A California state court has served Chuck C. Johnson with a show cause order after he failed to appear for a mandatory case management hearing last week.
In December, Johnson filed pro per a multi-million-dollar libel/defamation complaint against Gawker Media in Fresno County Superior Court. It was nearly identical to the one he had filed in federal court in Missouri that summer.
With his usual bluster, Johnson last spring declared a “summer of justice” for his many critics and detractors. The $66 million Gawker suit was to be the first salvo. It was a dud. A federal judge dismissed the suit, by then amended to $26 million in damage claims, for lack of personal jurisdiction, since neither Johnson nor Gawker are located in Missouri.
As he is wont to do, the ever-modest Johnson declared this setback was all part of some grand plan.
While the Missouri case dragged on, Johnson shuffled over to his local state courthouse to file another complaint virtually identical to the Missouri federal complaint, without benefit of attorney. A case management hearing was set for April 11.
Gawker apparently sent representatives — though Johnson never formally served Gawker’s attorneys — and Johnson, who lives in Fresno County, was nowhere to be found. Legal scholars advise against this behavior, as it tends of piss off the judiciary. [CORRECTED for factual error.]
[UPDATE: We checked into what could happen if the court rules against Johnson. The sanctions could include reimbursing the state for the time waste, as well as other sanctions permissible under the law. Relevant statutes.]
So, his summer of justice has boomeranged right back to his doorstep. The court sent him a show cause order with a June 16 deadline to explain why he wasted the court’s time. Failure to follow through would be, you know, really bad.
But that’s probably part of his plan, too.