Follow the Bouncing Case

Plaintiff Jon Del Arroz agreed to pay the costs when both parties asked the court to transfer his lawsuit against Worldcon 76 (“Jonathan Del Arroz vs San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. (‘SFSFC’) aka ‘Worldcon76’ David W. Gallaher (2019), President et al.”) from San Joaquin County to Santa Clara County.

But on July 20 the clerk of the Santa Clara County Superior Court declined the transfer. Why? Because the $50 transfer fee and first appearance fee (probably $435) hadn’t been paid.

So what happened?

JDA says, “That’s all attorney stuff, I’m busy making books.”

The notice came to light during a periodic check of the San Joaquin court’s online records of the suit.

PDF copies of the motions filed in June are now available.

The Stipulation to Transfer Venue signed by JDA’s attorney on June 26 also features the admission that of the 18 defendants, only one, Worldcon 76’s parent corporation SFSFC, has been served with the summons and complaint as required by law.

Del Arroz’ “Make Worldcon Great Again” GoFundMe raised $3,043 to pay for this suit. Now that it’s public record that he hasn’t timely served nearly all of the defendants, therefore the court will have no jurisdiction over them, will his fans feel they got their money’s worth?

61 thoughts on “Follow the Bouncing Case

  1. The court’s letter states filing is being returned to defense counsel (Messner Reeves LLP) so it seems likely that a secretary forgot to enclose a check, or sent one for an incorrect amount.

  2. Charon D: I contacted both parties and received responses from both parties, and this is the limit of the information I received. Knowing that, how hard would it have been for either of them to say it was just a mistake that is going to be immediately fixed? I think it makes more sense to put a placeholder noting that we haven’t been given the full story, rather than to try and fill it in ourselves..

  3. I think the more interesting bit is that he’s only served one party – a significant difference from the original bluff and bluster of naming everyone under the sun.

  4. What Mark said. From early on, I very, very strongly suspected plaintiff had completely failed his legal obligation to serve process on named defendants except SFSFC, Inc., and heard stories to that effect that I was almost but not quite willing to risk a libel lawsuit repeating here, ergo withheld comment pending hard data. Which we now have. In that spirit, I commend Our Good Host for reporting that sticks to what is verifiable (and for checking with both parties).

    If/when this matter lands in front of Judge Holly again (likely, unless Del Arroz hastens to correct whatever caused payment failure), I rather strongly suspect he’s going to be seriously unhappy with Mr. Del Arroz, given the latter’s stipulated commitment to pay transfer costs — unless Del Arroz has an extremely good explanation for why it’s nonetheless not his fault. And I wonder if defendants might choose the opportunity to prompt Judge Holly to do something about plaintiff’s seeming gross violation of CRC 3.110(f) concerning serving of notice to named defendants. Sanctions, anyone?

  5. Failure to pay required costs is seldom an auspicious way to handle either a legal case or a GoFundMe plea.

  6. to say I am not surprised is a gross understatement.

    I wonder if that other worldcon-related thing he’s claimed to be working on is being handled just as well.

  7. If you look at website traffic, twitter followers, book sales and # of reviews, JDA is very small potatoes, so I’m thrown off by his ability to raise money via the internet. He recently raised $12000 for a comic. I don’t have any evidence, but given his otherwise limited reach, I suspect the amounts on GoFundMe and IndieGoGo me are overstated. Is it possible to fudge those numbers? Lots of anonymous donors.

  8. You probably could fudge the donation numbers by buying visa/ MasterCard gift cards and using those and throwaway email addresses, but it’s a bit if a faff. You’re underestimating the number of “people” who will donate to ” own the libs hurr hurr” however. See basically anything associated with vd for example.

    Lawsuit seems to be as quarter assed as all JdA’s endeavors. Color me unsurprised.

  9. Ryan: I don’t have any evidence, but given his otherwise limited reach, I suspect the amounts on GoFundMe and IndieGoGo me are overstated. Is it possible to fudge those numbers? Lots of anonymous donors.

    It’s possible to do that, but it would cost at least 3% of the total amount, which GoFundMe takes in transaction and card fees, so one would have to be willing to lose a fair chunk of change in order to fake a bunch of donations.

    As Chris S. says, I think that you underestimate the number of idiots willing to throw money at anything which professes to be an attack on SJWs. They’re not particularly concerned about whether they actually get anything for their money, they just like to feel that they’ve contributed to “sticking it to them horrible libruls”. Tomorrow they’ll be off contributing to some new outrage marketing campaign, and most of them won’t even remember this one, much less check on whether they’re getting what they paid for.

  10. JJ: As Chris S. says, I think that you underestimate the number of idiots willing to throw money at anything which professes to be an attack on SJWs. They’re not particularly concerned about whether they actually get anything for their money, they just like to feel that they’ve contributed to “sticking it to them horrible libruls”. Tomorrow they’ll be off contributing to some new outrage marketing campaign, and most of them won’t even remember this one, much less check on whether they’re getting what they paid for.

    I think that’s spot on. I was exaggerating when I suggested they would care beyond the annoying suit having been filed in the first place.

  11. I think that you underestimate the number of idiots willing to throw money at anything which professes to be an attack on SJWs.

    I suspect you and Chris are correct, but I’m still surprised that this vast pool of idiots will throw money at him, but not comment about it on his blog.

  12. @Ryan He gets engagement on Twitter (where he is suspended for another few days) and on gab (a right-wing “free speech” Twitter alternative).

  13. I think there is a bit of projective virtue signalling here myself. (thinking in line with JJ and Mike and others above)

    See how people in that portion of the SFF pool are prone to saying that we buy books just to support non cis white heterosexual male authors? That we don’t like those books, but we buy them to support such causes?

    I wonder if the donations that Mr Del Arroz gets aren’t like that–throw money to “own the libs” but to follow along to see if he actually succeeds? Can’t be bothered to actually check. It doesn’t matter. There is always a new cause, from him or others to back. Always a new way to stick it to cultural opponents.

  14. Hold on….I was under the impression that JDA was a super stable genius. Was I mistaken?

  15. ” Is it possible to fudge those numbers? Lots of anonymous donors…”

    By suggesting such a thing, you’re saying that IndieGogo is an illegitimate, disreputable crowd-funding engine. I think you’d need some real proof for that one. Paying with gift cards? Why would he buy gift cards with his own money to crowd fund something he can’t afford in the first place? That’s ludicrous.

    So, why would people support him anonymously? Oh goodness, you can’t figure that one out, either? It’s absurdly simple! What happens to any conservative that opens their mouth to say anything around you people? They get trashed, harassed, doxxed and/or have exploding dick packages sent to their house.

    Why anonymous, indeed!

    Honestly, most conservative (or even moderately conservative!) writers are not as brave as JDA. Oh, I know you think he’s a shit-stirrer. And perhaps he is. He’s tweaking your noses and laughing all the way to the bank. He’s fighting back, laughing at you, and you guys don’t like that. The only good conservative in your eyes is one who shuts up and hides in his house. But JDA lives in your heads rent free because you can’t stand that he fights you and punks you. If he were a quiet little conservative who said nothing, just put out a book or two and hid in his hole you MIGHT actually leave him alone (maybe…) and he’d not be making as much money. But no, you’ve created this monster, friends, and you’re now going to have to live with him for a good, long while.

    Congratulations.

  16. @Ryan

    If you look at website traffic, twitter followers, book sales and # of reviews, JDA is very small potatoes, so I’m thrown off by his ability to raise money via the internet. He recently raised $12000 for a comic. I don’t have any evidence, but given his otherwise limited reach, I suspect the amounts on GoFundMe and IndieGoGo me are overstated. Is it possible to fudge those numbers? Lots of anonymous donors.

    Don’t forget that he is a No. 1 national bestseller (in the small subcategory of YA Steampunk on Amazon, which contains about fifteen books).

    I shall now also go around and add the tag No. 1 bestselling author to my name. After all, I was number on in lesbian contemporary romance at Amazon for three hours once and No. 1 in English language fantasy anthologies and collections at Amazon France for maybe one hour or so.

  17. I agree with various above comments about the donations. I would be surprised if anyone who donated money on the basis of JDA’s irrational ranting and nakedly bizarre behavior is going to turn out to be a stickler for wanting their donation to be used competently, let alone wisely. I suspect he can squander the funds however he wants without upsetting his donors.

    This latest twist looks like more self-sabotage arising from more ignorance and incompetence. I doubt a busy judge or court clerks will be amused by any of this.

  18. Mycroft: I doubt Conan Doyle’s Mycroft would have made your mistake about what Eric was applying Hanlon’s Razor to.

  19. I don’t think JDA’s stupid. He’s a troll, pure and simple.

    Edit. Or, err, was that not being applied to JDA?

  20. “I was number on in lesbian contemporary romance at Amazon for three hours once and No. 1 in English language fantasy anthologies and collections at Amazon France for maybe one hour or so.” – -so you’re an *international* bestseller!

  21. Mycroft, people who fail to follow basic legal procedures when filing a lawsuit are not, in my personal opinion, demonstrating any great cleverness. <shrug> It’s an excellent way to waste one’s money and irritate the judge.

    But then, perhaps Mr. Del Arroz is playing four-dimensional chess and I’m simply too ignorant to understand.

  22. Honestly, Mike, he wasn’t necessarily explicit about what stupidity he was referring to.

  23. I wasn’t explicit, it’s true. And that’s on me. And I probably should have said “incompetence” rather than “stupidity” when quoting Hanlon’s Razor.

    Because I think there’s a lot of incompetence, here.

    Because JDA – while he is many things – isn’t stupid. A poor judge of people (and apparently attorneys). A loudmouth. Strongly opinionated. Swift to judgement. Prone to flying off the handle. A man whose flops and cries of “foul!” remind me more than a little of the theatrics of less-skilled soccer players. A troll who most of the Puppies seem to tolerate because occasionally he can advance their narrative and his presence makes them seem more inclusive. Pompous. Self-righteous. Short-sighted.

    Note that I’m not saying these don’t also describe me, too. Because more than a few of them do.

    But – for all his numerous faults – he’s not stupid.

    He is either representing himself in the case or has hired an attorney who is out of his depth. Or he won’t take advice from his attorney. Or he’s trudging forward with this case because he crowdfunded it and the Terms & Conditions of GoFundMe require that he goes forward.

    all Donations contributed to your Campaign will be used solely as described in the materials that you post or otherwise provide

    I don’t know if that means he’d need to issue refunds if he cancels the case – but if it’s thrown out or dismissed, then he tried, right? But if he calls it off, maybe his backers can demand refunds that he might or might not be able to afford.

    Actually, he probably can afford them right now due to his Flexible Funding IndieGoGo project. But first he has to get that thing produced.

    The last time I posted about him here, he sent me a digital copy of his book (The Stars Entwined). First he talked to me about our common interests (gaming and MilSF). Tried to build rapport. Then he sent me the book and asked me to give it a shot. Re-reading the e-mails, I will say: he seems genuine. If I hadn’t seen him ranting in various places, and the e-mail conversation was the only thing I’d seen of him, I’d think that he was a nice enough guy, if a bit of a dupe. As it is, I’ve seen him turn his guns on folks by selectively quoting them out of context in an attempt to get someone to finally lash out at him so he can take his soccer flop.

    I did try to read his book – out of fairness. It really wasn’t for me. I

    Is he living rent-free in our thoughts? Maybe. I’d argue that we’re living rent-free in his, too, though. Look at how often he targets regular posters here. He’s obviously reading what is said. Look at how often he tweets about “hate site File 770.” Or does when he’s not suspended.

  24. Mycroft: But no, you’ve created this monster

    hahahahahahaha… you misspelled “moron”.

    JDA isn’t brave or clever, he’s a bumbling clown who’s also a dedicated harasser and abuser. You can hardly blame people for enjoying a good laugh at his sheer incompetence with this court case, which was never going to be a winner anyway (California law enables organizations to exclude harassers and abusers from their private events), and is most likely going to get thrown out very shortly due to his failure to perform.

    As far as this:
    Mycroft: They get trashed, harassed, doxxed and/or have exploding dick packages sent to their house.

    JDA hasn’t been harassed. Sure, he’s been “trashed” by people commenting in multiple places, but he brought that on himself with his continuous bad behavior over the last year-and-a-half. The so-called “doxxing” never happened — a commenter on his blog merely repeated something that JDA himself had said in a video and a Twitter post. And the one anonymous package he got — a spring-loaded cylinder of phallus-shaped glitter confetti — was most likely sent by a former friend he had alienated, since the sender had his home address.

    I’m sure that JDA, with his desperate “I’m a Bestseller!” screenshots of when his book selling for 99 cents, or given away for free, makes the top ranking in an very small niche category on Amazon for an hour or two, considers himself important in the small pond of alt-right self-published authors. But he’s just a jerk to the rest of the world, and a small-time one at that.

  25. Mycroft: He’s tweaking your noses and laughing all the way to the bank.

    Unless you actually know how to read Amazon sales ranks, and know that JDA’s sales are staggeringly mediocre to the point I’m amazed he can make a full-time job of writing, if he can at all. Hint: this isn’t super-secret science, it’s public information.

  26. @Ryan (original comment): $12,000 is in the range of the amount of money that puppies spent to poo on the Hugos three years ago — and that was in fair-sized increments; the fact that people could put smaller amounts of money on a potential comic and maybe get a product for it would make raising money easier, suggesting the number is real.

  27. @Adam Rakunas: Having successfully managed so far to never be a party to a state/local lawsuit (and being no lawyer), I really know about that situation only what it says in the California Rules of Court, section 3.110:

    Section (b), Service of complaint:

    The complaint must be served on all named defendants and proofs of service on those defendants must be filed with the court within 60 days after the filing of the complaint. When the complaint is amended to add a defendant, the added defendant must be served and proof of service must be filed within 30 days after the filing of the amended complaint.

    Section (f), Failure to serve:

    If a party fails to serve and file pleadings as required under this rule, and has not obtained an order extending time to serve its pleadings, the court may issue an order to show cause why sanctions shall not be imposed.

    You’re justifiably curious about what ‘sanctions’ can mean in this context. I’m curious myself, and have occasionally wandered through CRC Title 3, Civil Rules looking for a clear answer and so far not seeing one. I might just not be looking in the right place, or it might be unaddressed leaving Superior Court judges in civil cases to apply their own discretion (subject only to appellate review if they get too crazed). One of my rules for living is ‘Assume any judge is functionally the near-absolute despot of a small kingdom, and try to never piss him or her off.’

  28. Sanctions are applied very, very rarely in California.

    See Frivolous Action Filings in California Courts (2/2017) —

    AB 2494 requires the parties who file motions for sanctions under either section 128.5 or 128.7 to report their filings to the Research Bureau. To date, the Research Bureau has received 129 filings, indicating motions for sanctions have been filed in only 0.05 percent of all civil trials and court hearings in California since January 1, 2015, when AB 2494 went into effect. While the Research Bureau can neither verify if the 129 filings represent all motions for sanctions nor some fraction of the total, the Judicial Council found a comparable low filing rate of 0.49 percent in its study 20 years ago.

  29. Mike and Charon, I appreciate the citations. I notice that CA Code of Civil Procedure § 128.5 regulates court sanctions for bad-faith actions taken with wrongful objectives (frivolousness or an aim solely to cause delay) at the expense of another party. In that regard, there’s a rather weird angle to the situation when a named defendant (or almost all of many named defendants, as in this case) haven’t been served as required by law: My (admittedly amateur) understanding is that they aren’t defendants, i.e., are not (yet) parties to the litigation. The whole point of the plaintiff giving required notice is to make you (as a named defendant) properly a party: You (then) know you’re being sued (or have no excuse for not knowing, for forms of giving notice such as publication, where the court so permits), the court has proof that you have been served, and you then have a statutory time window to respond.

    Anyway, § 128.5 (c) clarifies that either a party or the court itself can move for sanctions with subsequent notice and hearings. Or one of the other parties can so move (with notice and response following).

    Claiming to be suing well over a dozen defendants and then (one guesses) not even trying to serve more than one seems a whole lot like frivolous tactics, to this observer. Bad faith, the other required element, either is or isn’t present, in the court’s judgement.

    I can well believe the ‘low filing rate’, but that’s relative to a rather depressingly large number of civil actions statewide, and all that tells you is that most liitigation is either somewhat competent or disposed of without judges needing to spank litigants.

  30. Rick Moen: I can well believe the ‘low filing rate’, but that’s relative to a rather depressingly large number of civil actions statewide, and all that tells you is that most liitigation is either somewhat competent or disposed of without judges needing to spank litigants.

    The statistics show sanctions are rarely applied at all, which means judges are not dishing them out like traffic tickets to people who haven’t served all their defendants (which surely cannot be an uncommon event among these huge numbers of cases).

    That leaves the parties. Litigation costs money. That’s got to be the other reason they’re uncommon. People want to end litigation, not prolong it by pursuing sanctions.

    The Worldcon 76 crew won’t be interested in spending money chasing after JDA like Ahab after Moby Dick.

  31. Mike, you’re certainly right that the smartest overall strategy for defence is the one that makes this alleged lawsuit fizzle most quickly and cheaply. At the same time, if ever hauled into court on a meritless stack of lame complaints, personally, I’d want to ensure plaintiff not only lost but was singed as an example. (A walletectomy would do nicely.)

  32. @Eric Franklin

    A man whose flops and cries of “foul!” remind me more than a little of the theatrics of less-skilled soccer players.

    That’s a perfect analogy. It’s his entire shtick. He parlayed not being invited as a GOH at a con (but being promised he’d be invited the next year) into a transparently bogus set of accusations about discrimination.

  33. on crowd funding contributions.

    I’d tend to agree that priming the pump himself doesn’t make sense except for one thing: my understanding of my read of his brief congressional run’s campaign financing seems to suggest that the vast majority of his funding came in the fiorm of a loan to himself.

    The processing fees are only an issue if you don’t fully fund….

  34. @Steve Davidson
    The processing fees are only an issue if you don’t fully fund…

    Not true in this case. IndieGoGo has two funding models: Fixed Funding and Flexible Funding. His comic project uses the Flexible model, which charges contributors as soon as they pledge and makes that money available to the project creator whether it hits its goal or not. It’s a favorite model for fraudulent projects (not that this is one, mind you).

  35. @Eric,

    I forgot about that. That would seem to make it all that much more possible that he’s taken Baslim’s instruction to Thorby to heart: always start the day off with a few coins in your begging bowl….

  36. in re CA courts rarely sanctioning.

    As good litigation attorneys will tell you (and IANAL, though I pay several), going into the courtroom is a crapshoot.

    I have personally witnessed a (FL) judge completely and deliberately negate an on the books Florida statute during a personal injury case (a statute, btw, that stated that there is to be no equivocation on the matter: if X circumstances apply, Y results.)

    The judge happened to be a neighbor of one of the litigants, and not personally well-disposed towards them.

    So it really is true. Once you’re in court, you can know what should happen, what you’d like to have happen, but you can’t know what will happen.

  37. Kathodus, minor correction, as I recall he was not invited as a program participant for a single year, along with many other people. Nothing to do with GOH choices. But your point still stands.

  38. Lenore – Thanks, I wasn’t sure if it was that he wasn’t invited to a panel, or a GoH, or etc..

  39. Eric Franklin: Just got e-mail from him.

    Ugh, the jerk has no concept of acceptable personal boundaries. But then, we already knew that from all of his harassment of other authors and fans. 🙄

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