from the keep-digging-carreon dept
While Carreon eventually dropped his lawsuit against Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal, it wasn't before one of the parody bloggers he had threatened filed for declaratory judgment, claiming that his blogging was legal. Carreon quite clearly was threatening the blogger, and had even suggested that he would wait until the attention died down to sue -- which clearly gives the blogger grounds for seeking a declaratory judgment. That, of course, is a separate lawsuit, initiated by the blogger, so Carreon can't just drop it. But what he can do, apparently, is everything possible to avoid being served. The judge's own summary of the situation (via Popehat):
Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment that his satirical website does not infringe the trademark defendant has in his own name. Prior to filing a complaint, plaintiff's counsel was in contact with defendant via email. After filing the complaint, defendant and his wife publicly discussed the pending litigation. Plaintiff's counsel mailed defendant a request for waiver of summons to his address in Tucson, Arizona, which defendant did not execute. Instead, the entire envelope was mailed back to plaintiff, unopened, inside a second envelope. This same sequence of events was repeated after plaintiff filed an amended complaint. At plaintiff's request, the Court issued a summons, and plaintiff hired an Arizona process service company to serve the summons at the residential address. On the first visit, the server announced himself and was told “No thank you,” and left with the papers. On the second and third visits, nobody answered. The process service company then tried to serve the summons and complaint by certified mail, but the package was never claimed.Of course, during this time that Carreon was hiding out from officially being served, it didn't stop him from continuing to find ways to intimidate the blogger in question. Again, from the judge:
During this time, defendant contacted the general counsel of Walgreens, plaintiff's employer, stating plaintiff had used Walgreens' computer equipment or internet access to create the allegedly actionable website, and implying he might make Walgreens a party to the litigation under a theory of respondeat superior. The demand letter sent to Walgreens contained the same Tucson, Arizona address and email address that plaintiff had been using to attempt service on defendant.Following that, the blogger's lawyers once again emailed Carreon a copy of the summons, complaint and amended complaint -- including sending it to the address Carreon used to threaten Walgreens... and Carreon ignored that too.
Unfortunately, Carreon seems to be working the system effectively. Because even with all of these obvious attempts to avoid having to actually deal with the lawsuit against him, the judge is asking the blogger and his lawyers to "try harder:"
The process server could easily wait outside the fence for defendant to enter or leave the residence and could then leave the papers in the defendant's presence. Alternatively, the process server may choose to wait near a location defendant is thought to frequent, such as an office or grocery store. If the defendant still refuses to accept the papers, it will be considered sufficient if the “server is in close proximity to the defendant, clearly communicates intent to serve court documents, and makes reasonable efforts to leave the papers with the defendant.”And with that, the judge refuses to allow the emails to constitute proper service. Public Citizen, who is handling the case pro bono, is asking for donations to help pay for hiring someone to "sit outside Carreon's house until Carreon appears," noting that he's "carrying through on his promise to run up the cost of litigation."
It's unclear what Carreon thinks he's accomplishing here, as he's going to have to face these charges eventually. But, as once again seems clear, his response is to... just keep digging.