BREAKING! Gawker files for Chap 11 bankruptcy, files injunctive relief from Chuck C. Johnson, Hulk Hogan, others

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Artist's conception of Chuck Johnson's Summer of Justice
Artist’s conception of Chuck Johnson’s Summer of Justice
The “Summer of Justice” has not quite turned to be what Award Winning Journalist™ Chuck C. Johnson had hoped it would be last year.

In 2015 he boasted that he was going after everyone who had maligned him, starting with Gawker Media. He said there would be a “summer of justice” against his foes, and predicted Gawker was doomed.

Well, he may have gotten the last part right, but it wasn’t his doing. After losing a $140 million lawsuit filed by Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea), Gawker has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

But it has also filed adversary action claims in bankruptcy court against Hogan, Johnson, GotNews LLC (Johnson’s company), and others who have suits pending against the online media company and individuals within it. The purpose is to stave off the possibility of having to pay damages to the adversaries before the Chapter 11 reorganization is complete.

Johnson’s original complaint against Gawker demanded $66 million in damages, claiming articles written delving into salacious rumors about his past (which Gawker’s writers concluded were untrue) had damaged his reputation and his business interests. After the court rejected this initial 111-page libel/defamation suit, Johnson’s lawyer came back with a shorter complaint, which asked for $22 million instead.

As Johnson had filed the complaint in Missouri, where neither Johnson nor Gawker have residency or businesses domiciled there, the court dismissed Johnson’s suit for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Johnson, acting on his own behalf, filed a nearly identical $24 million complaint against Gawker in Fresno, CA, Superior Court. He failed to appear at a hearing in April about that case, and now has to show cause on Thursday why his suit should not be tossed out of court and he shouldn’t face penalties for wasting the court’s time.

Johnson never made sure that Gawker was served, either.

It is the complaint filed pro per in the Fresno court that the Gawker action refers to, not the one that was dismissed in federal court in Missouri.

All this is part of his grand plan, though it’s hard to say, given that the plan seems to change with the wind direction. When asked for comments by The Mirror (Betsy Rothstein of The Daily Caller), Johnson was characteristically flip about the whole affair.

From The Daily Caller:

Johnson told The Mirror that he has dropped his lawsuit against Gawker. In fact, he didn’t even show up to a May court date on the matter. “It is kind of interesting of them to come after to me, although I think it’s a move of desperation on their part,” he said.

Johnson had started proceedings to sue Gawker for heavily suggesting that he shit the floor in college. Johnson maintains that he helped save a guy’s life from alcohol poisoning.

“It’s news to me that Nick Denton is suing after maliciously libeling me for saving someone’s life in college. He deserves the prison time he’s going to get in Florida and I can’t wait to visit him during court approved visiting hours. I will install Pax Dickinson, my co-founder at WeSearchr, as CEO, to fire all the Gawker employees one by one.”

Read more:

For the record, Johnson is (as usual) conflating criminal and civil penalties. Hulk Hogan’s was a civil complaint, and Denton is not facing jail time. Yet — Johnson’s WeSearchr grifting/harassment site has posted a project to uncover criminal activities by Denton; the bounty for such information has topped $50,000.

The Ginger Avenger has offered to buy Gawker for $350, The Daily Caller reported, presumably so he can tank the entire enterprise, which includes sites like io9, Jalopnik and Lifehacker.

Ziff Davis beat him to the punch with a somewhat higher offer — $100 million. ZD will probably not tank the entire enterprise.

However, Johnson claims that Martin Shkreli wants to buy the media enterprise. Shkreli is the soulless fellow who infamously bought rights to a drug then jacked the price up to astronomical levels to make a quick buck.

For sale, cheap: Media enterprise to flip and profit from
For sale, cheap: Media enterprise to flip and profit from

h/t Little Green Footballs

Here is Gawker’s adversary action. Despite what Johnson told Rothstein, Gawker is not coming after him with this motion. It seeks no damages or penalties, only postponement of further legal action by Johnson and the other defendants until Gawker can get its financial ducks in a row. Such legal distinctions probably don’t matter to drama queens, though.

And here’s our usual plea for money.

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