Two groups of prospective witnesses in a defamation suit a Texas lawyer filed against the Patent Troll Tracker blogger and his former employer, Cisco Systems Inc., won a temporary reprieve today from subpoenas ordering them to testify at the trial. On Feb. 27, U.S. District Judge Richard Schell of the Eastern District of Texas signed an order in Eric M. Albritton v. Cisco Systems Inc., et al. that moves the final pretrial conference in the suit from March 2 to April 24. Schell also noted in the order that he will schedule the date and location of the trial at that pretrial hearing, so he granted motions to quash subpoenas filed by two groups of prospective witnesses. “No further trial subpoenas shall issue until after the final pretrial conference,” Schell wrote. On Feb. 26, U.S. District Clerk David Maland of the Eastern District of Texas and seven employees of his office filed a motion to quash trial subpoenas issued by plaintiff Albritton and defendants Cisco and Richard Frenkel, the blogger, on several grounds, including that they would be “unduly burdened” to have to testify at the trial and they already gave depositions in November 2008. In addition, a group of four intellectual property partners and a legal assistant at Baker Botts had sought to quash plaintiff subpoenas requiring them to appear at the federal courthouse in Tyler on March 2, because it would be too “burdensome” and because the plaintiff had an opportunity to take their deposition testimony. In his complaint, Albritton, of the Albritton Law Firm in Longview, alleges Frenkel published statements on the Internet claiming that Albritton had conspired with the "Clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas" to "alter documents to try to manufacture subject matter jurisdiction where none existed." The defendants deny the allegations.
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys