Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
Chapter 2. Parties
4/20/2019

§ 8.01-15.1. Anonymous plaintiff; motion for identification; factors to be considered by court.

A. In any legal proceeding commenced anonymously, any party may move for an order concerning the propriety of anonymous participation in the proceeding. The trial court may allow maintenance of the proceeding under a pseudonym if the anonymous litigant discharges the burden of showing special circumstances such that the need for anonymity outweighs the public's interest in knowing the party's identity and outweighs any prejudice to any other party. The court may consider whether the requested anonymity is intended merely to avoid the annoyance and criticism that may attend any litigation or is to preserve privacy in a sensitive and highly personal matter; whether identification poses a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm to the requesting party or to innocent nonparties; the ages of the persons whose privacy interests are sought to be protected; whether the action is against a governmental or private party; and the risk of unfairness to other parties if anonymity is maintained.

B. If the court initially permits a party to proceed anonymously, the issue of the propriety of continued anonymous participation in the proceedings may be raised at any stage of the litigation when circumstances warrant a reconsideration of the issue. In all cases, all parties have the right to know the true identities of all other parties under such provisions of confidentiality as the court may deem appropriate.

C. If the court orders that the anonymous litigant be identified, the pleadings and any relevant dockets shall be reformed to reflect the party's true name, and the identification shall be deemed to relate back to the date of filing of the proceeding by the anonymous party.

D. In any legal proceeding in which a party is proceeding anonymously, the court shall enter appropriate orders to afford all parties the rights, procedures and discovery to which they are otherwise entitled.

2003, c. 572.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.