Phil Mickelson has filed a lawsuit against an Internet service provider in Canada to learn the identity of a person who has been posting “vexatious statements” that the four-time major champion says are a deliberate attack on his reputation.
“I’m all for freedom of speech, but I won’t tolerate defamation,” Mickelson said on Thursday after his opening round in the Phoenix Open.
In his lawsuit against Videotron S.E.N.C in Quebec Superior Court, Mickelson cited comments posted on Yahoo! Sports on Nov. 11 and 12, in which one or more persons under the pseudonyms “Fogroller” and “Longtitude” made statements that alleged, among other things, that Mickelson’s wife had an affair and that he fathered an illegitimate child.
Mickelson says he is a victim of defamation. He is asking the court to force Videotron to identify the person so Mickelson can “stop the dissemination of false and wrongful statements … and obtain reparation for the prejudice already suffered.”
The motion was filed in Montreal on Jan. 25.
Glenn Cohen, the Jacksonville-based attorney for Mickelson, said Videotron did not oppose the request for subpoena, and that he expects the information shortly.
Whether the case has wider implications for anonymous postings on the Internet is not Mickelson’s concern.
“If we can stop one person, then it’s one less person who can get away with this,” Cohen said. “Maybe it will have a chilling effect. I don’t know. If other people are victims of this and want to take up the mantra, that’s fine. It was a very narrow decision Phil and I made to discover this person’s identity and stop it.”
Mickelson first filed a complaint on Nov. 21 in San Diego County superior court, which authorized him to subpoena information from Yahoo! Inc. That led to identifying “Fogroller” as a Montreal resident, with Videotron as the Internet provider.
Mickelson wants the Quebec court to demand that Videotron supply him with all information of the person using the Internet protocol (IP) address who first registered under the “Fogroller” pseudonym on Dec. 16, 2008, and of the person using the IP address that posted the statements about him.
The person was using an email address of fogroller(at)yahoo.com at the time of registration. An email sent to this address by The Associated Press was returned as undeliverable.