New Jersey School Board Subpoenas Citizens Who Criticize Its Staff to Sue Them for Defamation

The Freehold School Board has subpoenaed New Jersey Online to identify several citizens who chimed in to discuss stories published in the Newark Star Ledger and New Jersey Online about several high administrators who got fake degrees from an online diploma mill, and hence received higher pay. After New Jersey Online notified its subscribers of the subpoena, the ACLU of New Jersey and Freehold attorney Stuart J. Moskovitz stepped in to represent various anonymous posters, and NJ.com has refused to furnish identifying information about the posters. Moskovitz points out that the subpoena violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which limits the ability of governmental entities to obtain information about online speakers.

I contacted Marc Zitomer, the School Board’s lawyer, to get his explanation for the subpoena.