THE MOST BIZARRE LAWSUIT . . . EVER (31-Day Oatmeal-Funny Junk War)


The Oatmeal is a website operated by cartoonist/humorist Matthew Inman.  On June 2, after Inman complained that the website FunnyJunk was ripping off his content, FunnyJunk’s lawyer  Charles Carreon sent a letter to Inman demanding $20,000 in damages payable by June 12.    Carreon’s letter was not well received by Inman, to say the least, as he proceeded to tear it to shreds on this website with a counter-proposal that involved raising $20,000 to give to charity through IndieGoGo, taking a photo of the money and mailing it to Carreon along with a drawing of his mother “seducing a Kodiak bear.”  [Note: It is beyond the competency of this blog to assess the “seducability” of Kodiak bears or their relative hierarchy in mother insults.]  Inman’s attorney sent Carreon a more substantive response.  Inman reached the $20K mark on IndieGoGo in 64 minutes.

Had Jim Croce been permitted to live long enough to re-record “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”, I am certain he would have added a line to the chorus about not pulling Superman’s cape and spitting in the wind, a line about lawyer’s not messing with cartoonists.  This might have spared Carreon from making a global fool of himself by proceeding to sue Inman as well as fundraising site IndieGoGo and the National Wildlife Federation and American Cancer Society (the beneficiaries of Inman’s fundraising).  The Complaint sought a trust over the funds raised and attempted to assert claims of trademark infringement and incitement to commit cyber vandalism.  It was at this point that the normally staid and restrained blawgosphere (legal blogs) and internet media came down on Carreon like a bag of Kodiak bears (again, I make no comment as to whether or not Kodiak bears even come in bags), torn mostly by whether to call him a douchebag or a schmeckel (collectively “douchebagel”).  Carreon next doubled-down on stupid and filed an amended complaint naming the California Attorney General.

By July 3rd, however, Carreon had grown tired of his douchebagel status and dismissed his case (albeit without prejudice).  The day before a suit was filed in Arizona under Inman’s name (but without Inman’s consent) claiming  Carreon blackmailed Inman demanding $1.1 million to cover his wife’s breast implants and anti-aging cream. Inman got the last word, however, sending Carreon a photograph of the $211,223.04 raised, along with the promised cartoon of his mother and a few choice words (one of which was that philanthropy > douchebaggery).

The Oatmeal-Funny Junk war is brilliantly chronicled by Kenneth White from Popehat and who discussed the war on the June 27th Cyber Law and Business Report.

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