2006 Code of Virginia § 8.01-15.1 - Anonymous plaintiff; motion for identification; factors to be considered by court
8.01-15.1. Anonymous plaintiff; motion for identification; factors to beconsidered by court.
A. In any legal proceeding commenced anonymously, any party may move for anorder concerning the propriety of anonymous participation in the proceeding.The trial court may allow maintenance of the proceeding under a pseudonym ifthe anonymous litigant discharges the burden of showing special circumstancessuch that the need for anonymity outweighs the public's interest in knowingthe party's identity and outweighs any prejudice to any other party. Thecourt may consider whether the requested anonymity is intended merely toavoid the annoyance and criticism that may attend any litigation or is topreserve privacy in a sensitive and highly personal matter; whetheridentification poses a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm to therequesting party or to innocent nonparties; the ages of the persons whoseprivacy interests are sought to be protected; whether the action is against agovernmental or private party; and the risk of unfairness to other parties ifanonymity is maintained.
B. If the court initially permits a party to proceed anonymously, the issueof the propriety of continued anonymous participation in the proceedings maybe raised at any stage of the litigation when circumstances warrant areconsideration of the issue. In all cases, all parties have the right toknow the true identities of all other parties under such provisions ofconfidentiality as the court may deem appropriate.
C. If the court orders that the anonymous litigant be identified, thepleadings and any relevant dockets shall be reformed to reflect the party'strue name, and the identification shall be deemed to relate back to the dateof filing of the proceeding by the anonymous party.
D. In any legal proceeding in which a party is proceeding anonymously, thecourt shall enter appropriate orders to afford all parties the rights,procedures and discovery to which they are otherwise entitled.
(2003, c. 572.)
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