Doe v. Megless, No. 10-4110 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The school district and chief of police sent an e-mail to officials and citizens instructing them "if you see this person in or around the district schools, please contact the police." Plaintiff claimed that the email used his real name and stated that he had been known to hang around schools, had not approached any kids, and that his mental status was unknown. It contained his picture, home address, the make, model, and license plate number of his vehicle, and his driver's license number. His suit, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleged deprivation of freedom of movement, illegal seizure of personal records, violation of right to privacy, conspiracy, and failure to train, supervise and discipline agents. The district court denied plaintiff's motion to proceed anonymously and, after a deadline for filing in his own name passed, dismissed. The Third Circuit affirmed. The district court provided two independently sufficient reasons for dismissal: refusal to prosecute in compliance with court orders and consideration of factors concluding that plaintiff would not suffer substantial harm that might sufficiently outweigh the public interest in an open trial.