September 20, 2009 5:07 PM

LITIGATION DAILY: The Hits Just Keep Coming at 'Texas Troll' Tracker Trial

Posted by David Bario

This story was originally published by The Am Law Litigation Daily.

The much-ballyhooed "Troll Tracker" defamation trial unfolding in Tyler, Texas, has already produced plenty of grist for tort reformers, bloggers' rights advocates, First Amendment buffs, and litigious patent holders everywhere. And as promised, IP Law & Business reporter Joe Mullin continues to deliver the story.

In case you don't belong to one of the aforementioned groups and need a refresher, the case concerns two October 2007 blog posts by former Patent Troll Tracker blogger Rick Frenkel. East Texas patent litigators Eric Albritton and T. John "Johnny" Ward, Jr. (yes, he's the son of famed Marshall, Texas, federal district court judge John Ward) sued over claims that Frenkel and his former employer Cisco Systems libeled them when Frenkel wrote that they conspired with a courthouse clerk to change a date on a patent infringement suit filing. Mullin has covered the case exhaustively, most recently here, here, here, and here.

On Friday, Ward and Albritton took the stand and described to the jury their reaction to Frenkel's posts. Albritton said he'd been "hurt" and "humiliated." Explaining why he didn't just complain to the then anonymous blogger, Ward said: "You don't wrestle with a snake, you cut its head off."

Cisco lawyer Charles Babcock of Houston's Jackson Walker asked Albritton how he could claim that Frenkel called him a "criminal," since that word does not appear in the blog posts. "It does call me a criminal," said Albritton. "There's no legitimate dispute, Mr. Babcock."

"That's your position," said Babcock.

"It's the truth!" said Albritton. "Truth is truth in East Texas, Mr. Babcock."

Albritton is represented by Nicholas Patton of Patton, Tidwell & Schroeder and solos James Holmes and Patricia Peden. Frenkel is represented by George McWilliams of Texarkana. The jury is expected to get the case next week; we'll keep you posted.

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