Charles Carreon Keeps Digging; Now Targeting Lawyer Who Is Seeking Legal Fees [Updated]
from the digging-digging-digging dept
The latest is that Carreon has asked the court for a 120-day extension in responding to Levy's motion for fees. Asking for an extension is not uncommon, and it's often granted -- but the reasoning here is a bit out of the ordinary (which, perhaps, should not be unexpected given who is involved). Rather than citing significant other cases or workload that might get in the way, or highlighting why the basic requirements in responding to the motion require more time, Carreon seems to be trying to smear Paul Levy and his employer, Public Citizen (full disclosure: Levy is a friend, and has, at times, represented this site against threats). Much of Carreon's argument is this bizarre conspiracy theory suggesting that Levy trolls the internet seeking cases where he can file for declaratory judgment, and then tries to cash in on legal fees. He cites two (two!) cases where Levy has, in the past, sought legal fees and lost. And then suggests he needs more time to research all of this more, including seeking discovery from Levy and finding groups to file amicus briefs ("friend of the court" briefs) on his behalf.
To put it mildly, this is crazy. Carreon seems to be trying to turn a case in which he was clearly the initial bully, and got called on it, into one where he tries to sift through documents concerning the lawyer who called his bluff. Basically, it's back to Carreon's game plan throughout this mess: when in trouble, keep digging -- and, as part of that digging, accuse everyone against you of somehow doing something nefarious. In the past, this has included accusations against bloggers and press who were covering his saga (including threats to sue some of them), and now it's extended to threats to drag Levy into a time consuming and meaningless discovery process. Levy filed a short response, noting that he has no problem giving Carreon a 30 day extension, but going on a fishing expedition via discovery makes no sense as they're just trying to settle whether or not Carreon needs to pay legal fees. Furthermore, the search for amici to support him is no excuse for asking for an extension.
Carreon then responded not by countering any of the legal points that Levy raised concerning the extension or discovery, but simply by playing a weird game of "gotcha" in which he wants to call the court's attention to the fact that, in his reply, Levy decided not to even bother responding to Carreon's silly assertions about Levy deliberately trolling the internet for cases where he could seek legal fees (based on the two cases Carreon found where Levy sought legal fees).
Plaintiff’s counsel’s silence regarding the judicial rebuffs his arguments suffered in the Eleventh and Fourth Circuits speaks volumes.Of course, this ignores a much more plausible scenario (one that happens to be true). As is Public Citizen's charter, Levy and others in the Public Citizen litigation group have a core focus, which is that the group "specializes in cases involving regulation, consumer rights, access to the courts, open government, and the First Amendment, including Internet free speech." Basically, they look for cases that help promote the public good on those particular issues. As such, they are certainly one of the leading groups that people reach out to when they are threatened unfairly. And, based on that, it's not surprising that, at times, this leads to cases in which it is appropriate to seek legal fees. Sometimes they will get those legal fees, and sometimes they will not.
Mr. Levy is simply engaging in a form of forum shopping, eagerly seeking and recruiting clients who create gripe sites to file preemptive declaratory relief actions in various venues, hoping to coerce settlements from vulnerable defendants, or perhaps to lead some court into error by failing to disclose his prior defeats on the very same issue in other jurisdictions
What that has to do with whether or not Carreon should pay up legal fees for his actions is anybody's guess.
Oh, and I think that we (and a few other sites still talking about Carreon) get a bit of a backhanded mention in this one:
Defendant is not a public figure, no issue of public importance has been addressed, and the matter has not been found newsworthy except in online publications desperate for pseudo-legal content.Are we an "online publication desperate for pseudo-legal content"? We have more than enough content, honestly, and I could do without any more Carreon filings, but he just keeps digging, so the topic just keeps flowing.
Oh, and despite Carreon's claims that Levy is all too eager to jump into these kinds of cases, filing declaratory judgments and then seeking legal fees, I will note that my own personal experience with Levy was that he has, multiple times, steered me away from going that route. If his ultimate goal was to file as many such cases as possible, I doubt that would be the case.
Update: And... between me writing this story and publishing it, the judge has quickly rejected most of Carreon's arguments, giving him 60 days as an extension but saying no to the discovery request, saying simply:
Defendant’s request for extensive discovery would amount to a mini-trial on plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees. Such extensive discovery is unnecessary and a waste of resources."Unnecessary and a waste of resources" seems like a phrase that can be applied to an awful lot of Charles Carreon's recent activities.