HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Judge Says Websites Must ...

Mon Jan 27, 2014, 08:21 PM

Judge Says Websites Must Face Defamation Lawsuit For Calling Climate Scientist A ‘Fraud’

I love the fact that Dr. Michael Mann is suing some climate deniers. The climate deniers have been operating on the assumption that no scientist would dare sue them for their lies and that no scientist would dare submit himself to discovery. Professor Mann is doing a great job of suing a couple of climate denier websites and his lawsuit survived the motion to dismiss and an anti-SLAP claim http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/24/3205111/mann-defamation-lawsuit/

A judge for the D.C. Superior Court on Thursday refused to let libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and conservative news site National Review off the hook from a defamation lawsuit brought by climatologist Michael Mann, saying the sites’ musings about the accuracy of Mann’s research may not be protected by the First Amendment.

Mann had sued the outlets in 2012, claiming they published defamatory articles accusing him of academic fraud and comparing him to a convicted child molester, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Specifically, Mann alleged that CEI published — and then National Review republished — an article calling Mann “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.”

Judge Frederick H. Weisberg on Thursday ruled that while “opinions and rhetorical hyperbole” are protected speech under the First Amendment, accusing a climate scientist of lying about his seemingly factual data is serious enough to warrant defamation claims.

“The allegedly defamatory aspect of this sentence is the statement that plaintiff ‘molested and tortured data,’ not the rhetorically hyperbolic comparison to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky,” Judge Weisberg wrote.

The statement “he has molested and tortured data” could easily be interpreted to mean that the plaintiff distorted, manipulated, or misrepresented his data. Certainly the statement is capable of a defamatory meaning, which means the questions of whether it was false and made with “actual malice” are questions of fact for the jury. … To state as a fact that a scientist dishonestly molests or tortures data to serve a political agenda would have a strong likelihood of damaging his reputation within his profession, which is the very essence of defamation.

Judge Weisberg denied CEI’s and National Review’s motions to dismiss the lawsuit.

In the real world, a defendant would normally settle after losing a motion to dismiss. Here the National Review and the CEI are far too stupid to realize that they are in trouble. These idiots can not believe that anyone would dare call them on their stupidity.

This will be a fun lawsuit to watch. I have been following this case since it was filed a couple of years ago.

12 replies, 1497 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Judge Says Websites Must Face Defamation Lawsuit For Calling Climate Scientist A ‘Fraud’ (Original post)
Gothmog Jan 2014 OP
longship Jan 2014 #1
DirkGently Jan 2014 #2
Htom Sirveaux Jan 2014 #3
Gothmog Jan 2014 #4
Sarah Ibarruri Jan 2014 #5
Gothmog Jan 2014 #7
Sarah Ibarruri Jan 2014 #8
Gothmog Jan 2014 #9
sheshe2 Jan 2014 #6
gerogie2 Jan 2014 #10
Gothmog Jan 2014 #11
Gothmog Feb 2014 #12

Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2014, 08:25 PM

1. Dr. Michael Mann is pretty awesome.

R&K

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2014, 08:29 PM

2. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions. Not their own facts.


This is (the opposite of) the central premise of the conservative revolution in this country. "My bloating political pundit / oil company / random Internet lunatic is equal to your "science."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2014, 08:37 PM

3. Enjoy the discovery process!

Can't wait to see what they find. I've heard that Mann has absolutely refused to settle. He wants a trial.

Conservatives love to blather about personal responsibility until they have to take some for themselves.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Htom Sirveaux (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 27, 2014, 08:39 PM

4. I agree that the discovery process should be fun

Prof. Mann does not appear to be worried about being deposed or letting the defendants have access to his e-mails because he has nothing to hide. Even taken out of context, Prof. Mann's e-mails did not hurt his case. I doubt that the National Review and the CEI will want to submit all of their e-mail records.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2014, 08:47 PM

5. Why hasn't this been done before? About time! nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 29, 2014, 05:42 PM

7. Fear of discovery

I think that some scientist are afraid of the discovery and legal costs involved. Prof. Mann has already been litigating this issue with the former Va. Attorney General and so he knew what to expect

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 29, 2014, 06:17 PM

8. You're probably right.

Maybe this will get other lawsuits going and these creationist lies will be pushed back where they belong: out of the schools and back into their ignorant churches.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 29, 2014, 06:30 PM

9. The fact that this case survived a SLAP motion to dismiss is important

I think that there may be further such lawsuits. The Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation law was being misused here but Mann could have faced some sanctions if the court ruled against him.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2014, 08:48 PM

6. Thank you Judge Weisberg! Well said.

To state as a fact that a scientist dishonestly molests or tortures data to serve a political agenda would have a strong likelihood of damaging his reputation within his profession, which is the very essence of defamation.


Go Dr Michael Mann!

Thanks Gothmog, this is great!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Wed Jan 29, 2014, 06:47 PM

10. They better settle with him.

 

No Jury likes a liar. Comparing him to a child molester will infuriate the jury also.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 08:14 PM

11. Steyn fired his counsel and is defending this case pro se

The individual defendant who wrote the stupid attack has fired a very good law firm because that law firm would not approve of this idiot writing an article attacking the judge http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/30/climate-scientists-lawsuit-could-wipe-out-conservative-national-review-magazine/

Then, at Christmastime, Steyn abruptly fired the legal team representing him and the magazine, white shoe firm Steptoe and Johnson, after an argument over a highly inflammatory — and appallingly typed — NRO post about Judge Combs Greene. Steyn accused her of “staggering incompetence,” called her stupid, and accused her of deliberate obtuseness regarding the Mann suit.

Now, Steyn is representing himself against Mann and he and the Review have parted ways.

Steyn wrote to Mother Jones, saying that he was simply no longer able to contain his sense of disdain for the federal judge and her decision not to dismiss Mann’s suit.

Firing your counsel in the middle of case is not a good idea. The fact that Steyn is representing himself is bad news for the National Review. Steyn is out of control and is probably judgment proof, i.e., he has nothing to lose if Prof. Mann wins the lawsuit. Steyn's stupidity could well hurt the chances of the National Review in defending this lawsuit.

Finally, I love the fact that Rich Lowery is begging for donations. From the article cited above

As many of you know, National Review is not a non-profit — we are just not profitable. A lawsuit is not something we can fund with money we don’t have. Of course, we’ll do whatever we have to do to find ourselves victorious in court and Professor Mann thoroughly defeated, as he so richly deserves to be. Meanwhile, we have to hire attorneys, which ain’t cheap.

The bills are already mounting.

This is our fight, legally. But with the global-warming extremists going all-out to silence critics, it’s your fight too, morally. When we were sued, we heard from many of you who expressed a desire to help underwrite our legal defense. We deeply appreciated the outpouring of promised help.

Now we really need it.

Lowery is desperate and he should be worried. Prof. Mann has a great case and should win this lawsuit

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Mon Feb 3, 2014, 07:08 PM

12. Here is another article on this lawsuit

I have bookmarked and read a couple of different climate science sites. I love going to the links and reading some of the scientific papers to see if I can still follow the math.

Here is an article that I saw on one of these sites (yes it is from Newsweek but it is still good) http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/01/31/change-legal-climate.html

That is, until maybe now, with the spinning potentially coming to a stop in the most unlikely of places - a Federal district court in Washington, D.C. There, a little-noticed lawsuit filed by one of the world's preeminent climatologists against a premiere conservative publication and a conservative think tank is moving forward, and both sides - absent dismissal or settlement - will have to put up or shut up.

The suit filed by Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, claims that the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) libeled him in a pair of articles in which they stated he had manipulated climate data and that the fraud had been covered up by his employer, which said its investigation concluded he had done nothing wrong. To make the point, the CEI writer, Rand Simberg, drew a comparison between Penn State's handling of abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky - the university's longtime assistant football coach convicted as a child molester - and its review of Mann's work....

For months before those articles, Mann and other climatologists had been speaking among themselves about the need to start fighting back against the attacks on their work and their character. The science is on their side, they argue, and by not responding aggressively against the skeptics, they have allowed the discussion to become derailed. And if critics have slandered or libeled them, they shouldn't stand for it.

"If we don't step up to the plate, we leave a vacuum [for] those with an ax to grind," Mann says, while cautioning that he would not specifically address the lawsuit. Mann has no doubt some critics are advancing their positions honestly, but he believes that responding to bad-faith attacks on climatologists and their work is "a call to arms to our fellow scientists. We should not apologize for trying to inform that discussion."

It appears that the scientific community has decided not to take crap from the climate deniers and flat earthers any longer. I am happy about this development.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread