Todd Kincannon Has Been Silenced, Or Something

Last July I described how internet-famous troll Todd Kincannon had filed a federal lawsuit against South Carolina state bar officials, claiming that they were infringing upon his First Amendment rights by threatening him with attorney discipline based on his speech. There have been developments! Sort of.

Kincannon doggedly employs his modest talents to achieve notoriety, like the kid in Rudy if his goal had been to be an third-string insult comic instead of a Notre Dame football player. His litigation strategy has been less persistent. As I argued before, though Kincannon is a lawyer, his initial complaint looked less like a professional federal pleading and more like a LiveJournal post or possibly some sort of law-themed emoticon. Kincannon claimed, both in public and in unsolicited correspondence to me, that he had thrown the complaint together at the last minute to beat the statute of limitations, and would file an amended "more conventional pleading."

That was July 2014, six months ago.

It's not uncommon to file a complaint to beat the opposition to the courthouse, and then amend it to correct any errors or omissions. Most plaintiffs will amend quickly, before the other side files a response, so they don't need the court's permission. Kincannon did not, despite saying that he would. Months passed. Eventually the federal court, of its own accord, issued an order to show cause. The Court pointed out that (1) the summons it had issued had expired after 120 days when Kincannon didn't serve them on the defendants, and (2) the rules require the plaintiff to, as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure put it, pull his thumb out of his ass.

Ignoring an order to show cause from a federal court is an atypical strategy, but Kincannon does not see himself as someone bound by convention. He didn't respond to the OSC. So a couple of days ago the Magistrate Judge recommended that the court dismiss Kincannon's suit for failure to prosecute. The assigned District Judge will likely follow that recommendation. The dismissal will be without prejudice, meaning that Kincannon could conceivably refile it. I, for one, would not want to return to a federal judge with a complaint previously dismissed for failure to prosecute. I would not expect good fortune.

It is possible, I suppose, that Kincannon has reached some sort of settlement with the defendants. I've never seen defendants accept a settlement that contemplated letting a case die like a pet rat forgotten in the garage, but it's possible. It's also possible that this is part of some shrewd legal strategy on Kincannon's part. Perhaps he has them now exactly where he wants them.

But I feel bound to repeat the question that skeptics asked from the start: was this all some sort of publicity stunt by Kincannon? Was his purpose to excuse his failure to deliver a book — called Racking-Fracking-Argle-Bargle-Libruls or something — though people had prepaid for it? Did he want to generate buzz around his book? Did he want to fund-raise? Did he just want attention? Given the history of state bars meddling in censorship, I was prepared to accept the proposition that there might be some substance to Kincannon's suit. But now — well. Perhaps other more sympathetic followers of the story will offer a plausible explanation. Or maybe Kincannon will explain.

It would be regrettable if Kincannon, through a crass and clumsy tactic, has diminished the credibility of the fight against bar association censorship.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. says

    Just wanted to add that if Mr. Kincannon was attempting to beat a statute of limitations, that limitations period has likely now run. Thus, a dismissal without prejudice at this time would still not operate to permit the success upon refiling of the claim, no matter how good a claim it might otherwise have been, as the statute of limitations defense would defeat such a claim. (Unless, of course, the state has an accidental failure of suit statute).

  2. Brian Tannebaum says

    Here's a guy that would tweet all day to 60,000 loving followers whose last tweet was a month ago before he was suspended. He's been suspended before and returned, and a quick search of his name on twitter finds his followers begging for his return. His wife's etsy shop was getting popular so maybe for the holidays he was helping her fill orders and decided not to pursue twitter. But no one has heard a word from him publicly. Maybe he's making a statement about his right to free speech, or maybe it's something else. I'm pretty sure Obama is behind it so I will just say THANKS, OBAMA!

  3. Jim Tyre says

    and (2) the rules require the plaintiff to, as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure put it, pull his thumb out of his ass.

    If only, Ken, if only. Damn that would be a good rule. In general, not just here.

  4. Daniel Kuhn says

    Too bad. I am a fan of Todd's Twitter trolling, if not his legal acumen. I am also not a fan of what Ken correctly calls the various state bars' attempts to interfere with freedom of speech out of some concern for the "dignity" of the profession.

  5. Bill Dannreuther says

    I'm GLAD to see Kincannon GONE from Twitter, irregardless of free speech rights. The Gov. didn't curtail his, he insulted too many people. His whole life smacks of deception in review.

    For every account he has had so far on Twitter he has purchased followers, 50,000 for himself and 10,000 for his child bride this last account.

    Why was he thrown off the S. Carolina political post he held within just a few months.

    Why did he have to homeschool? What caused him to be expelled from just a simple high school? They can easily over-react, I know. But that has probably set his course for life. Don't let him shift the attention away from himself when everyone is pointing where the fart came from.

    Don't get wrapped up in the scheme of things about the book he will never deliver. That was just to cover the expense of 2014 Super Bowl tickets. He also tried to grift monies from people on twitter when he thought he should be paid for starting a club where they could all follow one another. That scheme was to pay for the new followers. His projected $3 Million income for 2014 just doesn't go very far these days.

    Kincannon does for lawyering what Sharpton does for religion.

  6. Deadly Laigrek says

    @Bill – I kind of resent the implication that homeschoolers are not at public school just because they were expelled or couldn't hack it. I have a few friends who were homeschooled, and most of them were not at public school because their parents didn't believe that public school could provide them with the education they wanted for their children.

  7. says

    Daniel- how can you be a fan of that when he attacks people, esp women, based on their looks, when they pointed out a fact that was outside of his (very small) paradigm? He's a toxic human and not what a true leader should represent to others if they want their "Tea Party" or whatever to be credible to people who DO cross party lines. The idea of winning an elections is to attract voters, lots of them, not drive them away and hunker down with a small group of extremists. A leader should be a representative of what the organization is about, represents the entire group. Kincannon perpetuated the "Tea Party" stereotype of intolerant, violent, ignorant, racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, homophobic, batguano crazy, etc… Political alliances should be exclusive but inclusive. He fails as a leader. Now take Pope Francis- exclusive via Catholic church, but has acted in ways that impress even this devout Jewish lass who is no fan of the Catholic church (11 years of Catholic school will do that). He has made statements and taken actions that cross religious lines and gain respect even from my Atheist friends. THAT is a leader, THAT is how a leader behaves.

    Bill and Deadly- back in Kincannon's day, that was part of the reason people were not at public school. Back then, options were few for children who had trouble fitting in the "normal" school system because of special education needs or severe behavioral issues (guessing Kincannon's is behavior).

    Nowadays, that has changed a LOT, especially with the advent of the internet and virtual public schools that are accredited by the state. I would likely go that route, not because any kids-to-be cannot handle the public school, but because I am the "world is a classroom" type- I'm always traveling. I would want my children to have an educational experience tailored to their needs and interests that they can take with them as we travel. I'd want my children to be more involved in the community, have more immersion in science, apply knowledge rather than recite, and get to see and interact with the lessons rather than "Listen and regurgitate it all on a multiple-choice test!"

  8. Bill Dannreuther says

    Anna writes: "needs and interests that they can take with them as we travel. I'd want my children to be more involved in the community," Say WHAT? The latch-key kid is suppose to immerse in a community in the 15 min's you allow yourself to hang around? I know you have no kids. I could read that, but your hands are the ones that are open faced and one is filled with hopes and the other with shit.. Ask a military brat who has gone through life with your hopes what that's actually like. Just come out and say it; you're a unicorn liberal and damn proud of it period

    I agree 100% on the attraction part of your argument only. His real followers of about 7,000 are not actually defending his termination. He's just entertainment and they are not surprised he's gone AGAIN. They listened to him, shocked at his mouth more than in actual agreement.

    Kincannon is constantly concerned with what is said about him. By this time, he already knows of this thread. He advertises himself, that he WAS in the GOP position, not that he was forced out. That he WAS homeschooled, not that he was kicked out. He has even started his own web-site, but no one actually uses it. That speaks more than any good he has ever done in his life. If he commanded respect, people would be visiting like they do when you are a good friend. His 15 min's of fame are over. If he doesn't learn from it, he will just do something worse in life to regain it again. That's what makes him a failed human, not his actual words.

    He's the type of friend you want someone else to have: "but I can't give you my address, you understand, phone? sure.. it's 555-1515. I'll call you sometime"

  9. Castaigne says

    @Ken White: Speaking of trolls like Kincannon, what does it take to legally bar a troll from accessing the internet? Is that even possible outside of being convicted for some crime?

    Edit: I'm assuming the answer is somewhere around "LOL, no.", but I figured you'd know better than many.

  10. says

    Castaigne: Short answer lol, no. Long answer: a serious felony conviction involving misuse of computers, and even then only during period of probation/supervised release/parole.

  11. Shawna says

    The best part is that you people can't ignore him. Whether he believes his stuff or not, he's picking on you. You encourage it. Grow up.

  12. Mike says

    I will fight this matter all the way to the United States Supreme Court if I have to. Surrender is not in my DNA.

    Maybe he shrewdly predicts that SCOTUS is primed to take up a case involving FRCP 4(m).

  13. Basil Forthrightly says

    Well, not a lawyer but I can see a colorable argument that Kincannon lacks the "character and fitness" to be a member of the bar of North Carolina.

    https://ncble.org/character-fitness/

    For example, his statement about putting transgendered folk into camps could, to me, be pointed to as showing insufficient "respect for the rights and property of other persons".

    On the other hand, the margins of the "character and fitness" rules seem a bit vague to me, and COULD shade off into "people we don't like" in application, especially when it's a person's speech that's disliked.

  14. albert says

    @Basil

    "…For example, his statement about putting transgendered folk into camps could, to me, be pointed to as showing insufficient "respect for the rights and property of other persons"…."
    .
    That's hate speech.
    .
    For proof, just imagine if he said "Jews", instead of "transgendered folk".
    .
    This column might have been a whole lot shorter.
    ,
    I gotta go…

  15. Bill Dannreuther says

    @Albert writes:

    "That's hate speech."

    So what. this is AMERICA .. so far and we still have 2 years to go tonight, WE DO NOT HAVE LAWS ABOUT HATE SPEECH —- YET!

    Take your euro-centric thoughts back to Euro where they are more appreciated.

    BTW pussy, it's a blog, NO one, absolutely NO ONE, cares that you "gotta go" That excuse for throwing your Gay hate speech tag out then saying I can't continue is a pussy cop-out PUSSY. Or is that possible to say that to a gay transgendered fucked up person?

  16. says

    Mr. Dannreuther,

    Reversed stupidity is not intelligence. To use smaller words: petty meaness doesn't make your argument more correct.

  17. Docrailgun says

    Bill,
    I don't think anyone's afraid of your bullying and name-calling. Do you have some sort of point other than "America! Fuck yeah! Whoooo!" or are you here just to call people names?

  18. Bill Dannreuther says

    I'm here to explain a lot to brain-dead liberal's.. you can consider yourself in that crowd when you write something like "America! Fuck yeah! Whoooo!" You're good friends to Michael Moore and Seth Rogen I'm sure!

    You ever consider that Todd killed his own accounts on Twitter?

    You should, because if there was an orchestrated attack by people to spam block him it doesn't show up at all on twitter when you do a search. Looks like Todd killed his own account. He killed his dog parody account and he also had his own child bride stop her tweeting. Twitter wouldn't get rid of the Dog Parody…. for what reason? I don't think he was kicked off for ripping people off for close to $1000 for a book he never wrote, Twitter could care less about that. That's between private parties.

    And the possible reason? ->All deals with his losing his ability to practice law in the state he was licensed in..<- He let it be known that he onced cleaned up his language because he had discipline hanging over his head and the minute that was lifted he went potty-mouthed all over again. He's probably about to finally lose his license. He also has probably finally learned his own mouth was his worst enemy and decided he didn't need twitter. Maybe that book rip off deal also made it to the S.C. bar review and figures in, but he would make that right if that was a reason to lose his license. He just seems to be young, overly brash and full of himself and it's catching up to him. Again I'm glad he's history, because he costs votes and I don't care if it's just one. He isn't the type of person I'd ever want to associate with and I can see I'm not alone.

    For a guy who even has just roughly 6-7000 real follows and that was the exact size of his, NO ONE except a handful wish he was back. Yea, a digital presence seems to follow you along for a long long time.

  19. Taleisyn says

    As one of the few actual liberals here, let me just say that if you think this site is a bastion of Liberalism then you are sadly mistaken. It also says just how far out of touch you are that you actually think that.

  20. Stephen says

    You ever consider that Todd killed his own accounts on Twitter?

    And right in time for the latest installment of C/S/T….

  21. Mich says

    Bill, you sound very angry and thus remarkably unpleasant. Maybe you should breathe into a paper bag a few thousand times until you're calm.

  22. Jacob H says

    It's also possible that this is part of some shrewd legal strategy on Kincannon's part

    Nobody expects the Spanish deposition!