That’s Entertainment: More on the Mann Defamation Suit

January 25, 2014

Climate Science Watch:

Defendants Competitive Enterprise Institute and Rand Simberg have appealed Judge Weisberg’s denial of their motion to dismiss. One effect of this latest move is to further delay movement to the discovery phase of the lawsuit.

Accusing a scientist of conducting his research fraudulently is a factual allegation that can be proven true or false, not mere hyperbolic opinionating. If it is false it is defamatory, and if it is made with actual malice it is actionable. So said DC Superior Court Frederick Weisberg on January 22 in tossing out motions by defendants National Review et al. to dismiss Prof. Michael Mann’s defamation complaint — thus moving the case a step toward discovery proceedings and a jury trial.

But the defendants lost no time in filing an appeal on January 24 with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Presumably they and their supporters will argue that this appeal raises a necessary and appropriate freedom of speech issue that must be adjudicated up-front. And of course people will note that defendants would presumably prefer to cut down on their legal costs (while hopefully getting the case dismissed). OK.

On the other hand, it seems that it’s the defendants’ side of the case that is most reluctant to get on to the discovery phase. This might strike one as odd, since the defendants’ support subculture seems to think Prof. Mann’s case will be torn to pieces on discovery and that National Review and CEI will be able to demonstrate ‘truth’ as their defense on the defamation charge. Several commenters on previous posts on this case have taken that position.

CEI has taken what might be called a prosecutorial stance toward climate science and climate scientists for many years, in the service of its radical ‘free market’ anti-regulatory ideology. Myron Ebell at CEI was quoted in a BBC article in 2005 as saying, in connection with Rep. Joe Barton’s congressional inquisition on Mann and his paleoclimatologist colleagues, “We’ve always wanted to get the science on trial” and “we would like to figure out a way to get this into a court of law.” [emphasis added]

So here’s your chance.

 More from Raw Story:

I have written previously about the very distressing, by which I mean ‘high-larious’, legal woes of National Review which is being sued for letting contributor Mark Steyn defame climate scientist Michael Mann for comparing him to child molester Jerry Sandusky on the internet pages of NRO. Long story short: Competitive Enterprise Institute “scholar” Rand Simberg wrote an  article attacking Mann’s research and, trying to be topical,  referenced the fact that he teaches at Penn State as the basis for an oh-so-clever PSU Michael Mann = Penn State football coach/kid rapist Jerry Sandusky analogy. Writing at NRO, former drama critic Mark Steyn whose climate science knowledge is limited to knowing all the lyrics to They Call The Wind Maria,  LOL’d and repeated what Simberg wrote. When Mann protested, CEI backed down and deleted the offending lines but not the rest of the post. On the other hand National Review Editor Rich Lowry seemed to be under the impression that he was William F. Badass Jr. and told Mann and his attorneys to pound sand.

If Mann sues us, the materials we will need to mount a full defense will be extremely wide-ranging. So if he files a complaint, we will be doing more than fighting a nuisance lawsuit; we will be embarking on a journalistic project of great interest to us and our readers.

My advice to poor Michael is to go away and bother someone else. If he doesn’t have the good sense to do that, we look forward to teaching him a thing or two about the law and about how free debate works in a free country.

“Poor” Michael Mann didn’t listen to Rich Lowry, and instead called his bluff and sued anyway forcing Lowry to beg for money from his readers because the treasure chest at National Review – which is a money losing wingnut welfare suckhole – couldn’t cover the check Lowry’s dumbass wrote:

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.

lush with reader cash the NRO team has so far gone 0 fer 2 with the judges and now their ship is  beginning to sink and the crew is jumping overboard because Mark Steyn attacked Judge Natalia Combs Greene. According to Mother Jones :

Earlier this month, Steptoe & Johnson, the law firm representing National Reviewand its writer, Mark Steyn, withdrew as Steyn’s counsel. According to two sources with inside knowledge, it also plans to drop National Review as a client.

The lawyers’ withdrawal came shortly after Steyn—a prominent conservative pundit who regularly fills in as host of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show—publicly attacked the former judge in the case, Natalia Combs Greene, accusing her of “stupidity” and “staggering” incompetence. Mann’s attorney, John B. Williams, suspects this is no coincidence. “Any lawyer would be taken aback if their client said such things about the judge,” he says. “That may well be why Steptoe withdrew.”

Steyn’s manager, Melissa Howes, acknowledged that his commentary “did not go over well.”But Steyn maintains it was his decision to part ways with his attorneys.

Yeah. the old “you can’t break up with me, I already broke up with you, so there!” line.

More hilarity at the link.


40 Responses to “That’s Entertainment: More on the Mann Defamation Suit”

  1. Rick Spung Says:

    mann has been labeled by the court as a public figure, which means in addition to defamation, he also has to prove actual malice and that is very difficult. he has to prove the defendants knew what they were saying wasn’t true or had serious doubts about its truth.

    this means mann has to find evidence of the defendants saying or writing something along the lines of “we know this isn’t true, or we are pretty sure this isn’t true, but we’re going to say it anyway.”

    mann will introduce as evidence the “investigations” that “cleared” him, but those responsible for the investigations will be subpoenaed and deposed. they will be required to submit proof they thoroughly examined mann’s data, equations, methodology and computer code.

    if those who “cleared” him can’t produce confirmation they weren’t just whitewashes, they will be of little use to mann.

    the defendants can introduce dozens of articles published by experts in statistics, mathematics and climatology that challenge mann’s work, methods and results. the defendants can easily claim they relied on an abundance of literature and expert opinions that supported their belief that mann manipulated evidence to produce a fraudulent result.

    mann’s chances of winning this case are slim to none. but this is not uncommon- public figures almost never win libel cases, because the burden of proof is so high. they must get inside the minds of the defendants and produce evidence they KNEW what they were doing was wrong. virtually every defendant in cases like this has a firm conviction, backed by some evidence that they were telling the truth.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Dream on, Sprung. You are entitled to all the wishful thinking that you and the denialists can find, but only time will tell, and I think it’s on Mann’s side. Has it occurred to you that the main reason Mann is a “public figure” is that he has been defamed and attacked by a huge number of anal orifices (including the AG of VA) and that all their attacks have been found wanting? Are the defendants going to be able to prove they knew about none of that? He is a scientist who only wanted to do science until you and your ilk came along and attacked him, and not because of science but because of politics. Go away.

      • Rick Spung Says:

        lol, I am not going away and nothing you just said has any meaning or value.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Why does this reply not surprise me? Perhaps because it’s just more of the same old crap from another mindless denier troll. Nothing I say has meaning or value, you say? In your closed and self-deluded mind I’m sure that’s 100% true. Why don’t you leave Crock and go play on one of the right wing-nut sites where you will feel more at home? Or go listen to Rush or Glenn Beck? Reinforce your willful ignorance and denial.

          Too bad you’re apparently not smart enough to discuss the “public versus private figure” concept—-it’s very important in defamation law.

          • Rick Spung Says:

            I’ve already schooled you on the public vs private figure concept. it was established by the us supreme court in the nyt vs Sullivan case in 1964. it establishes, like I said, a higher burden of proof for public figures. mann is a public figure. and the actual malice standard (established by the supreme court in 1964) is precisely what will cause him to lose this case.

            you need to wipe the spittle off your face, catch up on your meds and try to INTELLIGENTLY discuss this issue if you are interested in learning anything about this case. calling names and slinging laughably juvenile insults only makes you look bad.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I’m just a dumboldguy and get confused easily, so maybe someone can help me out here?

            Our new useful idiot Sprung says “calling names and slinging laughably juvenile insults only makes you look bad” but then throws out the laughably juvenile insult…….”you need to wipe the spittle off your face and catch up on your meds”?

            Is he self-aware enough to recognize that HE looks quite bad there?

            And he talks about how he has “schooled” us with the rather shallow explanations he has plucked from “Defamation Law for Dummies”. I tried to get him to expand on that, but he apparently hasn’t flipped through the pages of DLFD far enough to come across “limited-purpose public figure”.

          • Rick Spung Says:

            limited purpose public figure = public figure. the burden of proof is the same.

            “By voluntarily placing themselves in the public eye, they relinquish some of their privacy rights. For these reasons, false statements about limited-purpose public figures that relate to the public controversies in which they are involved are not considered defamatory unless they meet the actual-malice test that is set forth in Sullivan.”

            mann is a published author who writes and markets books. he has also (falsely) claimed to be a nobel prize winner. he gave al gore permission to use his hockey stick graph in a widely viewed documentary. the judge has already labeled him as, at minimum, a limited purpose public figure. in fact he is more than that, but the difference is immaterial.


            I can’t help noticing that you still are not capable of discussing this issue in a mature and rational manner. in addition to being wrong on virtually every point you try to make, you cannot write a single comment without resorting to vitriol. very comical.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Spring says “limited purpose public figure = public figure. the burden of proof is the same”. Hmmmm—-wonder why they had to come up with the two distinct categories if they are “the same”?

            Sprang also says “the judge has already labeled him as, AT A MINIMUM, a limited purpose public figure. in fact he is more than that, but the difference is immaterial”. Hmmmmm——Didn’t Sprang say at 11:47 am that he was a just plain public figure? Are we starting to disagree with ourself, Rick?


            AHA! The source of Sprung’s wisdom. A FREE online “Defamation Law for Dummies”, and it doesn’t look bad.

            And in closing, Spring-Sprang-Sprung climbs up on his high horse of mild indignation and says (with a sniff-sniff into his perfumed sleeve hanky and a flip of his powdered wig)…..”I can’t help noticing that you still are not capable of discussing this issue in a mature and rational manner.” He tries to establish authority with a bald assertion…..”in addition to being wrong on virtually every point you try to make”. He finally demonstrates his superiority by looking with disdain on my comments with….”you cannot write a single comment without resorting to vitriol. very comical”.

            Vitriol? Yes, although the use of “vitriol” is a bit of hyperbole, it is apparently clear to Rick that I don’t like fools who quote things to us that they really don’t understand. If Rick really did understand any of this stuff he looked up, he would have stopped this foolishness when I said “time will tell”. I’m glad he finds my efforts to tell him that “comical”.

          • Rick Spung Says:

            “I don’t like fools who quote things to us that they really don’t understand”

            lol, I obviously understand the libel statute and terms like public figure, limited public figure, actual malice and reckless disregard much better than you.

            after all, I corrected your mistakes regarding the definitions of public figure and limited public figure. and if you show the same amount of ignorance regarding actual malice or reckless disregard I will correct you again. please feel free to make more mistakes. I enjoy correcting you.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            LOL and correct away to your heart’s content, Rick, as you twirl in front of your mirror of self-delusion and admire yourself.

            You OBVIOUSLY are unable to understand that you are “insane (perhaps). delusional (extremely likely). laughable (definitely). and pathetic (my sincere sympathies)”, just as you labelled the entire world that knows the truth about sea level rise in the 20th. century.

            Continue to strut around on Crock, crowing like a demented rooster. We enjoy watching deluded and demented roosters.

            PS An example of your self-delusion is the statement that you “corrected my mistakes regarding the definitions of public figure and limited public figure”.

          • Rick Spung Says:

            hey, you’re the one who didn’t know that public figures and limited public figures face the same burden of proof.

            and you’re the one who didn’t understand that it was mann’s actions, and nobody else’s, that made him a public figure.


          • dumboldguy Says:

            Cackle on, Rick. I’m done feeding the troll for today.

            I will repeat what I said earlier—- “You are entitled to all the wishful thinking that you and the denialists can find, but only time will tell”.

            Yes, there are difficulties in pursuing defamation cases, and yes, the defendants will attempt to muddy the water with all kinds of “expert” horsepucky, However, I am eager to see the case go to discovery and see their “stuff” that proves they were justified in saying what they did—I don’t think they have any—but only time will tell.

          • Rick Spung Says:

            “only time will tell”

            well, duh. ok, fine. we agree on something. good night and I will see you later. hopefully our sparring will be heavier on the content and lighter on the name-calling.


            only time will tell.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Speaking of comments that are meaningless and without value, take a look at what Rick Sprung said in response to an article on sea-level rise in FL on the UCS blog The Equation at 9:10 am on October 12, 2012.

          “are you seriously going to suggest sea levels rose EIGHT inches during the twentieth century??? that’s insane. delusional. laughable. pathetic”.

          Yep, that’s real “meaningless and without value” horsepucky from a mindless troll. LOL indeed that you are “not going away”, Sprung. Crock can always use a new “useful idiot”, especcially one that is “insane. delusional. laughable. and pathetic” like you.

        • greenman3610 Says:

          “lol, I am not going away ”


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