Charles Carreon Keeps Digging & Digging: Inman And IndieGoGo Hit Back

from the and-hit-back-hard dept

Well, they don’t call it the Carreon Effect for nothing. The lawyer who keeps on digging has decided to… keep on digging. Last week he filed an amended complaint pretty quickly after his original complaint — specifically with the goal of adding California’s Attorney General to the case. Why? Well, as we noted in our original post about his lawsuit, Carreon himself donated to Inman’s campaign, in what appears to be a ridiculously weak attempt to get “standing” to sue, but he may be realizing that said “standing” is unlikely to hold up in court — so perhaps he thinks that dragging the AG into the case will actually make the case go somewhere. Of course, it’s also worth noting that Carreon finally realized that “incitement to cybervandalism” was a dead end, and dropped that charge. Of course, as with nearly all things Carreon these days, the weakness of almost everything in the case likely dooms the entire thing (and may leave Carreon wishing he had just decided to do something else).

That’s because a few days later, Carreon filed for a temporary restraining order trying to get IndieGoGo not to give the money raised to Inman (in order to fulfill his plan of taking a photo with the money before giving it to the two charities in question), but rather demanding that IndieGoGo give the money directly to the charities. Yes, his entire argument is basically that he wants to skip the part where Inman gets to take a photo with the money, which he seems to think would mock him (even though it was always designed to mock Funnyjunk, not Carreon).

Thankfully, both IndieGoGo and Inman have hit back on the whole thing pretty hard. IndieGoGo, I’m thrilled to learn, has brought on one of my favorite law firms, Durie Tangri, to represent him, and both Ragesh Tangri and Mark Lemley appear to be helping out. When those two are involved, you know the response is going to be good, and this one does not disappoint (pdf and embedded below). Among other things, they point out that Carreon’s request for a temporary restraining order is moot, because the money has already been distributed — but also that Carreon already knew this and waited to file the TRO:

Carreon did not file his papers until June 30… By the time he filed them, he had been informed that the money already had been transferred…. At Inman’s request, his share of the money contributed to the BearLove campaign was sent by check to the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Fund, in equal amounts, on June 29…. As explained below, Carreon was aware at least as early as June 15 that the money was liable to be transferred at any time beginning June 26 and at all events no later than Monday July 2. He nevertheless made no effort even to file for a TRO until the close of business on June 28. And, while he notes that the ECF system was down at that time, he offers no explanation for not having sought to file his TRO application well before June 26 – which he knew to be the earliest date the money could have been transferred – so that the Court could have adjudicated it before the time period during which the money was due to be transferred began. Nor does he offer an explanation for having failed at least to bring the application to the Court’s attention by means other than ECF on Friday June 29.

The simple reason for that is that there never was an emergency here, or any serious threat to anyone or anything. Carreon’s application is gamesmanship. When Carreon filed his original complaint on June 15, he knew that funds would be disbursed within five business days of the close of the fundraising campaign, which was set for June 25. Indeed, on June 26, in conversation with Indiegogo’s counsel, he admitted that he was aware that the funds could be disbursed at any time between the time of that conversation and Monday July 2…. Yet Carreon waited nearly two weeks after filing his complaint to present the court with his TRO request at the eleventh hour. Had there been any threat of real harm, Carreon would have made this application with more than hours to spare

Furthermore, the filing rightfully points out that not only are Carreon’s claims a huge miss, but the idea that there is any sort of “irreparable harm” (required for the TRO to be issued) to him is laughable. Remember, Carreon donated a grand total of $10 here. Paying that back would solve any “harm” if there were any. That’s not irreparable. It’s the very definition of reparable. If there were harm. Which there is not. So of the “irreparable harm,” Carreon fails to show that it is irreparable (because it is not) or that there is harm (because there is not).

First, Carreon cannot demonstrate irreparable harm to anyone, and certainly not to himself. A temporary restraining order is a drastic remedy, intended to prevent the grave and irreversible consequences of some imminent event. Here, the only imminent event was the disbursement of just over $95,000 to the National Wildlife Fund and the American Cancer Society (not $200,000 as Carreon’s application mistakenly states), fulfilling Inman’s promise to donate the money to those organizations – the very outcome that Carreon claims to desire. Indiegogo will retain roughly $8,800 as a processing fee. Carreon’s total contribution was $10. Should it later be determined that any harm flowed from these events, that harm would be readily compensable with an award of monetary damages or restitution.

Second, Carreon has not demonstrated and cannot demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits. His claims against Indiegogo are barred by section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), which protects from liability a provider of an interactive computer service that merely publishes information provided by another information content provider. And his claims under the Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act, Cal. Government Code sections 12580 et seq., are likewise barred because that statute does not create a private right of action that would afford Carreon standing to sue for its violation.

There’s also the fact that IndieGoGo never touches any of the money that is paid via PayPal, meaning it couldn’t have stopped it from going to Inman in the first place. The filing points out that this is clearly stated in IndieGoGo’s terms of service — something that Carreon claims to have read and which he cited in his own filing. IndieGoGo also points out that Carreon makes a bunch of crazy statements in his TRO request, including the idea that Inman might get a huge tax writeoff from all of this. As IndieGoGo’s response points out, Carreon is “not remotely qualified” to make such an analysis, not the least of which because it’s so obviously wrong to… well… anyone with even the slightest amount of common sense. The only way that Inman would get the writeoff is if the money was counted as income to himself, and, as the IndieGoGo filing notes, the supposed “benefit” from the writeoff “would be offset by at least an equivalent increase in income, thus leaving Inman at break-even or worse.”

And then there’s Inman’s response (pdf and embedded below), also discussed by the EFF who wrote it along with (occasional Techidrt contributor) Venkat Balasubramani. It hits back equally hard (if not harder). Any filing that starts out with the following sentence is a filing you just know is going to be good:

Plaintiff Charles Carreon’s application for a temporary restraining order… is notable as much for its lack of context as its lack of merit.

The filing makes the basics clear: this is a “blatant — and baseless — attempt [by Carreon] to retaliate against a critic with whom he is engaged in a very public dispute.” It goes into lots of details, nearly all of which seem to demonstrate Carreon’s grasp of the law here is weak at best (some might argue “non-existent” at times). My favorite bit:

Likewise, the First Amendment does not permit the law to hold, as Mr. Carreon claims, that the phrase “Fuck Off” “cannot be lawfully associated with tax-exempt charitable solicitation in the State of California.”

Following that, the filing actually cites a previous court ruling on how “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.”

The bigger point, is that Carreon seems to repeatedly just make stuff up. He claims that Inman misrepresented that donating to the campaign would be tax deductible, even though he did no such thing — and, in fact, IndieGoGo is pretty clear about when projects are not tax deducible. Yet, Carreon pretends that he expected “his” donation to be tax deductible. Separately, as Adam Steinbaugh points out, Carreon makes this claim (that he expected his donation to be tax-deductible) in a highly questionable way — especially since his “donation” came just hours before the lawsuit he filed — and demonstrates pretty clearly that Carreon was already intending to file the lawsuit, and that the donation was just a weak attempt to get standing. The EFF’s filing points out how courts tend to look poorly on plaintiffs who do something solely for the purpose of trying to create standing to sue — because it pretty clearly suggests they were not wronged or deceived, but willingly partook of a situation they fully understood in order to seek standing in a lawsuit.

Basically, Carreon just seems to keep digging. He’s trying to drag California’s Attorney General into the matter, because he’s at least realizing that his own standing is pretty weak, but this TRO request seems to just reinforce the idea that this whole thing is about Charles Carreon being petty and petulant in trying to mess up Inman’s attempt to make a statement about the money. Carreon, once again, would be well-served to take some time off and think about what he’s doing, rather than reacting by insisting he’s going to show the world who’s boss. Each move he makes just makes him look even worse.

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Companies: durie tangri, eff, indiegogo

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Comments on “Charles Carreon Keeps Digging & Digging: Inman And IndieGoGo Hit Back”

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Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile) says:

Re: Y is to .... how much of WHOSE money, did Inman donate to charity ?

Rightly so. The guy is a pr disaster.

But law is not PR. (no matter how much I dislike him = not relevant to law)

Inman is to me is like Fox news to the Daily Show!
(playing with peoples emotion for public opinion, ignoring facts in the process)
(wait..copying is “theft”, forgot)

He did not donate $20,000 of his own money to charity. ( which would have won me over)
The +$1000 per day earner, viral marketeer and known link scammer, donated other peoples money to charity.
(all facts, but I will receive butthurt complaints for pointing them out)

Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Y is to .... how much of WHOSE money, did Inman donate to charity ?

Google it: will always get you an Inman comic. Funny that? considering Inman was co-founder of a SEO company. Same thing happens when you google how much he made from selling his “Mingle2” dating site and when you look for info on how Google obliterated the site from its search results.

I posted it before, got a lot of hate and ignorance thrown my way, was even called Carreon ffs.


‘Offending code’

But Stephen Sherlock in Massachusetts didn’t realise what was happening until we told him. Now, somewhat annoyed, he’s removed the “offending code” – the link to “I don’t like those who game the system. I’ll be much more careful with the next opportunity to participate in a meme like this,” he says.

Dan Thornton, a community marketing manager for Emap and editor for Disposable Media, innocently added the test to his blog. He says: “If I’d examined the HTML I definitely would not have included the link on my page, and would have publicised the fact that it’s a scam.

“Hiding link code in a widget like this is basically using the same methods as you would use to spread a virus, and while this is essentially just to aid someone’s Google ranking, the fact they felt they had to hide it in such a way makes me a little annoyed.”

Inman says: “This is just a clever spin on linkbaiting that gives me a competitive edge. Placing links on websites to aid in search marketing efforts is nothing new.” Yet the dividing line between fiendish money-making or clever marketing may never have been narrower.

Google obliterated the site from its search results

Earlier this year, Matthew Inman had achieved the notable distinction of vaulting a Web site called JustSayHi high into the results for a search on “online dating.” But after he expanded his effort to new areas, Google obliterated the site from its search results.

GMacGuffin says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Y is to .... how much of WHOSE money, did Inman donate to charity ?

Yeah, so Inman’s got a Black-Hat-SEO background and suffered the Gpenalty. So what? People change. Sometimes people become cartoonists instead.

Har. No fauxtrollbash response here. Most interesting. If Carreon had lawyers, I imagine they’d be making big hay of this — despite its irrelevancy to the issue at hand (unless he actually had good lawyers, which would create a paradox in light of the existing lawsuit and cause the universe to collapse on itself).

Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Y is to .... how much of WHOSE money, did Inman donate to charity ?

Google will nearly always take you to his version of the story or a comic, with the actual, independently, unbiased reported story on page 3+ of google search.( sometimes page 10+)
The joys of being an SEO, you can bury negative stories about yourself.

Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 dismissal of facts... ignorance or rational ?

it’s relevant…
The “poor defenseless Cartoonist” , that people gave a fuck about, is far from what they thought they gave a fuck about.

I had a good look into him.. BEFORE I gave a fuck about him.
I have been played before, by manipulation of conscience and emotion.
NOT this time.

what i saw…
Donating other peoples money to charity, to fight a defamation case is not logical, it serves only one purpose, manipulation of emotion.
He could easily afford to donate the money himself.
Among a shitload of other stuff…
Not a fuck was given from that day forth.

about.. “Inmans Personal Army”
People are fucking crazy “white knighting” for Inman , he is moar than capable of taking care of himself.
Go ahead and be his hero, like he gives a fuck about you.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 dismissal of facts... ignorance or rational ?

It’s unrelated to this story.

The original complaint about copyright infringement by Inman (and it was pretty blatant because the copyright tags were actively removed by funnyjunk users), dates back a year.

Only recently did FJ through the lawyer Carreon respond to The Oatmeal claiming that the year old blog post was without merit and defamatory (because FJ had removed the comics that were linked in that post), demanding 20000 USD as (extortion) fee, despite the fact that FJ’s users were still actively and blatantly infringing on the copyrights of Inman.

This led to Inman creating a comic about FunnyJunk’s CEO’s mom loving a bear, and asking The Oatmeal’s visitors to help raise the $20000 to take a photo of it, and send that photo to FunnyJunk, because the real money would go to the two charities.

But indeed, I shouldn’t give a fuck about the mangling of truths should I? I’m not white knighting here, never liked The Oatmeal, hell, I didn’t even donate to the charity, but I can’t stand injustice nor mangling of truths and conflation of completely unrelated issues.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Anonymous Coward says:

What I want to know is why this mother fucker thinks it’s okay to donate money that will be going to a charity THEN TRY TO TAKE IT BACK.

It takes a real low mother fucker to donate to cancer then change your mind.

What the hell was he thinking FFS! Even if it was meant to be a trap the fact still remains he tried to take it back from a charity. It does not matter if Inman was the middleman on the transaction. It’s completely irrelevant.

Charles Carreon you truly are a scumbag.. I’m not gonna tell you to go kill yourself but I will say this.

Why don’t you just be a man and admit you were wrong. I have zero respect for you but if I seen that you decided to be a man it would be a big step in the right direction.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

OK, somehow I’m kinda imagining a sort-of contrast between Phoenix Wright and Carreon (after reading an above comment). Here are the differences:

Wright: has the ability to pull off turnabouts that are capable of helping him win each cases with little to no evidence, point out contradictions and is capable of finding the real murderer after taking several beatings (figuratively and literally) in and out of the courtroom

Carreon: goes about citing that he has been victimized by a cartoonist’s drawing of his client’s “mother,” go to major news stations and websites and talks about about being hacked by the man you’re trying to sue, filed a lawsuit against Inman, IndieGoGo, the American Cancer Society AND the National Wildlife Federation, also filing a restraining order too late, and his wife goes on a trolling rampage on a tech news site, complaining about random conspiracies, pasting odd poetry, and linking to a site I can’t access. (due to it being block, and thank God for that!)

Add on to the symbolism to their names (Wright being a metaphorical phoenix due to his nature of coming back from the brink of defeat, and Carreon sounding like an animal carcass), you got the two sides of the defense attorney’s coin in how to be a good attorney (if you’re not a butt monkey) and a bad lawyer.

Prepare the ovens, we got ourselves a roast coming on!

Fishrocksyoursocks says:

Love this part

So I was reading the Opposition to Carreon’s TRO and I came across this part: “First, to the extent the claim is intelligible, it appears to be based solely on Indiegogo?s
publication of content generated and provided by Inman.” I love this because the attorney is basically telling the judge… hey look this guy Carreon is a whack job as I’m sure you can tell when trying to read his pages of non-sense. Attorneys normally don’t make that kind of dig against another attorney and save those comments for crazy Pro Se folks who submit like 50 pages of non-sense about why they don’t have to pay taxes and why they think the court isn’t valid because of the type of fringes on the flag.

ottermaton says:

Show me the money.

Just curious … quoted in the article is this from Ragesh Tangri and Mark Lemley:

Here, the only imminent event was the disbursement of just over $95,000 to the National Wildlife Fund and the American Cancer …

But, if you look here the total amount raised is $220K.

So, where’s the other $125K? Just wondering.

Anonymous Monkey (profile) says:

Re: Popehat: Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part VIII

from that link:

“Mr. Carreon also demanded that Paul Alan Levy convey Mr. Carreon’s disquiet about this case, and Public Citizen’s involvement in it, to Ralph Nader. I am unable to make the preceding sentence any more hilarious, and so will hang my head in shame and move on.”

Wait… what ?!? ROFL! Just WAYYYYY too funny!

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

But the best part of all about his latest filings has been omitted.

Carreon has told the court that coming to court would be a huge financial burden upon him and wants to conduct some business telephonically…

I find this amazing because he picked the court himself, and somehow it never occurred to him that he would be required to show up in court at least a few times.

The Carreon Effect: The act of doubling down, then quadrupling down, and finally going all in on an untenable position.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re:

Actually, it wasn’t ommitted. At least not by me. Not my fault if Mike left it out.

I first posted it in AnderwF’s Favorites.

& I’m pretty sure I mentioned it when I submitted the story to Techdirt…

& I’ll post how I described his filing the TRO: Charles is trying to shoot off his other foot, while it’s in his mouth.

Anonymous Coward says:

UPDATE: Judge Chen's ORDER

From Popehat:

THIRD UPDATE: July 2, 2012 at 3:30 PST: Judge Chen has issued an order asking Mr. Inman to submit evidence that he has, in fact, sent checks to the two charities, suggesting this would make the motion moot. This is a very strong indication that Judge Chen will deny the motion as moot if Mr. Inman supplies the evidence.

Text of Judge Chen’s ORDER:

Plaintiff Charles Carreon has applied to this Court, ex parte, for a Temporary Restraining Order to enjoin defendant Indiegogo, Inc. from transferring the proceeds of the Bear Love campaign to Matthew Inman or any other entity. Counsel or Indiegogo, Inc. states in a declaration that such a transfer of funds held by Indiegogo has already taken place. See Declaration of Ragesh Tangri ? 6 (Docket No. 22, Attachment 1). Mr. Inman states, ?with respect to the remaining funds,? that he has ?written a check to each charity? in the amount of $54,473.32, and has ?given these checks to my counsel to forward to the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation.? See Declaration of Matthew Inman ? 40 (Docket No. 24). Although this would moot Plaintiff?s request for a TRO, the Court has not received verification that these checks have, in fact, been delivered to the two charities.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT defendant Matthew Inman file proof showing that these two checks have, in fact, been delivered to the two charities by no later than 5:00 p.m. on July 3, 2012.

Dated: July 2, 2012

United States District Judge

(Emphasis in original.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: more awesome

nothing, I just simply missed it

Well, that happens sometimes… I’ve done that myself?more than once.

( But, really, you’re not able to pinpoint a reason why you didn’t see it? I’m honestly curious. Most of the time, when I write something, I look back at it later, and say to myself, ?You know, I could’ve written that better.? )

Lurker Keith says:

Stumbled upon something weird...

Adam Steinbaugh, who scooped Ken on Part VII, posted something out right weird. I debated not posting this, since I can’t tell if it’s real, but it appears Techdirt if familiar w/ the person in question

The Oatmeal case gets even more bizarre. Enter ?Gino Romano?, aka Jonathan Lee Riches

There are 2 filings reprinted in full.

Looks like we can’t call Charles the most insane on in this thing anymore…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Stumbled upon something weird...

Saw the same filings via RECAP.

In comments at another site, someone who alleges they have PACER access (aka “some guy on teh intarwebz”) claims they’re for real. I don’t know. I really have my doubts over whether any of this is real.

If this isn’t just an advertising stunt, then I’d hope that the motion for rule 11 sanctions requests that the judge order a mental-health examination (and tox screen) for Mr Carreon.

Heck, if it is an advertising stunt, then the rule 11 motion for sanctions should ask the judge to order a mental-health examination (and tox screen) for all the attorneys.

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