Appeal dismissed in blogger identity suit
Earlier this month, the Southeast Texas Record reported that the Ninth District Court of Appeals denied the appeal of two unidentified bloggers who wished to keep their identities hidden from local political commentator Philip Klein.
At the request of the two bloggers, justices on May 20 dismissed a second appeal filed by Sam the Eagle Web blog and Operation Kleinwatch Web blog.
Both Sam the Eagle and Kleinwatch are pseudonyms adopted by the two appellants whose real identities will most likely be revealed soon, thanks to a lower court's order forcing Google to give up their names.
"The appellants ... filed a motion to dismiss this appeal and to transfer the record of this appeal to the file of the companion mandamus proceeding," the Ninth Court's opinion states.
"We denied the appellants' petition for writ of mandamus in a previously issued opinion. Due to the disposition of the mandamus proceeding, the request to transfer the appellate record to the mandamus proceeding is denied as moot. The motion to dismiss is voluntarily made by the appellants prior to any decision of this Court. We grant the motion to dismiss and dismiss the appeal."
Klein, who writes a blog on his website The Southeast Texas Political Review, sued the two unknown individuals for defamation, alleging they were actively harassing him through their websites.
Klein and his company, PRK Investments, also named Google as a defendant and subpoenaed the company in order to learn the bloggers' identities.
In a motion to dismiss filed in response to the bloggers' most recent appeal, Klein says the "bloggers and Google are doing everything they can to drag their feet to protect (their) identities and to continue with the defamation campaign."
Google and the bloggers were attempting to appeal Judge Donald Floyd's January ruling which directs Google to spill the beans.
Through his companies, Klein sued the Operation Kleinwatch and Sam the Eagle blogs, as well as Google and its subsidiary, blogger.com, on Aug. 26, 2009, in Jefferson County District Court.
In his suit, Klein claims Operation Kleinwatch and Sam the Eagle have engaged in a pattern of libel and defamation, invasion of privacy and use of copyrighted images.
"These Web sites host significant, false information and invade the privacy of Petitioners throughout the Web site," the suit states. "The purpose of these Web sites is to disparage, harass and cause injury to these Petitioners, as well as Mr. Philip Klein personally."
Court papers say some of the articles appearing on Operation Kleinwatch refer to lawsuits in which Klein is allegedly involved.
"The Web site Operation Kleinwatch, contains false information on legal proceedings that do not involve either Mr. Klein individually or the Petitioners, falsely represent that judgments have been taken against the Petitioners and/or Mr. Klein individually, falsely identify a bankruptcy proceeding, also identify lawsuits that do not involve Petitioners and/or Mr. Klein individually," the suit states.
Klein is represented by Beaumont attorney John Morgan.
The bloggers are represented by attorney Jeffrey L. Dorrell.
Google is represented by attorney Dennis Lynch.
Appeals case Nos. 09-10-00189-CV and 09-10-00051-CV
Jefferson County District Court case No. E184-784