The Hatfields and the McCoys had nothing on Philip Klein and Jeffrey Dorrell. The two adversaries are feuding again, using lawsuits as weapons.
Klein is the private investigator and blogger who once invoked the First Amendment to defend himself against a defamation suit relating to his blog posts, then later sued Google for the names of anonymous bloggers allegedly defaming him.
Earlier this year a client of Jeffrey Dorrell's sued Klein for more than $2 million in damages, following a harrowing encounter with a bounty hunter known to work for Klein. Klein insists the bounty hunter was not working for him at the time. He accuses Dorrell of violating state barratry laws by recruiting litigants to file suit against him and “using the civil justice system to litigate our firm out of business.”
This past April, Klein filed a breach of contract suit in 60th District Court against Kallop Enterprises and several of its subsidiaries, ultimately securing a $569,000 default judgment against them as damages for services allegedly rendered by his company but not compensated.
Judge Justin Sanderson, who has since withdrawn from the case, awarded the judgment and denied the defendants’ motion for a new trial.
The defendants – represented by Klein’s arch rival, Dorrell – argued that the process service and returns of service were fatally defective, and the Ninth Court of Appeals agreed with them, overturning the judgment rendered by Sanderson.
Klein claimed to have served each defendant via certified mail but the delivery receipt he presented in court did not include the delivery address or the name of any addressee.
“The record does not include copies of any ‘green cards’ (USPS Form 3811) establishing the date of delivery of the certified mail and there is no name of the person(s) accepting the delivery,” the appeals court noted. “Therefore, the record does not show strict compliance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure for service of process and return of service.”
It sounds like Klein’s got some explaining to do – and perhaps Judge Sanderson, as well.