Charles Carreon (finally!) gets served in Satirical Charles case

You might recall that way back during the Oatmeal/Funnyjunk saga, Charles Carreon — the villainous attorney defeated in that story — went after an anonymous blogger, Satirical Charles.

After forcing Register.com to give up the blogger’s name (by threatening to add Register.com as a defendant in a lawsuit to be filed the next day – a lawsuit Carreon never filed), Charles Carreon promised legal fire and brimstone, asserting a ridiculous theory of trademark liability (because Carreon trademarked his own name).  Carreon warned that he would pursue the blogger to the ends of both earth and statute of limitations.

Satirical Charles, with an assist by Paul Alan Levy of Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen, fired back with a Federal lawsuit seeking a declaration that his use of Carreon’s name was protected by the First Amendment.

Despite Carreon’s bravado, he has since been hiding out in his Tuscon, AZ abode, avoiding process servers like they were CIA agents out to get him.  (Long story).  Even though Carreon’s a self-styled “internet lawyer,” and even though he receives official court communications via an email address, our legal system continues to require physical service of process.  The court insisted on personal service, though it documented Carreon’s ridiculous evasions of service in its order (PDF).  Without service of process, the case couldn’t continue, and Carreon was free to let his censorious threats hang in the air (even going as far as to attempt to get the blogger fired, by threatening a lawsuit against Walgreens) with no repercussions.

Until Cathy Gellis found him in San Francisco.  Cathy, one of the attorneys helping the blogger, learned that Carreon was slated to make a personal appearance in her local Federal court.  Cathy  waited patiently for Carreon to make his appearance, than served him in the hallway.  The proof of service is here (PDF).   I’m jealous of Cathy: she not only gets to help a blogger protect his speech rights, but she got to see the look on Carreon’s face.  Though the proof of service doesn’t note it, I hope she took a picture.

The proof of service also contains this email from Carreon to Paul Alan Levy:

I have no interest in litigating this matter, and accordingly will not consent to or expose myself to service. There is no case or controversy, and your client has no Article III standing to file this suit, which is simply some bizarre form of harassment in which you play the role of officious interloper.

Not only does Carreon deserve little sympathy for complaining of legal harassment (having sent the below letter and tried to get the blogger fired using frivolous legal threats), he’s singing a new tune.  Just a few months ago, Carreon promised that he would sue the blogger with one of the most grotesque letters of censorious legal thuggery I’ve ever read:

  • As far as when and where I will sue your client, be certain that it will occur if your client does not cede the domain, and advise her of ten things:
  • There there is essentially no statute of limitations on this claim, and the prima facie laches defense would not kick in for at least three years.
  • That venue in this action can be validly laid in at least three places, maybe four, if she doesn’t live in Arizona, Florida, or California. […]
  • That the law in this area cannot be predicted with certainty, will evolve substantially over the next three years, during which I will be using digital forensics to establish actual trademark damages in addition to seeking the maximum cybersquatting penalty of $100,000; […]
  • That you cannot guarantee that Public Citizen will provide her with free legal services on June 1, 2015, when I may very well send the process server ’round to her door. […]
  • That the litigation, being of first impression in virtually every Circuit, grounded in a federal question, involving a registered trademark, and dispositive of many open issues in the field of Internet commerce and speech, might very well continue for a decade.

Well, Charles Carreon — you might get your wish.  Too bad you no longer want it.  But wait, there’s more!

Charles could have been cooperative and waived personal service under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 4(d)  The judicial system rewards cooperative parties: they get a whole 60 days to respond to a Complaint if they waive service and everyone saves some money.  Because Carreon doesn’t want to play nicely, he may have to pay the costs of being served (Rule 4(d)(2)) and he only gets 21 days to file his answer — meaning December 6th.

Why, that’s just right around the corner — and just in time for the holidays!  Get your holiday popcorn balls ready.

(Hat tip to the Satirical Takedown Lawyer, who’s covering an equally bizarre internet controversy, for pointing this out.)