On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court granted an emergency stay in In re Art Harris, No. 09-0761, a petition filed by a freelance reporter who is fighting an order to turn over his hard drive in civil litigation growing out of the Anna Nicole Smith estate battle.

Although this petition involves a freelance journalist (and thus might involve some broader First Amendment principles or even Texas’s recently enacted shield law), it may boil down to a more general question about discovery in civil cases: Have the standards for electronic discovery that the Court announced in In re Weekley Homes, L.P., No. 08-0836 (DocketDB), been met in this case?

You can follow future activity in this petition at DocketDB.

Other materials about the underlying state court suit have been collected by the Citizen Media Law Project here (and materials about a related federal court suit here). Other background is available here.

Sources: “Court grants freelancer’s motion to protect hard drive” (RCFP)