In the cliffhanger court case of the century, if not the millennium, blogger Chuck C. Johnson and his deadline-challenged attorney have asked for yet another extension — their third — to respond to a motion to dismiss Johnson’s libel suit against Gawker.com.
That response was due Friday the 9th, but curiously nothing showed up on the docket. Over the weekend, Johnson assured everyone in a Facebook status (above) that they had not missed any deadlines, and then quickly changed the subject. [His Facebook page was briefly gone, by the way. See below.]
Another request for an extension was filed officially Monday, so technically speaking, Johnson didn’t miss the deadline, but he also didn’t respond to Gawker’s motion.
So, yeah, he missed the deadline.
He swears, as usual, that the delay was all according to plan, to build a stronger case. Uh huh.
Popehat.com has the text of the latest sob story from Johnson and his lawyer, John C. “Quick Draw” Burns (who also goes by the name “Jonathon,” depending on his mood, we assume.) [PDF]
Johnson filed a complaint against Gawker in July, claiming the online magazine libeled him and asking for $66 million in damages. Gawker filed a motion to dismiss the suit, claiming Johnson had no case.
The original due date for plaintiff’s response was Oct. 2. Burns and Johnson (not to be confused with the much funnier and probably more punctual Burns and Allen) requested a short extension to Oct. 5. It was accepted by the judge and Gawker.
Then they asked for another extension, to Oct. 9. Also accepted.
Now, they are asking for yet another, to Oct. 16 — this Friday. Gawker has agreed to it, apparently. No word yet on the judge’s response.
Their reasons for this latest delay were : “Plaintiffs’ counsel was over-optimistic in estimating time.”
Translation: “We waited till the last minute to do the assignment, and ran out of time.”
The request continues:
8. Plaintiffs’ counsel notes that in retrospect, and given some of the unique elements of this matter and attendant technological issues, on September 29, he should have simply sought a fourteen (14) days extension.
9. At all times, including after October 9, and through the present date, Plaintiffs’ have been diligently and energetically endeavoring to complete their Response.
Translation: “Honest, we’ve been trying really hard. Chuck even tried to get some stuff by reaching out to Adam Weinstein by email just a few days ago, but this discovery stuff is tough. Also, the computer ate our homework.”
11. Plaintiffs do not seek this leave out of bad faith or for the purposes of delaying
12. Plaintiffs note the relatively small nature of the delay, and do not believe judicial proceedings will be negatively impacted.
Translation: “We’re trying really, really hard. Please don’t be mad at us, OK? We promise — cross our hearts and hope to die — to hand it in on Friday.”
The Gawker suit was the opening salvo in Johnson’s so-called “summer of justice” against his many critics. He has also promised to go after Twitter, which permanently banned him over the Memorial Day Weekend. He then took to Facebook to grace the Internet with his pearls of prose.
That page went missing briefly. Here’s what we saw at first — Facebook’s version of error 404.
Then this appeared:
And then Johnson’s own explanation for the latest filing delay: