights] that is open to the public, the court shall do the following:

        (1). Admonish all attendees that they are prohibited from disclosing any information that may identify the child and the child's siblings, parents, guardians and caregivers, and any other person whose identity will be disclosed during the proceeding.

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