United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
N.S., by and through Timothy Marble, her Conservator, Plaintiff,
STEVEN DOUGLAS ROCKETT, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
V. ACOSTA United States Magistrate Judge.
N.S. initiated this lawsuit against defendant Steven Douglas
Rockett ("Rockett"), asserting a claim under 18
U.S.C. §2255. Rockett answered the complaint, and
included two motions in his answer. (ECF No. 5.) First,
Rockett moves to compel N.S. to proceed under her full name.
Second, Rockett moves to stay this lawsuit until his criminal
appeals relating to the same subject matter as this lawsuit
are resolved. The court denies both motions. The court
further orders both parties to refer to N.S. only by her
initials throughout this lawsuit.
alleges the following facts in her complaint. N.S. is a
minor. (Compl. (ECF No. 1) ¶4.) Rockett raped and
otherwise sexually abused N.S., including an incident where
Rockett solicited sexually explicit images from N.S.
(Id. ¶¶ 6-7.) A federal jury convicted
Rockett of multiple criminal charges. (Id. ¶
9.) One of Rockett's federal convictions arose from
Rockett's solicitation of sexually explicit images from
N.S. (Id.) A jury in state court also convicted
Rockett of multiple criminal charges, some of which arose
from Rockett's sexual abuse of N.S. (Id. at
Use of Initials.
normal presumption in litigation is that parties must use
their real names." Doe v. Kamehameha Sch./Bernice
Pauahi Bishop Estate, 596 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir.
2010). Some exceptions allow parties to proceed anonymously,
though. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
("Rule") 5.2(a), court filings must refer to
individuals known to be minors by the minor's initials,
unless the court orders otherwise. Ninth Circuit precedent
also "allow[s] parties to use pseudonyms in the
'unusual case' when nondisclosure of the party's
identity 'is necessary ... to protect a person from
harassment, injury, ridicule or personal
embarrassment.'" Does I thru XXIII v.
Advanced Textile Corp., 214 F.3d 1058, 1067-68
(9th Cir. 2000) (quoting UnitedStates v. Doe, 655
F.2d 920, 922 n.1 (9th Cir. 1981)). Courts balance "the
need for anonymity against the general presumption that
parties' identities are public information and the risk
of unfairness to the opposing party." Id. at
1068 (citations omitted). Courts applying this balancing test
have recognized three situations allowing a plaintiff to
(1) when identification creates a risk of retaliatory
physical or mental harm; (2) when anonymity is necessary to
preserve privacy in a matter of sensitive and highly personal
nature; and (3) when the anonymous party is compelled to
admit his or her intention to engage in illegal conduct,
thereby risking criminal prosecution.
Id. (internal quotation marks and citations
Motion to Stay.
courts may, but are not constitutionally required to, stay
civil lawsuits because of parallel criminal proceedings.
Fed'l Sav. & Loan Ins. Co. v. Molinaro, 889
F.2d 899, 902 (9th Cir. 1989). First, courts "consider
the extent to which the defendant's fifth amendment
rights are implicated." Id. at 903. Courts also
consider other case-specific factors, including:
(1) the interest of the plaintiffs in proceeding
expeditiously with this litigation or any particular aspect
of it, and the potential prejudice to plaintiffs of a delay;
(2) the burden which any particular aspect of the proceedings
may impose on defendants; (3) the convenience of the court in
the management of its cases, and the efficient use of
judicial resources; (4) the interests of persons not parties
to the civil litigation; and (5) the interest of the public
in the pending civil and criminal litigation.
Id. (quoting Golden Quality Ice Cream Co. v.
Deerfield Specialty Papers, Inc.,87 F.R.D. 53, 56