PHILADELPHIA – A local university professor is determined to discover who impersonated him when posting a controversial political comment on an online news article reporting his employer’s choosing of its first female president.
Through his counsel, city resident Edward A. Turzanski filed his second petition with the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on June 25 to compel Philadelphia Media Network, the owner/operator of Philly.com, to disclose the identity of an unknown individual who impersonated Turzanski and left a comment bearing his name on a Philly.com article reporting the selection of La Salle University’s first-ever female president.
Turzanski wants to bring civil action against the individual who impersonated him for invasion of privacy by appropriation of name/likeness, but claims he can only learn the identity of the impostor through a court order, permissible through the Pennsylvania Stored Communications Act.
Turzanski wants the party responsible to receive a copy of the petition, along with a time limit of 30 days to respond to it.
Judge Nina Padilla Wright granted Turzanski’s first petition filed March 10 asking for similar identity disclosure of the party responsible, but no further information resulted from that approval, leading Turzanski to file a second petition.
A hearing in this pending libel matter was set for Thursday at Philadelphia City Hall, in Court chambers.
Turzanski, a professor of political science and history at La Salle University, also acts as counsel to the president of the school and as its assistant vice president for government and community relations, in addition to being a well-known public speaker of conservative political philosophy.
On Feb. 19, Philly.com posted an article on its website titled, “La Salle U. chooses its first female president," describing the selection of the school’s new president, Colleen M. Hanycz.
In the article’s comment section, an unknown individual posting under the name “Edward Turzanski” left a comment expressing desire for “women to show what they can contribute to a once all-male dominated institution," in addition to espousing support for the election of Hillary Clinton as President of the United States and the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel.
Once he became aware of the comment, Turzanski contacted Philadelphia Media Network to have the message removed from the article’s comment section, a request it fulfilled. But for further legal action to take place, Turzanski asserts he needs the media network to provide information identifying the person responsible for writing the comment.
The plaintiff is represented by Jeremy D. Mishkin and Jennifer E. Canfield of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, in Philadelphia.
The defendant is represented by Eli M. Segal and Kaitlin M. Gurney of Pepper Hamilton, also in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150300489
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org