Last year I blogged quite a bit about the saga of the saga of attorney Charles Carreon's disputes with Matt Inman of The Oatmeal. I have an update. It is a minor one.
You may recall that Carreon uttered extravagant threats against a satirical blogger, only to settle the case in the blogger's favor when the blogger — aided by Public Citizen — sued for declaratory relief.
That case is now embroiled in a dispute over the blogger's request for attorney fees. Mr. Carreon, resisting any award of fees, served me with a subpeoena for communications with the blogger and the blogger's attorneys of record. I objected. Mr. Carreon has now filed his opposition to the motion for fees; you can read about his arguments at Techdirt or Adam Steinbaugh's blog.
I write not of the substance. I confine myself to noting footnote one of Mr. Carreon's brief:
White, a criminal defense lawyer with a Libertarian following, derides other lawyers at Popehat.com as “Censorious Asshats.” http://www.popehat.com/2012/12/26/vote-in-the-secondannual-popehat-censorious-asshat-of-the-year-poll/ White conceived a special dislike for the Lawyer, recruiting readers to play a “Twitter hashtag game: #charlescarreonnewcareers,” and recruited them as an “Army of Davids” to “take a screenshot or print … to pdf [any] web page” showing that the Lawyer had made “an inconsistent statement [or] shows hypocrisy.” (Carreon Dec. ¶ 5; Exhibit 1.) When served with a subpoena for documents in this case, White responded with the disclosure that he had exchanged over 200 emails with the Gripesite Operator, and refused to produce anything, claiming that the Lawyer possesses “animus” towards White. (Carreon Dec. ¶ 5; Exhibit 2.)
Much of the footnote is true. I am a criminal defense attorney. I have a libertarian following. I deride attorneys, including Mr. Carreon, as censorious asshats. I conceived a special dislike for Mr. Carreon. I made up a hashtag game about him, and recruited people to point out where Mr. Carreon and his wife had engaged in rhetoric that was inconsistent with his contrived pearl-clutching horror over the contents of Mr. Inman's blog.
But Mr. Carreon's last sentence suggests that I refused to produce documents a subpoena in a federal case on the grounds that the lawyer issuing it had animus against me.
That is, at the most charitable interpretation, misleading.
Here are the objections I filed to Mr. Carreon's subpoena. As you can see, I objected to the subpoena, and declined to produce documents, on the grounds that (1) some of the communications Mr. Carreon sought were protected by the attorney-client privilege, or by the attorney work product doctrine, and (2) some of them didn't exist and never, so far as I knew, had existed.
The only mention of animus came in the paragraph in which I refused to produce a privilege log. A privilege log is a time-consuming document that would identify each email, its date, its subject, its sender, its recipient, and the basis for the assertion of privilege. It is a burdensome task. In my objections, I refused to produce such a log, on the grounds that Mr. Carreon had no good faith basis to demand the documents, and that the demand was likely made to harass, in light of his animus against me. The point about animus is located in the discussion of the privilege log, after I have refused to produce the documents based on the privilege.
Mr. Carreon's suggestion that I refused to produce documents based on an argument about his animus is, therefore, misleading at best. At worst, it is a deliberate lie to a United States District Judge. Or perhaps it merely represents a failure of even minimal reading comprehension. Mr. Carreon attaches my objections as an exhibit, as the footnote quoted above suggests; whatever this is, it's clumsy.
I leave the decision about which one it is to the reader — and to the judge.