Anonymous Plaintiffs and Naming Names in Appellate Court Decisions

I was musing on the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog yesterday that I thought it was a better practice for Maryland to follow what appears to the Connecticut model keeping out names of parties if the subject matter is sensitive. Coincidentally, the 2nd Circuit ruled this week that a woman seeking to bring sexual assault lawsuit pro se under a pseudonym may continue to bring her case anonymously.

This is obviously a more intricate issue that what names should be used in appellate court opinions. And I’m not one of these big privacy people. I’m perfectly fine with the FBI listening to any conversation I have, for example. I don’t care. But it just seems so easy to take people’s actual names out of appellate court opinions. Sure, the names are a part of the public record. But if you are a doctor who has a great career and makes one malpractice mistake before he retires, should he have to spend his retirement seeing the case’s facts laid out for all to see anytime someone Googles his name?