Filing Pseudonymously: Arkansas
One reported case from Arkansas treats the appeal of a trial court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion to proceed pseudonymously, Doe v. Union Pac. R.R., 914 S.W.2d 312 (Ark. 1996). Doe, an employee of defendant Railroad, seeks damages from allegation of sexual harassment. Doe had furnished true name to defendant under cover, and sought to proceed pseudonymously in the trial court, which denied the application. The Court affirms the denial to proceed pseudonymously, as the trial court’s decision was not a final one and not appealable.
However, other cases demonstrate fact patterns for which trial courts will grant use of pseudonyms:
- Doe v. Arkansas Dept. of Human Services, 182 S.W.3d 107 (Ark. 2004) – Doe and Roe, nurses, seek to prevent their expunged criminal records from being used by state office to deny them employment at state-run nursing care facility. The court merely mentions: “Jane Doe and Jane Roe are pseudonyms.” Id. at 108.
- Matter of Adoption of S.J.B., 294 Ark. 598, 745 S.W.2d 606 (Ark. 1988) – Roe gives her baby, Roe, up for adoption. No discussion of pseudonyms or initials.
Filing Requirements & Availability of Court Records
ARK. R. CIV. PRO. 10 (2010)
(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.
Arkansas court opinions are available for free on the internet at Latest Court of Appeals Decision. They are organized by year and by court and have no search function.
ARK. SUP. CT. & CT. OF APP 6-3 (2010): Anonymity in certain appellate proceedings, opinions and case styles
(a) Scope. In an appeal in which counsel for either side believes that a person's identity should be protected by the Court, counsel may move the Court to do so. These cases may include, but are not limited to, adoptions and appeals in juvenile cases. [Includes use of initials].
AR SUP. CT. ADM. ORDER NO. 19 § 7 (2010): Court Records Excluded from Public Access.
Arkansas also protects the identity of women suing under abortion laws: A.C.A. § 20-16-1111 (Protection of privacy in court proceedings relating to Unborn Child Pain and Awareness Act); A.C.A. § 20-16-1207 (Provision for anonymity of the female in every proceeding or action under the Partial Birth Abortion Ban); A.C.A. § 20-16-908 (2009): Providing for a woman’s anonymity in every proceeding or action brought under this the Woman’s Right to Know Act of 2001).