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David Herr Offers Commentary on the Practice of Naming "John Doe" Defendants for Minnesota Lawyer Article

January 6, 2010

Maslon litigator David Herr's commentary is featured in a Minnesota Lawyer article titled "Faceless defendants pose unique challenges." The article, published on January 4, 2010, reports on a case where a nonprofit corporation is suing the StarTribune and, in a relatively unusual move, chose to also name "30 Does" as defendants in the lawsuit.

Herr indicated that although the practice of naming John Doe defendants is not inherently inappropriate, it is sometimes frowned upon by the courts. "It's not improper necessarily but it's certainly a procedural avenue that is tightly constrained by the courts, and should be," stated Herr. "It's got to serve some specific purpose the court recognizes as necessary."

Herr cautions that the John Doe procedure could be used by a party to make "grandiose" allegations of a conspiracy. "It's a way to create a pleading first and then gather facts," he explained, indicating that many courts could consider that an inappropriate fishing expedition.

David Herr is a highly regarded appellate lawyer and he also manages complex litigation cases. He is frequently sought out to provide practical and sophisticated advice on civil procedure and on how to resolve difficult, multi-party disputes in trial courts and arbitral forums, as well as in the appellate courts.


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