Charles Carreon Finally Gets Served

from the about-freaking-time dept

When last we checked in on “just keep digging” lawyer Charles Carreon, he had been hiding out in his Arizona home, purposely avoiding getting served for the lawsuit filed against him by a parodist blogger who Carreon had been threatening to sue. Carreon had promised to wait until people weren’t paying attention any more and then to sue, so the blogger sued first for declaratory judgment. Carreon has been consistently refusing to be served, while emailing Paul Levy, one of the two lawyers representing the blogger, to say that there’s no reason to serve him since he has no interest in proceeding. Of course, he says that now, despite the very specific claims in his threats… and despite the fact that Carreon specifically sought to get the blogger fired by contacting the blogger’s employer.

Thankfully, as Adam Steinbaugh alerts us, Charles Carreon finally got served by the other lawyer on the case, Cathy Gellis, who realized that Carreon was due to appear in court for a different case, and decided to stop by herself. You can read the full (brief) saga in Gellis’ filing (pdf):

On November 15, 2012, I personally served defendant the Summons and Amended Complaint in this case on defendant Charles Carreon. After Mr. Carreon told my co-counsel, Mr. Levy, that he was unwilling to expose himself to service (a copy of his email is attached as Exhibit A), I verified that he was scheduled to present oral argument on November 15 in a case pending before Judge Chen. I went to Judge Chen’s courtroom in the Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California. At 10:15 Mr. Carreon’s matter was called, and he identified himself to the court. At 10:50 his hearing concluded. I waited in the hall for Mr. Carreon to leave the courtroom, which he did by 10:55. When he did, I addressed him by name and said I had a summons and complaint for him. He extended his arm and took them. Service thus complete, I left the courthouse.

Boom. And now, hopefully, that case can move forward and the court can make it clear to Carreon that he cannot sue the blogger. Nicely done, Cathy — though, I’m partially (jokingly) steamed that I saw her the very next day at a conference and she didn’t even mention her adventures from the previous day.

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Comments on “Charles Carreon Finally Gets Served”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

"I'm sorry your honor, but my computer exploded, my office flooded, my..."

Now that he’s been legally served, I cannot wait to see what shenanigans he pulls to avoid actually going to court. I foresee a whole parade of ‘I’m sick’, ‘My car broke down’, ‘The dog ate my court papers’ and so-on.

Let the anticipatory popcorn popping commence!

Anonymous Coward says:

Shouldn’t it be illegal to knowingly and intentionally avoid being served? If I can’t be served in a timely fashion because I’m vacationing in Asia is one thing, but what Carreons been doing should at the least justified an officer showing up to ensure he gets served. If I remember right, they’ve been doing silly things like refusing to answer the door and immediately hanging up the phone.

Sneeje (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It isn’t illegal per se. However, if it can be shown that more than reasonable efforts have been made to serve and that service is being deliberately refused, the judge in the case can take further actions. Perhaps Mr. Carreon feels confident in his ability to thumb his nose at a judge, but in general it does not work in your favor.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

> If I remember right, they’ve been doing
> silly things like refusing to answer the
> door and immediately hanging up the phone.

So you’re advocating that it should either be a crime not to answer your door/phone or the police should have the authority to break it down if you don’t, just to hand you a summons in a civil case?

I never answer my door unless I know who’s on the other side of it because I don’t like having to deal with every other kid in the neighborhood selling candy or magazines or whatever. I likewise don’t answer my phone unless I recognize the number, because I don’t like being telemarketed to.

I guess that would make me a criminal if your suggestion ever became law, because that knock on my door might be a process server and I’d be legally obligated to open it and find out.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

Are you being served?

Watching the shenanigans from the other side of the pond (and behind the invisible fence) the concept of ‘being served’ is odd to me.

I’ve seen it on movies, where someone goes to extreme lengths to ‘serve’ papers to someone else but can anyone explain this concept to me. Presumably if you can somehow prevent someone handing you a portfolio of papers then you can evade justice?

Also, how does this differ to a letter offering settlement for copyright infringement etc…?

Genuine questions!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Are you being served?

You actually can do some pretty crappy things to avoid being served (gated community is often the hardest one because you are not allowed to trespass so all they have to do is not sign for the mail). Even those crappy settlement letters if you somehow know they are coming you could just refuse them and therefore haven’t seen them. Its pretty silly but if someone is determined as this guy is it can get pretty hard to serve them. Corporations have a bit of favor so its harder to avoid being served by them. However if someone is trying to serve you just don’t sign for mail and ignore all letters they send.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Are you being served?

The US has an infatuation w/ paperwork. The court system is overloaded w/ the stuff. Our country requires proper notice in order to be required to go to court on a specific day (court dates here aren’t set in a predictable manner, so you have to be told somehow). Usually, that notice is in paper so there is a paper trail.

The notice includes trial date & what charges are being brought (among other things I’m not going to look up to list).

It’s called Due Process, which has roots in the Constitution. Being Served likely evolved out of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth & Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.


As has been said, if a Judge thinks sufficient attempts to serve the papers has been made, he can override the requirement. Since Chuckles, being a “lawyer”, could be found the moment he had to appear in a court in person (& since most court proceedings are public record, could easily be discovered), such “sufficient attempts” had not been met until now.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Are you being served?

In spite of the room for shenanigans it allows, I like the US system better. It’s entirely possible for a properly mailed & delivered letter to nonetheless not reach the recipient, in which case we’d end up with someone being unfairly charged with failing to appear at a court date they knew nothing about.

I’d prefer guilty people go free if that means that innocent people don’t go to jail.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Are you being served?

> in which case we’d end up with someone
> being unfairly charged with failing to
> appear at a court date they knew nothing about.

> I’d prefer guilty people go free if that
> means that innocent people don’t go to jail.

We’re talking about civil cases here. No one’s going to jail. Worst that could happen is that if you miss the court hearing, the other side gets a default judgment against you.

Criminal cases aren’t ‘served’ by process servers. The cops either arrest you outright, or a grand jury hands down an indictment, which instructs the cops to go find you and arrest you. Either way, you’re unlikely to not notice you’ve been ‘served’ as they lead you away in handcuffs.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Are you being served?

> I’ve seen it on movies, where someone
> goes to extreme lengths to ‘serve’
> papers to someone else but can anyone
> explain this concept to me

One of my favorite cases in law school involved a defendant like this who kept evading service. Service in this case had to take place within the court’s jurisdiction to be valid. Eventually, the plaintiffs found out he’d be on a cross-country flight and the process server booked a seat on the same flight. When the plane was over the state in which the court was located, the process server got up and walked over to the defendant and served him at 35,000 feet.

He threw a legal fit over it, but the court ruled that he was properly served within the court’s jurisdiction.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re:

If he plays dumb (does that phrase still work w/ this moron?), they can probably just get the Security Camera video from the court house. Also, I’m sure there were plenty of witnesses.

IANAL, but I’m pretty sure it’s a crime not to answer a Summons one you’ve been Served, & is likely an ethics violation for Lawyers, which may be grounds for disbarment.

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