Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Texas High Court Lets Blogger Retain Hard Drive in Libel Suit

The Texas Supreme Court has stayed a lower court order that would require freelancer Art Harris to surrender his computer hard drive in a defamation suit filed by Virgie Arthur, mother of the late model/actress Anna Nicole Smith.

The Lone Star State's highest court granted Harris' emergency motion Sept. 11th in In re Art Harris (Case No. 09-0761). Besides Harris, Arthur sued an entertainment Web site, Smith's former attorney, and a couple of bloggers, alleging they defamed her reputation through libelous E-mails, blogs, and Web site postings. The case is Virgie Arthur v. Howard K. Stern, Bonnie Stern, Lyndal Harrington, Art Harris, Nelda Turner, Teresa Stephens, Larry Birkhead, Harvey Levin, and TMZ Productions, Inc (Case No. 2008-24181).

TMZ was named for purportedly posting a since-removed article entitled "Virgie has son with her stepbrother." Harris is alleged to have defamed Arthur on his blog, The Bald Truth. Special Master Craig Ball will receive Harris' hard drive if the Court ultimately rules against the Atlanta-based freelancer. Harris contends that Ball is a paid consultant of the Plaintiff.

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