House Bill 1635 – Internet Defamation

Andaleeb Geloo, aka “Andi”, is an extremely friendly and hard-working attorney at the Fairfax County Courthouse. However, in 2013 Andi was going about her regular business when a former client alerted her to some malicious comments made about her on FairfaxUnderground. To Andi’s discovery, some anonymous writers posted terribly untrue sexist, racist, and rude comments about her.

As most in her position would, Andi set out to find the real identities of the anonymous people unjustly attacking her over the internet. Unfortunately, certain IP addresses can be masked; making Andi’s task much more difficult than she had anticipated. After finally gathering enough information to conduct a lawsuit, Andi ran into a wall; an outdated statute of limitations that prohibited her from following through with the case because her online defamation had occurred more than one year from the time of the suit.

Andi didn’t let this dissuade her. She decided to try and change the law. Andi then came to me and together we wrote HB 1635, which states that if a person files a suit within a year, but is unable to identify the attackers by name, the suit will not be dismissed while he/she awaits the information on the identity of the internet attackers.

Check out this article in the New York Times highlighting Andi and her story!

Albo and Andi Geloo looking at billHere is a picture of me and Andi in front of the General Assembly building this year after our bill was passed into law.

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