Three years ago, The Dallas Morning News took the city of Dallas to court over e-mails reporters Dave Levinthal and Reese Dunklin had wanted from then-Mayor Laura Miller's BlackBerry. The city contended that Miller's BlackBerry was her own, not paid for by taxpayers, and, therefore, not subject to state open records laws; the paper's attorneys argued otherwise. And, in October '07, when State District Judge Gena Slaughter ruled in The News's favor, David Starr, the vice president and deputy general counsel of Belo Corp., called it a "significant victory." And the city had to cover the paper's legal fees, guesstimated to be around $230,000.
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But a Friend of Unfair Park directs our attention this morning to a heretofore unmentioned ruling handed down last month by the State of Texas Fifth District Court of Appeals at Dallas, wherein Justices Morris, Francis, and Murphy reversed the judgment in favor of The Dallas Morning News and sent the case back to trial court. Starr tells Unfair Park this morning that "the case is far from over," and that "The Dallas Morning News intends to continue its vigorous pursuit of the e-mails that are important to our readers' understanding of the stories."