Reynolds fighters in court to ID critical blogger


Oral legal arguments are set for Nov. 7 in a Kettering-based company’s quest to have search engine giant Google identify an anonymous blogger who has been critical of the company.

Reynolds and Reynolds Co. and Robert Brockman, Reynolds’ chairman and chief executive, are identified as “real parties of interest” in a Texas case, as is Google Inc. The case’s “relator” is identified as John Doe, an anonymous blogger once called “Trooper” on the Internet. (A “relator” in law can be someone who has information about a workplace or information relevant to a legal case.)

The Supreme Court of Texas will hear oral arguments in the case at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, according to a court notice filed last week.

“Trooper” began blogging about Reynolds and Reynolds after Houston-based Universal Computer Systems acquired the company, taking it private, in 2006. According to a recent blog posting on Lawyers.com, “Trooper” has compared Brockman “to Bernie Madoff and Satan, and calling him an idiot, a lunatic and a crook. Reynolds’ new CEO didn’t take kindly to that and went to court to get Google to cough up the identity of Trooper, whom management suspected of being an employee.”

Another blog, called “Reynolds Information Two,” was created after Trooper apparently ceased blogging. The newer blog — which says it was created to provide information about Reynolds “in the absence of Trooper” — does not appear to be active, with the most recent post there dated January 2011.

According to case documents, Brockman and Reynolds are seeking “certain identifying information” from Google regarding the blog created by “John Doe” or “Trooper.” According to Reynolds, what Trooper has written on that blog has been “critical and defamatory of Reynolds.”

“The dispute raised in this proceeding is fundamentally between Reynolds and John Doe,” says one document in the case filed in April 2013 on behalf of Google.

That filing adds: “Google is, quite simply, ‘caught in the middle’ of this dispute between Reynolds and John Doe.”

The filing says Google will provide information to Reynolds if ordered to do so, but the company feels it should not be required to do that.

According to Lawyers.com, in 2011, a trial court agreed to force Google to reveal “Trooper’s” identity and an appeals court agreed with the ruling. Trooper “continues to resist Reynolds’ attempt to find him and has now convinced the Texas high court to rule on the matter,” the site said.

A Reynolds spokesman declined to comment Friday, citing the ongoing litigation. Messages seeking comment were left with attorneys representing Google.

Attorneys for “Doe” declined to make their client available for a phone interview, but they said the case goes to the heart of what the First Amendment protects.

“This is a case that quite easily could end up in the United States Supreme Court,” said Richard Faulkner, a Richardson, Texas attorney representing “Doe.”

However the Texas Supreme Court decides, Doe is prepared to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, Faulkner said.

“Doe” does not and has not worked for Reynolds and Reynolds, he added. Asked if he or she worked for a Reynolds competitor, Faulkner said, “Trooper was in a position to be knowledgeable.”

Attorneys for the blogger said the case is not technically a lawsuit, but a legal “device” — a pre-suit request for a deposition — filed in an attempt to identify “Doe.”

Reynolds and Reynolds, which provides software and other products and services to automobile dealers, has some 1,300 workers in Kettering in a campus off County Line Road.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Dozens attend breast cancer 5K in Dayton
Dozens attend breast cancer 5K in Dayton

Dozens of people participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Saturday morning at Fifth Third Field, according to a release. The 5K is part of a national fundraising effort. The donations from the walk went directly to the support, transportation, recovery, and other needs that arise with the diagnosis of breast cancer. The donations...
One dead, two juveniles in serious condition after entrapment crash
One dead, two juveniles in serious condition after entrapment crash

A 2005 Chevrolet Uplander minivan, driven by Linda K. Camp, 71, of Springfield, was heading westbound on Dayton Springfield Road when she drove left of the center line and struck a 2001 Lexus LX470 SUV, driven by Margaret I. Wagner, 27, of Oakwood head-on, according to a release. Camp was taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced...
Award-winning author visits Hamilton as part of One City One Book
Award-winning author visits Hamilton as part of One City One Book

The Lane Libraries and One City One Book welcome author Emily St. John Mandel on Oct. 22 for a discussion of this year’s One City One Book selection, “Station Eleven.” “Station Eleven,” which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, was chosen for the...
Help raise awareness at KAP for the Heart benefit tonight
Help raise awareness at KAP for the Heart benefit tonight

KAP for the Heart (KAPftH) will host their first annual Murder, Mystery & Mayhem for the Heart benefit tonight from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. at the Dayton Women’s Club, 225 N. Ludlow Street, according to a release. KAPftH is to help raise awareness for and promote a proactive approach to heart conditions to prevent sudden cardiac arrest in youth...
AK CARES, Grandpa Gang work to get Light Up Middletown ready
AK CARES, Grandpa Gang work to get Light Up Middletown ready

About 30 AK CARES volunteers recently teamed up with the 15-member Grandpa Gang to begin setting up some of the several dozen displays that are part of Light Up Middletown. Lisa Jester, AK Steel’s corporate manager for communications and public relations, said while AK Steel employees have always given back to the community for decades, the AK...
More Stories