Asbestos lawyer seeks sanctions in case over bloggers' identities
BEAUMONT, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Asbestos attorney Brent Coon recently filed a motion for sanctions in a petition brought by a Beaumont, Texas-area political commentator, calling the litigation frivolous.
On Jan. 30 Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, denied Philip Klein's verified third amended petition to take the depositions of Google and Coon, effectively ending the political commentator's three-year crusade to unmask two area bloggers.
Klein and his companies filed the petition against the Operation Kleinwatch and Sam the Eagle blogs, as well as Google and its subsidiary, blogger.com, on Aug. 26, 2009, in Jefferson County District Court.
He alleged Operation Kleinwatch and Sam the Eagle engaged in a pattern of libel and defamation, invasion of privacy and use of copyrighted images.
In his petitions, Klein claimed the bloggers defamed him by posting a parody of Dog Fancy magazine in which he was depicted under the caption, "Fat Men Who Love Their Dogs Too Much."
On May 6, Klein amended his petition to include Brent Coon as a respondent, seeking to take the trial lawyer's deposition concerning emails sent from his firm, Brent Coon & Associates, to the bloggers.
Court records show that Coon filed his motion for sanctions on March 26, asserting he was wrongfully sued through a Rule 202 petition, even after providing sworn testimony that he had no knowledge of any of the allegations contained in Klein's third amended petition.
Persons who file under Rule 202 anticipate the institution of a suit in which the person may be a party, and who desires to perpetuate or obtain the person's own testimony.
"The court clearly has the power to sanction petitioners and their counsel for signing and filing groundless, frivolous pleadings," Coon's motion states.
"Because petitioners' pleadings were both legally and factually groundless, and filed for the purposes of harassment, the court may order both petitioners and their counsel to pay Brent Coon $6,000 in attorney's fees and costs of court."
Coon is also seeking an additional $4,000 for his inconvenience and harassment, plus $257.45 in out-of-pocket expenses.
Klein responded to the motion on April 4, court records show.
He contends that the Rule 202 petition was neither frivolous nor a lawsuit.
"The 202 petition against Mr. Coon was not frivolous because Mr. Klein already told this court under oath that his office verified the location of emails that were sent to web sites defaming him was the Law Office of Brent Coon," the response states.
A hearing on the matter was slated to be held on April 5. However, the hearing was cancelled and has not been reset, a court official told the Southeast Texas Record.
Beaumont attorney John Morgan represents Klein.
Coon is represented by Beaumont attorney Jason Cansler.