Hvide v. John Doe-American Civil Liberties Union loses and Fischman wins on behalf of victims of internet defamation

The stakes were raised on message board posters last Friday after a closely watched lawsuit was resolved in favor of a former Hvide Marine executive, who sought to unmask the identity of cybersmearers. A three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeals in Miami rejected arguments that the posters' identities should be protected until a court could evaluate a defamation case filed against them by ex-Hvide executive J. Erik Hvide, son of the company's late founder.A lower court ruling allowing Erik Hvide to obtain information from America Online (http://www.aol.com) and Yahoo (http://www.finance.yahoo.com) to unmask the posters' identities will now stand.

Bruce Fischman, Hvide's attorney, told the Wall Street Journal: "[The decision says] anonymous posters are not provided any greater level of protection under the First Amendment than anyone else."

South Fla Business Journal.pdf