Ducking Duties: Pseudonymous Plaintiffs and the Supreme Court of Ohio

Author: Ryan Shiverdecker, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review
On March 19, 2013, in Doe v. Bruner, an Ohio appeals court denied the plaintiff, an alleged victim of sexual assault and molestation, his request to proceed anonymously.[i] After initially accepting the plaintiff’s appeal, the Supreme Court of Ohio dismissed the case as being improvidently granted, balking on an opportunity to provide clarity in an area of law that is murky and unsettled.[ii] Jurisdictions are split on the requirements that an individual must satisfy in order to proceed anonymously. The Supreme Court’s failure to take this case and create a legal standard will result in more disparate holdings in Ohio cases dealing with pseudonymous plaintiffs. The court should have adopted a factor-based test that effectively balances the plaintiff’s privacy rights with the presumption of open judicial proceedings.