“Apparent forged court order for the benefit of a New Britain (Conn.) volunteer city commissioner” is the headline of a column by UCLA School of Law Professor Eugene Volokh, published on the editorially independent “The Volokh Conspiracy” portion of the Washington Post.
Volokh’s column discusses a request to Google to “deindex” an opinion piece by Bobby Berriault published by the New Britain Progressive (formerly called the New Britain Independent) and a Change.org petition, both critical of Ken Haas and calling for his removal as city Conservation Commissioner in the administration of Republican Mayor Erin Stewart. Volokh notes that “the request was accompanied with what looked like a court order in Haas v. Berriault. The order purported to be in a libel and false light invasion of privacy lawsuit…”
“The trouble,” Volokh wrote, “is that there is no such case. There is no such court order. There is no Connecticut Superior Court Judge named John W. Darrah.”
On its site called, “Legal Removal Requests“, Google says that, “As part of our efforts to remain transparent, a copy of each legal notice we receive may be sent to the Lumen project for publication and annotation. … It’s also a database of requests to remove content from internet platforms.”
The Lumen website shows a “Court Order Complaint to Google” with “Ken Haas” named as the “Sender”, concerning both the New Britain Progressive opinion piece and the petition.
Volokh cited an Illinois case, presided over by federal Judge John W. Darrah, and noted that “The purported Haas v. Berriault order seems to copy some parts of the real Darrah order, including the case number, the general format of the title, some of the language and Darrah’s signature.”
Volokh said that, though the request was in Haas’s name, “it is of course possible that this was done by someone else”, but added that, “I called Haas to ask about what happened here, but he told me he had no comment.”