I know, I know. It’s been 10 days since my last Reality Steve Lawsuit update. I am simply snowed under with work and stress from my businesses. Not to mention hobbling around with a sprained ankle for the last two weeks has not put me in the best of moods or mental clarity. Reporting on the Reality Steve Lawsuit remains a personal side project that I get to when I can. I prefer to do a more detailed blow-by-blow with links to specific court documents. But that is way too much for me to do right now. I will simply provide a summary of what I see so far until I get into a more detailed analysis. I hope I don’t lose to much ground in the weeks to come.
As it stands, I now have 200 pages of court documents to read and review regarding the Reality Steve Lawsuit! There was a set of court documents consisting of 100 pages posted by the Court at the end of March. Here we are at the end of April and I have another 100 pages posted by the Court that is waiting on me to read and analyze. At 10 cents per page to download, I am racking up a court documents expense bill covering this story. (I might have to ask for an ELI Contribution before too long.)
Admittedly, a lot of the court documents are repetitive but nevertheless I still have looked at in its proper context and chronological order as the case progresses. There is certainly a story to be told. I should say that the number of trees being killed for this jurisdictional fight is stunning.
Remember, the entire dispute is still trying to determine whether the parties will argue their case in Texas or California. They are nowhere close to getting to the central accusations and allegations of which Steve Carbone has repeatedly denied. Because of this jurisdictional fight, Carbone cannot file a counter-suit. Carbone is entirely on the defensive right now which is maddening for me to read.
At the end of March, the court made public for the very first time the meat-grinding Plaintiff Interrogatories (questions that must be answered) Carbone and Reality Steve were asked to answer for the Plaintiffs. Needless to say, they are quite invasive. In many ways, Carbone’s business and personal affairs are being plunged for everyone to see. The Interrogatories are so intense that even if you wanted to cooperate fully, it would be difficult if not impossible to comply because Carbone is being asked to retrieve obscure information going back to 2004 when he was still living in California.
How many people accurately keep travel, email, phone, financial, business, and personal records going back 8 years? Not many. Most people delete, discard, abandon, or lose records as they go. The plaintiffs contend that Carbone gave minimal answers to the Interrogatories. To some degree I agree with this but to fully comply is nearly impossible for most people. I don’t see how Carbone can be expected to accurately report on all incidents back to 2004.
There is no question that the plaintiffs are going all-out to prove that Carbone has some kind of business connection to California during the 8 years even after he moved to Texas in 2006. I initially believed that it was a legal futile exercise but now I am not so sure having read the Interrogatories and the depth of which they are asking. I do not know what it takes to actually and fully establish jurisdiction in California but if it is based on some obscure technicalities or a set of minor incidents, Carbone looks likely to lose. This is something I will have to follow-up on.
The fact that Carbone lived in California for so much of his life with his friends, family, college, and early career there makes it very difficult for him to be totally removed from California. Very often with small businesses, it is difficult to entirely separate the business from the personal. And it looks like the plaintiffs are aggressively looking to make that California connection.
In the recent set of Exhibits by Andrew Defrancis, recent screen shots of RealitySteve.com and even his video blogs are being used as evidence against him! The detail of scrutiny is stunning. For anyone who cares, every blog post, every video blog, and every reader comment is being read and analyzed.
Oscar Michelen and I once again discussed the Reality Steve Lawsuit last week and I asked some pointed questions regarding the strategy of fighting jurisdiction versus simply “giving in” and getting to the central issue at hand. We can only assume that Carbone is committed to fighting jurisdiction to have home court advantage in Texas and perhaps rely on the notion that the plaintiffs won’t refile on him in Texas if Carbone does win the jurisdiction fight.
However, Oscar had a great concern of “premature” interrogation. Essentially, Carbone is being forced to reveal a LOT of personal and private information that could be used against him later in the second fight. Of course, it could actually help Carbone if the plaintiffs find out they don’t have much on Carbone. However, we don’t believe that. We believe that Carbone will be subject to two sets of Interrogatories as it stands.
As it stands, this jurisdictional discovery process will continue through to July with a judge making a ruling something in August or September. The plaintiffs succeeded in asking for a 60-day extension to allow more time for the Interrogatories. If Carbone loses the jurisdictional fight, he can expect to carry this case well into 2013. This has already been mentioned in one of the court documents.
At this point, I am going to take a pause on this post. I really want to read the Interrogatories and share the answers Carbone has given. In many ways, I am learning from him. Although I am in the Internet business and I do generate income from online activities, he does so in a very different way. It really is an interesting case study for me.
I would be neglect to say that there are some “gossipy” elements to some of the answers and I will share that with you when I compile them. They are nothing like the spoilers Carbone provides but I think some of you might enjoy some of the smaller nuggets.
For those of you who are really adventurous, I have posted the March initial Interrogatories and the April follow-up Interrogatories where Carbone is asked to re-answer and expand upon his original answers.