If someone has anonymously defamed you online, it is important to contact an attorney quickly to discuss your options and take prompt next steps.
In this situation, if you chose to go froward with legal action, your attorney will likely need to quickly file a lawsuit agianst “John Doe”, and then file a legal document called an ex parte application for an order allowing discovery (subpoena for business records) prior to service on a defendant to allow you to attempt to discover the identity of the anonymous defendant.
Your attorney can then issue a subpoena requesting user information associate dwith the anonymous post. This will not contain the content of any email, but it is likely to contain the IP addresses used to create and access the account. It also often includes the email addresses used to create and/or access the account. It could include additional information, such as a phone number, but it is doubtful that someone trying to hide their identity would include a phone number. If the person that defamed you is not very savvy, they could have used an email that makes it obvious who they are. If not, the next step would be a second round of subpoenas to discover the user information for the IP addresses and for the email that you learned were associated with the account.
You should act very quickly because service providers such as Comcast and AT&T only retain IP user information for approximately 6 months before it is purged. Other companies maintain these records even shorter periods of time.
If you have been the victim of anonymous internet defamation, contact the Broderick Saleen Law Firm at (650) 857-9000 or (916) 550-3092 to speak with an experienced defamation attorney.