For an update:
By Bill Hankins
The Paris News
Published October 10, 2007
TEXARKANA — The identity of an unknown blogger named in the Essent-Paris Regional Medical Center lawsuit will not be revealed today.
The 6th Court of Appeals in Texarkana Tuesday issued a stay of 62nd District Court Judge Scott McDowell’s order for internet service provider SuddenLink to reveal the identity to the court by 10 a.m. today.
Attorney James Rodgers of the Moore Law Firm in Paris said the Court of Appeals granted a stay of the disclosure until Wednesday, Oct. 24. At that time oral arguments from both sides are to be heard to determine whether the information should be revealed.
Rodgers Monday filed a writ of mandamus asking the court to look at the disclosure issue.
The hospital filed the lawsuit June 19, accusing the unknown blogger of wrongful conduct in publishing “false and misleading” information detrimental to the hospital and asking he be silenced.
In its lawsuit, the hospital alleged some of the information on the blog was obtained illegally.
It said the blogger “published statements with malice, with a reckless disregard for truth or falsity and with negligence in failing to ascertain the truth of the statements.”
McDowell ordered SuddenLink to reveal the name of the blogger, but SuddenLink said the blogger must first be notified and given the right to lodge a protest to the disclosure.
Rodgers countered, telling the court the Cable Communications Act prevents such disclosure.
McDowell, citing a Circuit Court of Virginia case, then said the identity could be revealed if evidence satisfies the court the party requesting it has a legitimate, good faith basis to contend that it may be the victim of conduct actionable in the jurisdiction where the suit was filed.
Rodgers then filed the writ of mandamus asking the appeals court to intercede. It issued the stay order Tuesday.