DALLAS --A Texas man who filed a defamation lawsuit against Google and two anonymous bloggers could be on the hook for legal fees and damages if the judge rules against him, but John Margetis of Midlothian is vowing to fight on and win.
Margetis said Google attempted to settle with him today, but he rejected their offer. "I'm not going for that stuff," he said. "I'm going forward full force."
A hearing is scheduled for March 14 on Google's motion to dismiss the lawsuit that Margetis filed in 95th District Court in Dallas Feb. 19
Google is arguing under Chapter 27 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code that the lawsuit lacks an essential element. The stories cited by Margetis actually were published by an anonymous blogger on the company's free Blogspot.com service, not Google itself.
Google also argued that Margetis is a public figure because he is a frequent subject of the media, and that he is a "self-proclaimed freedom fighter" who has attracted widespread public attention. The plaintiff is known throughout the community for himself posing the question, "Am I a homosexual?" during a protest at a local voting precinct, the motion said.
Google also noted that Margetis has had judicial proceedings filed against him that the anonymous blogger covered in opinion pieces.
Google further backed the anonymous blogger, who identifies only as "Ginger Snap" and posts on "Joeyisalittlekid.blogspot.com," by noting that the opinion pieces concerned matters of "public concern regarding public figures, safety, the government, community well being and public officials."
After the blog was shut down for alleged hate speech by Wordpress.com last year, the anonymous blogger relaunched it on Blogspot.com. All of the old stories, including ones attacking Margetis and suggesting he and former Ellis County Observer blogger Joey Dauben were homosexual lovers, were transferred to a Google blog "Joeyisstillalittlekid.blogspot.com" by an associate of "Ginger Snap" that goes by the name "OReader" and "OllieReader."
The old stories are now able to be read by invited guests only since the filing of the lawsuit. OReader commented on Ginger Snap's blog that if Margetis had requested the removal of the stories rather than filing suit, it would have happened.
Margetis named both of the anonymous bloggers and Google in his lawsuit. Google is represented by Dallas media attorney Charles Babcock.
Margetis initially obtained a temporary restraining order against Google and the anonymous bloggers, but that was dismissed by Judge Sheryl McFarlin Feb. 25 during the company's initial answer to the lawsuit. A hearing was scheduled for March 14 on a permanent restraining order, but Google's motion for dismissal will also be considered now.