Doe v. TS et al., No. CV08030693 (Ore. Cir. Ct., Clackamas ruling Sept. 30, 2008)
Status: Subpeona seeking release of release information on blog poster denied

The weekly newspaper Portland Mercury hosts a blog called “Blogtown, PDX” where the newspaper’s reporters post articles and members of the public may post comments.

On January 31, 2008, Mercury reporter Amy Ruiz posted an article about activities at City Hall concerning mayoral candidate Sho Dozano. Various readers posted comments in response to the article, including a poster with the screenname “Ronald.” Terry Beard, who was derogatorily referenced in “Ronald”’s blog comment, filed suit against “Ronald” and those who had posted comments about Beard on other blogs. Beard also served a third-party subpoena on The Mercury, seeking information he could use to identify “Ronald.”

The Mercury objected to the subpoena, invoking Oregon’s “reporters’ shield law” to argued that a newspaper may not be compelled to identify the source of information or produce any “unpublished information” the newspaper has obtained in the course of “receiving” or “processing” information for a “medium of communication.” Based on this argument, the Clackamas County Circuit Court denied a motion to compel disclosure of the information.

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