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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Woman Gets Anonymity to Sue Millionaire Rapist

(CN) - A woman who was raped by an heir to the Max Factor fortune does not have to use her real name to verify her identity in another lawsuit, a California appeals court ruled.

Andrew Luster was convicted of raping Shawna Doe after knocking her out with the date-rape drug GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate). He videotaped the attack and labeled it "Shawna GHBing."

Luster's mother, Elizabeth, later gave the tape to CBS, which broadcast it on national television in an episode of "48 Hours Investigates."

Luster was convicted of 80 sex crimes in 2003 against Doe and other victims and was sent to prison for 124 years.

Shawna won a civil lawsuit against Luster later that year for $19 million. Luster, a trust fund millionaire, went bankrupt, but the judgment was not discharged.

In this case, Shawna sued Andrew and his mother, alleging the fraudulent transfer of funds to avoid paying the judgment.

After the trial court would not allow Shawna to preserve her anonymity, she and her counsel were sanctioned for refusing to disclose her true name on court-verification documents during discovery.

California's second appellate district granted Shawna a writ of mandate on Wednesday, stating that she could use "Doe" as her surname in the lawsuit and on verification documents.

"Elizabeth Luster argues that Doe's true name must be supplied on the verifications under (state law), which allows declarations under penalty of perjury when 'subscribed' by the party or witness," Justice Walter Croskey wrote for the Los Angeles-based court. "'Subscribe' means to sign with one's own hand. There is no particular requirement as to the name which must be used."

The court also overturned the sanctions against Doe and her attorney.

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