Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dr. Mann v Steyn, NR, CEI lawsuit, botched ruling? Who says?

Here's a belated update on the lawsuit Dr. Mann initiated last October against the Competitive Enterprise Institute and The National Review.  For background see this Facebook post by Dr. Mann.
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Michael E. Mann  |  Facebook  |  October 23, 2012 
Lawsuit filed against The National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute 10/22/12  
Today, the case of Dr. Michael E. Mann vs. The National Review and The Competitive Enterprise Institute was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Dr. Mann, a Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, has instituted this lawsuit against the two organizations, along with two of their authors, based upon their false and defamatory statements accusing him of academic fraud and comparing him to a convicted child molester, Jerry Sandusky. 
Dr. Mann is being represented by John B. Williams of the law firm of Cozen O'Connor in Washington, D.C. ( ... 
For the rest of this link to: 
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It was a challenge for Professor Mann to take on The National Review and The Competitive Enterprise Institute as outlined in this October 26, 2012, Science Insider analysis, by Puneet Kollipara at AAAS's website:  
"Climate Scientist Mann Faces Obstacles to Winning Libel Lawsuit, Legal Experts Say"

On July 19th, the court handed down two orders that affirmed the solidity of Dr. Mann's case and ordered the case to continue with a status hearing set for September 27, 2013.

For the details see:

Lawsuit against National Review and CEI 
Posted on July 19, 2013 by Climate Science Watch  
"... The Court is not buying the Defendants arguments in their Motion to Dismiss that their statements are protected speech under the First Amendment, mere “opinion,” “rhetorical hyperbole,” or “fair comment.”  
Full text of the decisions:
On the National Review's Motion to Dismiss
On the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Motion to Dismiss  
We quote below several excerpts from the CEI decision (underlining added):  
"...  In this case, however, the evidence before the Court, at this stage, demonstrates something more and different that honest or even brutally honest commentary.” [at 14-15]"  
To call his (Dr. Mann) work a sham or to question his intellect and reasoning is tantamount to an accusation of fraud (taken in the context and knowing that Plaintiff’s work has been investigated and substantiated on numerous occasions).” [at 15-16]  
“Having been investigated by almost one dozen bodies due to accusations of fraud, and none of those investigations having found Plaintiff’s work to be fraudulent, it must be concluded that the accusations are provably false.  Reference to Plaintiff, as a fraud is a misstatement of fact.” [at 19]  
“There is sufficient evidence presented that is indicative of “actual malice.” The CEI Defendants have consistently accused Plaintiff of fraud and inaccurate theories, despite Plaintiff’s work having been investigated several times and found to be proper.{...} Thus, given the evidence presented the Court finds that Plaintiff could prove “actual malice.”” [at 23]
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MANN SUIT AGAINST CEI, NRO CAN PROCEED, COURT RULES: The D.C. Superior Court on Friday ruled that climate scientist Michael Mann’s defamation lawsuit against the National Review Online and the Competitive Enterprise Institute can move forward, denying motions to dismiss from the two defendants. The suit stemmed from a July 2012 CEI blog post, later quoted by the NRO, that called Mann, currently on faculty at Penn State, the "Jerry Sandusky of climate science" and accused Mann of fraud. The NRO and CEI sought to dismiss the case on First Amendment and other ground, but the court ruled the suit can move forward.   
The assertion of fraud relies upon “facts that are provably false,” the court concluded, citing multiple investigations that concluded Mann's work is scientifically sound, in its order denying NRO’s move to dismiss.  
Next up: The court notes that Mann can likely prove CEI engaged in “actual malice,” the stringent standard for a public figure suing for libel. But the court notes that Mann may have a harder time with his case against the National Review. However, there is "sufficient evidence to find that further discovery may uncover evidence of 'actual malice,’” the court wrote in its order related to NRO’s motion to dismiss: And the order on CEI’s motion:  (PDFs via Climate Science Watch)
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There is a late development.  On July 24th, the National Review and Mark Steyn filed a "motion for reconsideration" of the Judge's July 19th order.  Claiming that she conflated CEI and National Review when listing actions only CEI was party to.  Reading the court order, it's the usual convoluted wording and as usual seems to me some of it could have been written clearer, like every other court order I've ever waded through.  

But, it seems the usual science skeptics's hyperinflation of the actual facts.  We'll see.  I admit looking forward to reading Judge Natalie Combs Greene response - to be continued October 11th.  

As could have been expected the usual suspects are embarking on the tried and true smear campaign when presenting this story.  Spearheaded by Anthony Watts the echo chamber is in full force.

At WUWT, posted July 29th:
Dazed and Confused: Steyn files motion for reconsideration on Mann lawsuit based on Clinton judge’s error in fact 
Below are the public court documents submitted by Mark Steyn’s attorney moving for reconsideration by Clinton-appointed D.C. Judge Natalia M. Combs Greene as a result of her decision to allow the lawsuit by climate scientist Michael Mann against Mark Steyn and National Review to proceed.
Nothing like fanning paranoia and hostility Mr. Watts?  Wish I could ask him face to face how that sort of politicizing is going to help anyone learn about climate science or help prepare for this brave new world that's obviously barreling down on us?  What about helping people figure out how to understand this stuff, instead of all this crazy-making? 

How can he... the Kochs, Republic leaders, business leader and their grassroots supporters behave like they believe it's supposed to be 1980s forever?  Come on, look at Earth observations?  What's with all the contrived contortions intent on ignoring the basic science... and observations... the reality we are dealing with? 

What's the point in creating all this unfounded paranoia and pretending that scientists are trying to fool us !  That ain't real, it doesn't stand up when you actually take the time to listen to the scientists.

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 wrote an excellent article I want to share the beginnings of:

Chaos and the Hockey Stick 
Personal attacks on the respected climatologist Michael Mann demonstrate how difficult it is for rational discourse on climate change. 
Michael Mann is the director of the Earth System Science Centerat Penn State University and the climatologist responsible for the famous “hockey stick” graph, which shows how, after 1,000 years of human history, earth’s temperature started to spike about the same time that mankind started burning fossil fuels in massive quantities. That graph, of all things, has made him a hate figure amongst the most vitriolic deniers of the link between manmade carbon emissions and climate change. 
How Mann has been treated since publishing the graph shows how angry, dogmatic and vicious the debate around the evidence for anthropogenic climate change remains—to the extent that it is no longer a debate at all. In July, though, some of Mann’s critics crossed a line. 
Writing in the National Review, a right-wing newspaper, Mark Steyn went all the way to calling Professor Mann a fraud. In his article, Steyn referenced and repeated an accusation in an extraordinarily offensive blog by the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Rand Simberg that Mann was “the Jerry Sandusky” of climate science, comparing the climatologist to the former Penn State college coach convicted last year of child molestation.
Mann sued for defamation. 
The National Review and CEI tried to get the case dismissed on the grounds of censorship of protected opinion, but a District of Columbia judge has ruled that the suit can proceed.
Being allowed to take the battle against skepticism to court, albeit in a single, personal case, could be an important step at a time when there seems to be a perceptible fatigue amongst some communicators of climate change; a nagging sense of worry not about their science, but about their ability to force the truth through the mists of obfuscation and vitriol that have allowed deniers to keep doubt in the public discourse. 
Despite an overwhelming consensus within the scientific community that carbon emissions from human activity have led to, and continue to cause, a rise in global temperatures, the minority view to the contrary is still promoted and funded by elements of the energy industry.  {link to the rest of the article}

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Jan 29, 2014
Surely you're joking Mr. Weingarten!

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Feb 21, 2014

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Feb 23, 2014
John O'Sullivan says! So what...

1 comment:

citizenschallenge said...

Moyhu - February 25, 2014
Links for Mann legal matters

I have been collecting links for various documents associated particularly with the current libel case of Mann vs CEI/NRO/Steyn. I've been arguing about that on the usual blogs (Lucia,CA,WUWT).

I don't want to canvass the arguments here, but just to collect links to relevant documents. For case docs, I've tried to source the very good DC Slapp Law site linked above, partly because its pdf's are selectable.

So here is a table of links. I'll try to add to them over time.

Moyhu - Links for Mann legal matters