Carreon Complaint Amended, Still Odd

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Internet darling Charles Carreon has already amended the complaint he filed just last week, and while it's not unheard of to file an amended complaint that quickly, it does tend to encourage the belief that maybe the initial filing was not thought out all that well. The amended complaint (PDF here, courtesy of Popehat) has more words in it but I'm not sure the extra words help.

The most immediately noticeable change is that Carreon has dragged the California Attorney General into the mess, naming Kamala Harris as "a person to be joined if feasible under [Fed.] R. Civ. P. 19." Basically, Rule 19 provides that in some circumstances, a case can't go forward unless everyone who may have a meaningful interest in the case is joined as a party. Here, Carreon seems to have joined the AG because, apparently now having read the statute he originally sued under, he found a section that says a California court does not have jurisdiction to modify or terminate a charitable trust unless the Attorney General is a party. (Not sure why he is describing her as "a person to be joined if feasible" when he's already joined her, but that is only one of many mysteries here.)

The causes of action are the same as before; Carreon has just added more details, mostly about the nasty things that currently unknown people have allegedly done to him in retaliation for his threat to sue The Oatmeal. As I've said before, if this is happening, it shouldn't be. Criticizing him is fine (I'm certainly doing it), but harassing him isn't. Which is not to say that there's no humor in some of it: in addition to nastier things, Carreon alleges that somebody has been ordering Domino's Pizza deliveries to his house, and that he's been signed up for Club Nintendo and the Olive Garden Newsletter, and perhaps most dastardly at all, somebody allegedly created a profile for him at

92. Plaintiff has received signup emails from all of the above companies, which are a nuisance. Plaintiff has also received a followup phone call from the Mormons, offering to personally deliver him a copy of the Book of Mormon.

Have a heart, people.

I still don't see any facts alleged that tie any of that stuff to Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal, and Inman too has asked for people not to do it. As for the claim against Inman and Indiegogo, I don't see that getting any more credible. For one thing, Carreon now claims at one point that Inman's "vile, despicable insinuations" aren't entitled to constitutional protection at all because they are "fighting words"—they're not—and because they are "commercial speech"—which they almost certainly aren't, and if they were they would still be entitled to First Amendment protection. So he's just flat wrong there. But the basic premise of this cause of action really appears to be that Carreon is mad that he was insulted, and he thinks this makes the alleged charitable motive legally invalid:

43. Inman's insult is much more than a profane witticism. It is a frank declaration of his wrongful, uncharitable motive. It is a non-sequitur that underscores his intent to create a toxic hybrid of malicious intent and "philanthropy." There is no such thing as a "philanthropic, kind-spirited way" to say "F*ck off." [He included the asterisk, although the original un-asterisked insult appears in big red letters a few lines above.] There is only one way to say it, and one purpose for saying it, and that purpose cannot be lawfully associated with tax-exempt charitable solicitation in the State of California.

But so far as I can tell, nothing Carreon cites supports that last statement. More importantly, even if it were true, he would not have standing to enforce such a rule just because he contributed to the campaign in an effort to give himself standing. His addition of the AG I think only highlights that.

Anyway, more to come. Possibly next week if and when a third amended complaint is filed.