In an opinion last week, Judge Oetken denied a motion by a plaintiff, who identifies as genderqueer and who accuses the defendants of employment discrimination, to sue under a pseudonym. The decision was largely based on the fact that the plaintiff had already been identified in a news article, but Judge Oetken also noted the “imbalance” that occurs when only one side to a lawsuit is named:
At bottom, Plaintiff wants what most employment-discrimination plaintiffs would like: to sue their former employer without future employers knowing about it. But while that desire is understandable, our system of dispute resolution does not allow it. Defendants—including two individuals—stand publicly accused of discrimination and harassment, including detailed allegations of misconduct. Defendants do not have the option of proceeding pseudonymously. Allowing Plaintiff to proceed anonymously would put Defendants at a genuine disadvantage, particularly when it comes to settlement leverage. Courts allow such an imbalance only in unique circumstances, and Plaintiff has not shown that this is one of those special cases.
The case is also notable because, as Alison Frankel points out here, Judge Oetken referred to the plaintiff via the plural pronoun “they,” as the plaintiff preferred.