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Can someone subpoena Google for your email identity under a John Doe ? In hopes to sue for libel?

Dayton, OH |

Neighborhood dispute. HOA sent email asking people to stop speeding. An unanimous email went back out to the group singling out a certain family that speeds all the time. Emails starting flying.. people were not happy it was unanimous. Another email was sent that stated it was unanimous because we were afraid of backlash or vandals , but trying to explain the intentions were just trying to get people to slow down before kids got hurt from the speeding. Now the family called out has sent an email stating they will be obtaining a subpoena for Google records to obtain my email identity to put my home insurance on notice because they will be suing for libel. The family in question happens to be a lawyer. Not sure if its just a threat or if they will follow thru. Just trying to be prepared

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Attorney answers 6


Google records can be subpoenaed. Whether or not they are able to obtain useful information is another question, that depends largely on how much information they have to start with. Proving libel claims is general a difficult undertaking. Sounds like you have an upset neighbor who will hopefully calm down after some time passes. Should an actual claim be made, you should advise your insurance company immediately. Best wishes.


Google records can be subpoenaed and can be used to create proof in a civil case.


They can be subpoena'ed, but Google is not known for its cooperation, and they are known for their shark tank full of flesh eating lawyers that descend on others. Personally, I think its all bluster, and if the family in question has a lawyer in it, then that lawyer should know that opinion is not actionable. Besides, they can't subpoena Google without a court case, and they can't file a court case without a defendant.

This is general advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


The internet records of Google and any other interactive web site, like social media sites, can be subpoenaed. It can be done as part of an active lawsuit that is pending somewhere or as part of a "discovery" lawsuit that is filed just for the purpose of getting the information. I don't know what was actually said by you and whether or not it meets the legal definition of libel or if this is all bluster and bullying and threats that you are hearing. Either way, you should talk to a local Libel Law attorney and not post any more info about this on the internet at all. If the person making the threats is an attorney, it is very easy for them to find your postings about this topic. You will need to talk to a local attorney who handles your kind of case. You can also search the Avvo web site under the Find a Lawyer tab, or call the Dayton Bar Association and ask for a referral to an attorney near you. If this answer was helpful, please give a “Vote UP” review below. And be sure to indicate the best answer to your question so we can all be sure we are being helpful. Thanks for asking and Good Luck. Ron Burdge,

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This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The law in your state may differ and your best answer will always come from a local attorney that you meet with privately. For a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, click on this link ( and find one near you


Generally, an internet service provider is subpoenaed to ascertain a person's identity, but you can move to quash.

Ronald Lee Burdge

Ronald Lee Burdge


Chris made a very good point that I completely forgot about (thanks, Chris) - you can always have a lawyer fight the subpoena for you too.


Generally, the answer to your question yes.

However, it's not libel if what you said is true.

Check your homeowners insurance to see if it covers something like this:

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