Lawyer-Blogger Settles Defamation Suit After Favorable Ruling on Punitives
Posted Sep 23, 2009 6:00 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A former in-house lawyer sued for his blog comments about an intellectual property litigator has settled after a favorable ruling during his defamation trial in Texas.
Rick Frenkel and his former employer, Cisco Systems, apologized for Frenkel’s anonymous statements on his Troll Tracker blog in a statement announcing the settlement, IP Law & Business reports. The statement by Cisco, also a defendant in the suit, said the case had been resolved to the parties’ “mutual satisfaction.”
The case settled before jurors began deliberations, the Southeast Texas Record reports.
The agreement was announced soon after U.S. District Judge Richard Schell ruled jurors would have to find actual malice to award punitive damages to plaintiff Eric Albritton, according to IP Law and Business. The judge said Albritton was a private figure, but Frenkel’s blog posts were about an issue of public concern—the work of the federal judicial clerk’s office. Albritton, a lawyer, had claimed Frenkel defamed him by accusing him of conspiring with the clerk to alter documents to obtain subject matter jurisdiction in a patent suit.
Frenkel is now of counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.