May 3, 2011

Case Law (Pt 3): Philip R. Klein

Our attorney, Jeffrey L. Dorrell, was honored as Appellate Attorney of the Week by the Texas Lawyer magazine for his work on our case, In re John Does 1 and 2:

The Texas Lawyer

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: The 411 on 202

Two anonymous bloggers will stay anonymous — for the time being — because of Jeffrey Dorrell's appellate work before the Texas Supreme Court.

Dorrell, a partner in Houston's Escamilla, Poneck & Cruz, says he geared up for a First Amendment showdown at the high court over whether two corporations that own The Southeast Texas Political Review could discover the identities of his two clients in a pre-suit deposition. But, as it turns out, Dorrell didn't have to go that far: He just had to convince the high court to force a trial court to stick to a procedural law, which he did.

The background to the high court's April 15 per curiam decision in In Re: John Does 1 and 2 is as follows:
  • PRK Enterprises and Klein Investments Inc. (collectively PRK) own The Southeast Texas Political Review. Two bloggers with the names Operation Kleinwatch and Sam the Eagle Weblog have criticized the owners, according to the opinion.

  • The bloggers subscribe to Blogger.com, a subsidiary of Google. PRK petitioned the trial court under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 202 to order discovery of the bloggers' identities in anticipation of a suit against the bloggers alleging defamation and invasion of privacy. Google then notified the bloggers that it had received the subpoenas, according to the opinion.

  • The bloggers moved to quash the subpoenas, arguing that the allegations in PRK's petition were insufficient to show a cause of action and that their identities are constitutionally protected from disclosure. The trial court denied the bloggers' motions and granted PRK's Rule 202 petition.

  • The bloggers petitioned for writ of mandamus, but an intermediate court of appeals denied mandamus relief, according to the Supreme Court's opinion.
The bloggers sought mandamus at the Supreme Court. On behalf of his clients, Dorrell argued that the trial court failed to comply with Rule 202's requirements. In addition to his First Amendment argument, Dorrell argued that, before allowing a pre-suit deposition, a trial court must find that "allowing the petitioner to take the requested deposition may prevent a failure or delay of justice in an anticipated suit; or the likely benefit of allowing the petitioner to take the requested deposition to investigate a potential claim outweighs the burden or expense of the procedure."

"The trial court clearly abused its discretion in failing to follow Rule 202," the high court wrote in Does 1 and 2. "The trial court is directed to vacate its order and to grant relators' motion to quash." [See the court's opinion.]

"I think the plaintiffs have many more arrows in their quiver to try to find out who the bloggers are. But they are going to have to find out who the bloggers are by following the procedures of Rule 202," Dorrell says. "But if at any point in that process the trial court orders the disclosure of the bloggers, there will again be a mandamus. We will not agree to disclose the names of the bloggers, because we think they are constitutionally protected."

Dorrell's argument got the better of his clients, says John Morgan, of counsel at Beaumont's Harris, Duesler & Hatfield who represents PRK and Klein. "He kicked my butt," says Morgan, who plans to replead his Rule 202 petition.

"He's a very intelligent and engaging attorney," Morgan says of Dorrell. "Both of us were disappointed that we didn't get a tome on the First Amendment issue."
Actually, we were delighted over the decision – we had a party but John and Philip weren’t invited.

Apparently John hasn’t realized that Jeffrey was picking low-hanging fruit (pun intended). The real fun in Philip’s SLAPP suit begins on May 27, when Philip must appear under oath to answer questions about his bizarre claims and online behavior in an evidentiary hearing before Judge Floyd.

This depends, of course, on the nature of Philip and John’s new petition. I’ve lost count, is this Philip’s fifth or sixth amended petition?

In the meamtime, Philip is still making up sources in an article where he alleges infidelity by former Judge Ron Walker in a purported divorce petition by Sandy Walker:
The past week - the Review broke a story that political powerhouse and ex-county judge Ron Walker and his wife Sandy were seeking a divorce. The rumor? Activity outside the marriage by Judge Walker.

The news hit like a shockwave after the weeks prior - district Judge and son of Ron Walker - Layne Walker had come under fire for accusations of abusing a county sheriffs deputy who was transporting prisoners. And for locking attorney's out of the back area of the judges chambers and requiring an escort back to his office. And if that were not worse - accusations of erratic behavior from both the DA's office and defense bar. All of which has caused political strife for the once politically powerful family.
No comment necessary, but I wonder why Philip didn’t splash former Judge Carl Griffith’s divorce across the pages of the Southeast Texas Political Review. Did I mention Philip's multiple divorce petitions? 

Here’s another low point in the English language from Philip’s latest so-called editorial, where he discusses his own opinion of Princess Diana:
Diana was brought up in wealth and privilege. She never wanted for anything. She had the looks and the money to boot. Charles married the lady who was 12 years her junior. She didn't like what she married and acted like a kid - that she was. They divorced. Post divorce she acted like a loon and tried to outshine the people and their money that took care of her. Then - she shipped the boys off to boarding school - just like she did. Then she scooted off around the world doing her thing - all in the good name of what? And she dated the staff, she dated rich men and the guy that eventually got her killed.

In fact, and not being mean - on the night of her death she was trying to find a hotel or home to go to with her lover.
No comment necessary on this juvenile rant, but Philip is a moron with little respect for anyone other than himself.

21 comments :

Anonymous said...

Every comment PRK made directed at Judge Ron Walker and Judge Layne Walker was a total lie. This is a personal issue with PRK. The only County Judge that divorced as a result of an extra marital affair was Carl Griffith. Fat Boy never said anything about that.

Anonymous said...

Klein never mentioned how Carl wronged Pat, W.L. Pate's sister. Griffith is an a**hole.

Anonymous said...

Gus, Klien knows all about infidelity.

Anonymous said...

As someone posted earlier, when Phil failed as a political pundit and subsequently was routed by the Supremes, he decided to be a gossip columnist: First an essay on Princess Diana, then a stab at the man who took down Carl Griffith. He does have first-hand experience in divorce court so perhaps he's found his niche.

Anonymous said...

griffith sucked as county judge.

Anonymous said...

Klein sucks as a human

Anonymous said...

Divorce Actions

* Klein v. Klein (C-0154240)
* Klein v. Klein (F-0159697)
* Klein v. Klein (C-0178521)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone (or everyone) noticed how PRK just keeps making a big circle in who he wants to pick a fight with today? He makes up lies, sucker punches people and then moves on to his next victim when he doesn't get a rise. It's just a big circle.

Anonymous said...

Klein scoops media again...breaking news on out of control penis...no details on size of penis...film at 4.

Anonymous said...

The penis behind the penis in east Texas politics

Anonymous said...

Pat Griffith didn't deserve what Carl Griffith did to her. Pat is a Pate, a lady of class, and will find happiness without Carl.

Anonymous said...

Since he served as Griffith's lap dog, that explains why Philip is trying to pick a fight with Bubba Pate.

Anonymous said...

I puke when I hear the name, Carl Griffith. He screwed over more county employees, it isn't funny.

Anonymous said...

I wish that the Walker family would sue that fat slob Klein. He is the first to piss and moan when he thinks that someone as attacked him and then he has the guts to attack Walker with that fat suckhole that he calls a mouth.Unlike that bag of pig manure not everyone gets a divorce because of infidelity.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious PRK has no respect for this country's legal system. I'd prefer to see if he respects the woodshed.

Anonymous said...

Gus, "I just want you to know I read you every damn day! Your site is great!"

Anonymous said...

Like a crawfish who smells a pot boiling with corn, potatoes and Cajun seasonings, KBTV's gabby gossip columnist is scuttling sideways after a new voice addresses his "Baby Mama" scoop. Another lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

Today Kliar is again bashing Brent Coon. It's just a continuous circle. No beginning and no end.

Anonymous said...

Gus, how can I contact Mr. Dorrell? I would like to talk to him about suing Philip Klein and Channel 4.

Anonymous said...

Klein is trying to boost his record as a prognosticator of political races but there is one fact no one can ignore: it takes a great candidate to overcome the burden of Phil's endorsement.

Anonymous said...

mark faggard should be excellent character witness regards us's character, intigrity, and honesty