United States District Court, E.D. California
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
John John, is proceeding in this action pro se. This matter
was referred to the undersigned in accordance with Local Rule
302(c)(21) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
1, 2017, plaintiff filed a second amended complaint. (ECF No.
8.) Plaintiff acknowledges that plaintiff did “not file
this case in his real name.” (Sec. Am. Compl. (ECF No.
8) at 3.) Accordingly, on January 24, 2018, the undersigned
issued an order ordering plaintiff to either file a motion to
proceed anonymously or file a third amended complaint under
plaintiff's real name. (ECF No. 15 at 3.) On February 1,
2018, plaintiff filed a request to proceed anonymously. (ECF
No. 16.) Defendant filed an opposition on February 12, 2018.
(ECF No. 17.) Plaintiff filed a reply on March 2, 2018. (ECF
normal presumption in litigation is that parties must use
their real names.” Doe v. Kamehameha
Schools/Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate, 596 F.3d 1036,
1042 (9th Cir. 2010); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a)
(“[t]he title of the complaint must name all the
parties”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(a)(1) (“An action must
be prosecuted in the name of the real party in
interest.”). Nevertheless, many federal courts,
including the Ninth Circuit, have permitted parties to
proceed anonymously when special circumstances justify
secrecy.” Does I thru XXIII v. Advanced Textile
Corp., 214 F.3d 1058, 1067 (9th Cir. 2000).
“[w]hen a party wishes to file a case anonymously or
under a pseudonym, it must first petition the district court
for permission to do so.” W.N.J. v. Yocom, 257
F.3d 1171, 1172 (10th Cir. 2001). “In order to proceed
anonymously, a plaintiff must show both (1) a fear of severe
harm, and (2) that the fear of severe harm is
reasonable.” Kamehameha, 596 F.3d at 1043.
“Examples of areas where courts have allowed pseudonyms
include cases involving abortion, birth control,
transexuality, mental illness, welfare rights of illegitimate
children, AIDS, and homosexuality.” Doe v.
Megless, 654 F.3d 404, 408 (3rd Cir. 2011) (quotation
omitted). “To determine whether to allow a party to
proceed anonymously when the opposing party has objected, a
district court must balance five factors: (1) the severity of
the threatened harm, (2) the reasonableness of the anonymous
party's fears, (3) the anonymous party's
vulnerability to such retaliation, (4) the prejudice to the
opposing party, and (5) the public interest.”
Kamehameha, 596 F.3d at 1042 (alteration and
weighing of the severity of the threatened harm, the
reasonableness of the anonymous party's fears, the
anonymous party's vulnerability to retaliation, the
prejudice to defendants, and the public interest finds that
the factors overwhelmingly weigh in favor of denying
plaintiff's request to proceed anonymously. In this
regard, plaintiff has previously used his real name in
actions against the defendant involving similar allegations
as those alleged here. See Singh, et al. v. City of
Sacramento, et al., No. 2:15-cv-0997 AC PS (E.D. Cal.
2015); Singh v. County of Sacramento et al., No.
2:14-cv-2382 JAM KJN PS (E.D. Cal. 2014).
it appears that plaintiff has previously attempted to conceal
his identity for impermissible purposes, with one court
finding that plaintiff:
has played an endless game of “Now you see it-now you
don't” with the courts. He has filed pleadings and
made appearances in various actions under multiple names, to
the point of being jailed for contempt of court.
Singh v. Lipworth, No. C053762, 2008 WL 2445205, at
*6 (Cal.App. 3 Dist. June 18, 2008).Moreover, plaintiff's
alleged fears are unreasonable. In this regard, plaintiff
asserts that plaintiff should be allowed to proceed
anonymously because the defendant “harassed, injured
and embarrassed plaintiff publicly” with “false
charges, ” but plaintiff acknowledges that the
defendant here has already “recognized plaintiff,
” and is aware of plaintiff's identity. (Pl.'s
Mot. (ECF No. 16) at 2.) Allowing plaintiff to proceed
anonymously, therefore, cannot shield plaintiff's
identity from the defendant nor stop plaintiff from being
charged with a crime.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff's February 1, 2018 request to proceed
anonymously (ECF No. 16) is denied;
2. Within fourteen days from the date of this order,
plaintiff shall file a third amended complaint under
plaintiff's real name;
3. Within twenty-one days of plaintiff's filing the third
amended complaint, defendant shall file a responsive
4. Plaintiff is cautioned that the failure to timely comply
with this order may result in a recommendation that this
action be ...