What to do if I posted comments about a business on an online forum and now it has sent my ISP a subpoena to try and find out who I am?

UPDATED: May 23, 2014

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What to do if I posted comments about a business on an online forum and now it has sent my ISP a subpoena to try and find out who I am?

On the online forum, they act extremely childish and extremely unprofessional; I do not think they have a case against me. As of now, I only have the subpoena. What should I do, I don’t want to hire a lawyer but will if it is necessary. Who all can file a subpoena?

Asked on May 23, 2014 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the subpoena is a valid one, the ISP can try to fight it if they choose--there are often, but *not* always, grounds to oppose divulging such information--but they also may choose to provide the information. You most likely *cannot* fight or oppose the subpoena on their behalf--it is, from what you write, directed to them, not to you, and you are not a party to the subpoena.

Be aware that even if you feel that their behavior was "childish" and "extremenly unprofessional," that comments to that effect may, depending on what was said and the objective facts, be defamation and you may be liable for those comments. There is no intrinsic right to always post negative comments about persons or private businesses.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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