Fire Chief Bill
Mosher and Deputy Chief Stephen Thurber will be in court on Wednesday in a bid
to know the identities of people who posted personal criticisms of them on the
website of the Coast following stories on racism in the department.
They have filed
an application for an order that, if approved, would require the Coast to
identify seven people who posted comments from April 2009 to March 20 of this
the lawyer for the firefighters, says it's the latest legal example of how the
Internet – once a haven for anonymity – provides no cover in libel actions, and
in fact may even increase costs for defendants.
Awad says if a
lawsuit goes forward, it's conceivable that the newspaper and those who made
the comments will have to pay for the added costs of the legal steps necessary
to identify the online posters.
Kyle Shaw, the
editor of the Coast, says the newspaper has the names of those who posted the
comments and intends to provide them to the firefighters.