AUSTIN -- The Texas Supreme Court unanimously granted an unusual writ of mandamus late Friday afternoon and ordered Beaumont trial judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd District Court to vacate his order that Google, Inc., disclose the identities of two anonymous bloggers.

The blogs, and, publish satirical parody and other biting criticism directed at Beaumont private investigator and local media personality Philip R. Klein. Acting as Klein Investments Inc. and PRK Enterprises Inc., Klein filed suit to learn the bloggers' identities.

Klein alleged that John Does 1 and 2 were guilty of copyright infringement, defamation, conspiracy, and invasion of privacy. Floyd ordered Google to identify the bloggers in a decision on January 29, 2010.

After the Ninth Court of Appeals refused the original mandamus, Houston constitutional law attorney Jeffrey L. Dorrell filed with the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of the bloggers. The higher court stayed Judge Floyd's order in June 2010 to consider the merits of the bloggers’ argument that their right to criticize public personalities anonymously was constitutionally protected.

Today’s ruling disposes of Floyd’s order in favor of the blogs and orders the judge to grant the original motion to quash by the bloggers.

Among other things, Klein claimed the bloggers defamed him by publishing a parody of Dog Fancy magazine where he was depicted under the caption, “Fat Men Who Love Their Dogs Too Much.” The parody satirized an MSNBC network story on Klein entitled "The Pet Lover." Klein argued the blogs implied that he had “sex with animals.”

Representing the blogs, Dorrell argued that Klein is libel-proof because “facts exposed in the course of the plaintiff's two bankruptcies, at least 40 lawsuits, and constant vindictive, publicity-grabbing attacks on southeast Texas municipalities, school districts, elected officials, local television stations, local reporters, and others” had made Klein the object of public ridicule before the blogs began publishing.

“We are obviously pleased that the Supreme Court recognizes the First Amendment right to criticize public figures anonymously,” said Dorrell. “This is an American tradition that goes all the way back to Benjamin Franklin writing commentary as an elderly widow under the nom de plume of Silence Dogood. Satirical parody can be harsh, but if Saturday Night Live got sued every time it made fun of Sarah Palin or Barack Obama, television would be a pretty barren source of amusement.”

Klein has recently claimed on his own blog that prominent Beaumont attorney Brent Coon is the anonymous author of the blogs, a claim both Coon and the blogs have denied. Klein has threatened more litigation.

For more information, contact:

Jeffrey L. Dorrell
Escamilla, Poneck & Cruz, L.L.P.
201 Stratford
Houston, Texas 77006
Telephone: 713-807-1188