Sexual Assault Claims and Pseudonymity
Many cases allow people who allege they had been sexually assaulted to be pseudonymous, including when they are defendants being sued for libel and related torts. Indeed, some allow pseudonymity for the alleged attacker as well as the alleged victim, if the two had been spouses or lovers in the past, because identifying one would also identify the other, at least to people who had known the couple. But again, many other cases hold otherwise, some in highly prominent cases (for instance, against Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, and Tupac Shakur) but others in much less prominent ones. Here’s a rather unusual fact pattern I came across, where a court rejects pseudonymity, Doe v. JBF RAK KKLC (D. Nev. 2014):
The complaint alleges that Plaintiff and the principal individual Defendant entered into a personal relationship by telephone, text messages and email in November 2012 which continued in that manner until late January 2013 when they met in person in Las Vegas for the first time. Plaintiff alleges that during a meeting on January 25, 2013, Defendant became intoxicated and conducted himself in an inappropriate manner. Plaintiff does not allege that Defendant committed any physical or sexual assault against her during that encounter.
Defendant thereafter provided Plaintiff with expensive gifts, including expensive jewelry, watches and handbags. He also allegedly promised to purchase luxury automobiles for the Plaintiff. During a subsequent meeting with Plaintiff in Switzerland in March 2013, the Defendant again became intoxicated, was verbally abusive to the Plaintiff and demanded and obtained the return of expensive items he had given her. Defendant thereafter apologized for his conduct and gave additional expensive gifts to Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that during a private airplane trip with Defendant in April 2013, he again became intoxicated and behaved in an inappropriate manner. Plaintiff does not allege that Defendant was verbally or physically abusive to her during this trip.
Plaintiff alleges that on or about July 11, 2013 while she was in India with the Defendant, he physically attacked her and caused bruising and injury to her. Plaintiff alleges that she subsequently engaged in communications with Defendant’s relatives and associates who advised her that Defendant was attempting to control his behavior and asked her to give him another chance. Plaintiff alleges that on August 2, 2013, Defendant again became intoxicated, physically forced Plaintiff to leave their joint hotel room and stated that he wanted “20 men to rape” her.
After further communications with Defendant and receiving additional gifts from him, Plaintiff alleges that she traveled to Dubai to meet with Defendant in September 2013. During this visit, she signed a contract of employment with Defendant. Defendant, however, again engaged in excessive alcohol consumption and Plaintiff was forced to leave. This incident was also followed by further apologies from the Defendant, promises to correct his behavior and additional expensive gifts or promises of expensive gifts.
Plaintiff alleges that she traveled to Dubai in November 2013 to meet with Defendant. Plaintiff alleges that while riding in the backseat of a Bentley automobile with Defendant in Dubai, he strangled and choked her. The pattern of apologies, gifts and promises to reform was again repeated. Plaintiff returned to Dubai in late January 2014.
Plaintiff alleges that on January 30, 2014, Defendant entered her separate bedroom without warning and physically attacked and attempted to sexually assault her. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of Defendant’s conduct, she suffered physical pain and mental anguish, including a diagnosis of P.T.S.D. (post-traumatic stress disorder). Plaintiff seeks to recover damages for her allegedly physical and mental injuries. She also seeks to recover the gifts or value of the gifts that Defendant either promised her or which he forced her to return.
The parties’ positions on Plaintiff’s motions to proceed anonymously and to unseal the complaint [more on that below -EV] are mirror opposites. Plaintiff wants to unseal the complaint in its entirety on the grounds that the public is entitled know the full nature and extent of her allegations against Defendants. She desires to proceed anonymously, however, to avoid the humiliation and trauma that she will allegedly suffer if her true identity is publicly disclosed.
Defendants argue that Plaintiff should be required to litigate under her true name. They argue that it is unfair and prejudicial that they are publicly subjected to infamy while Plaintiff is protected from such consequences by the cloak of anonymity. Defendants also request that the previously sealed allegations of the complaint remain under seal. Def
Article from Latest – Reason.com