Earlier this month in The Washington Post, another First Amendment attorney, Eugene Volokh, noted that he had spotted 25 different cases relying on a similar scheme. In those cases, plaintiffs claimed to be self-represented, but the suits all seemed to contain the same legalese, suggesting a common author. Of those 25 cases, 15 listed the addresses of the defendants, but a private investigator couldn’t locate a single one of them.
Volokh began noticing the pattern after a case in which a Georgia dentist attempted to get reviews left by a patient removed by suing him—using a slight misspelling of his name in the wrong state. The scheme was outed when Yelp emailed the patient asking him to remove defamatory comments in accordance with the lawsuit settlement. Except that the patient had never actually been sued.