UPDATED: The Johnson v Gawker courtroom drama: A recap

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Weighing the chances
Weighing the chances
As we await the latest developments of the legal battle between media titans Chuck C. Johnson of GotNewsDotCom and Gawker.com, let’s step back and review the chronology of this gripping, real-life legal drama.

June 19: Johnson, proclaiming a “summer of justice” against his low-IQ media foes, files a libel/defamation suit against Gawker in St. Louis County Court, though neither he nor Gawker have residences or businesses located in Missouri. This decision is part of some arcane strategy devised by Johnson and his St. Louis-based attorney, John C. Burns, also known as Jonathon sometimes. Johnson claims Gawker defamed and libeled him on three occasions, and asks for $22 million in damages for each instance.

July 30: On Gawker’s motion, the suit is moved to US District Court, Eastern Division, of Missouri.

Aug. 24: In a double-whammy, Gawker’s attorneys file two motions: one to strike Johnson’s complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP law, and another to either dismiss the case or transfer it to a New York or California federal court, since Gawker is based in New York and Johnson, California. Under the anti-SLAPP law, Johnson would be held liable for defendants’ court and legal costs. That’s some serious green, there. Johnson has until Oct. 2 to respond.

Sept. 30: Judge grants Johnson an extension from Oct. 2 to Oct. 5.

Oct. 6: Judge grants another extension from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9.

Oct. 12: Johnson’s lawyer asks for another extension to Oct. 16. Johnson, in a Facebook post, says they did not miss the Oct. 9 deadline, but the wording of the request for the extension suggests otherwise. In any event, the request was recorded and filed Oct. 12.

Oct. 13: Gawker’s lawyers file a motion to deny further extensions and to dismiss the case with prejudice. They also allege that Johnson on his own used “improper” methods to gather evidence from former (or purportedly former) Gawker employees. In emails shared by the recipients publicly, Johnson offers to pay them for internal Gawker memos and threatens to include one recipient in the Gawker libel suit. [Unlikely, since it’s already in litigation.]

Oct. 13: Johnson’s lawyer requests another day extension to Oct. 17, pleading exhaustion and lack of time to “craftily” prepare their response to Gawker’s motions filed two months ago. He also denies there was any hanky-panky committed by his client, and promises this extension request will be the very last.

UPDATE Oct. 16 We now await the judge’s ruling on these heady matters of jurisprudence. Judge Shaw granted the extension request of Oct. 12, giving Johnson and his attorney until midnight tonight to file their response(s) to Gawker’s motions of Aug. 24. No further extensions will be granted, so today’s the day, by hook or by crook. Source

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