Mark Steyn makes motion to dismiss Mann’s libel claim

From the “chilling effect” of sunlight department, Steyn writes:

Many “climate skeptics” wonder why the defendants would want to get the complaint dismissed rather than put Mann through a trial in which he would have to take the witness stand and discuss his work under oath. I can understand their enthusiasm for this but for me the priority has always been the broader cause of free speech:

Defendant Steyn stands by his words and is willing to defend them at trial and before a jury, should it come to that. However, as a noted human-rights activist in Canada and elsewhere, he believes that the cause of freedom of expression in the United States would best be served by dismissing the amended complaint, and that a trial would have a significant “chilling effect” in America of the kind the Anti-SLAPP laws are specifically designed to prevent.

The “chilling effect” is a bigger threat to civilized society than all Dr Mann’s warming. But the judge chose instead to put us on the road to a full-scale trial. So be it.

As readers may have deduced from my absence at National Review Online and my termination of our joint representation, there have been a few differences between me and the rest of the team. The lesson of the last year is that you win a free-speech case not by adopting a don’t-rock-the-boat, keep-mum, narrow procedural posture but by fighting it in the open, in the bracing air and cleansing sunlight of truth and justice.

=============================================================

Unfortunately, the motion was denied.

Read the whole thing here: http://www.steynonline.com/6025/trial-and-error

RoadCones-300x224[1]Mann would be a fool to pursue the case further, but then again, his ego is often so large that I surmise the state department of transportation must be forced to put out orange traffic cones ahead of him when he travels, so I doubt it will happen.

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124 Responses to Mark Steyn makes motion to dismiss Mann’s libel claim

  1. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    Please don’t move for dismissal until after the discovery process is finished!
    This is a golden opportunity that should not be squandered.

  2. philjourdan says:

    There is also the issue of the money. While Steyn is no pauper, he is also not Warren Buffett. The rest of us with no money skin in the game may root for a trial where the dirt of Mann is exposed, but it is not our money being used to air the dirty laundry.

  3. Janice Moore says:

    Re: “Mann …, his ego is often so large that the department of transportation has to put out orange traffic cones ahead … .” LOL.

    Waaatch out, everybody! GIANT MANN BLIMP headed your way!!!!

    Aaaaaaaa! Here comes Climate Clown!!!! Run! “Hey, Carol…. HEEEELLLLP!”

  4. john robertson says:

    Steyn has a fair point, the Just-us system is not the friend of free citizens nor justice.
    It is a bureaucracy apparently designed to crushing any who dare to rock the ship of state.
    CYA, scratch the big boys back seeming to be the take away message of late.
    The state does not fear the citizen.
    This could be a serious mistake.
    Fair comment and mockery will do more to expose the fools, delusional, those wanna be masters of the world than any institutional process.

  5. rabbit says:

    This isn’t a game of checkers, The biggest threat here is of Steyn going to court and losing. That would be a catastrophe. To avoid it, Steyn must take every opportunity he can to end the case as early as possible.

  6. Bart says:

    The best defense is a good offense. I would sure like to see a countersuit against Mann for the many potentially libelous comments he has made of others who disagree with him.

  7. Paul says:

    In other news our very own Anthony’s web site gets a mention. All is not what it seems if you only delve a little deeper:

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84653

  8. profitup10 says:

    Humm Mann is suing – will he sue all that say his data set was gamed . . why did EA University provide the base research and the data so that a real peer review could be conducted by other scientists – well could it be that they knew the data was a false premise and could not provide a proof for the base hypothesis of AGW?

    What complete ship of fools IMO – just look at the AGW research group that got stuck in ice that was not supposed to exist in their published consensus of Scientists. I have not seen one explain how the ice that was not there locked up three ships including ice breakers in the non ice?

  9. M Courtney says:

    Mann is to big to fail. He would be a martyr to the cause if he lost. And then celebrated like Peter Gleick. Cocktails all round.
    Steyn would be impoverished with his reputation in tatters.
    This is not an even fight – one side can’t lose.
    It is better not to fight if you are the little guy.
    But it’s more fun if you do…

  10. John West says:

    Will the original complaint be admissible as evidence in the trial? I can think of no better clear cut example of Mann’s tendancy to exaggerate (to put it lightly) than characterizing himself as sharing the Nobel prize with other IPCC authors.

  11. Navy Bob says:

    I’m a big Steyn fan, but I found his article confusing. He wanted the complaint dismissed because of the chilling effect the cost and effort of a trial would have on free speech. Yet now he’s glad the motion to dismiss was denied because it better serves the cause of free speech to fight in the open, bracing air, etc. I’m not accusing him of hypocrisy or contradiction, I just don’t get what he’s saying. I’d also like to know what happened between him and his co-defendants. Their law firm apparently dropped him from the team, but I’ve not seen anything that explains why.

  12. imoira says:

    Free speech is not only dear but also expensive.

  13. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    Bart says:
    January 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    The best defense is a good offense. I would sure like to see a countersuit against Mann for the many potentially libelous comments he has made of others who disagree with him.

    That’s not how civil tort law works. Steyn has no standing to sue Mann for libel committed against others; he could only bring suit for damages he (Steyn) suffered as a result of wrongful acts committed by Mann. Others may have grounds to sue Mann, but they would have to bring the suits; Steyn can’t do it for them and unless he is willing to pay their legal fees, I doubt any such suits will be brought if they haven’t been already.

    In any case, even if the plaintiff in one libel suit is himself a defendant in another libel suit, the outcome in the second case has no effect on the outcome in the first. Think about it: if I’m brought to trial for robbing your house, my defense is not bolstered if you are also prosecuted for robbing your neighbor’s house.

  14. ttfn says:

    Mann’s not a fool. Steyn will ultimately “win” because the suit is so stupid, but it’ll cost him a couple million for God knows what and cow any other critics of Mann from stepping up. Anti-SLAPP was supposed to prevent such nonsense, but obviously Bernstein has other ideas.

  15. Gail Combs says:

    I would not trust our ‘Justice’ system to give a fair trail to anyone.

    This is a heads Mann wins tails Mann wins situation.

  16. Janice Moore says:

    Dear Mark Steyn,

    That you chose to do what was best for Freedom of Speech (versus exposing the l1es of a known l1ar re: AGW) is your business, and not ours. We lovers of liberty will continue to back you 100%. You are one of our finest warriors on the front lines of the perennial battle for truth. You deserve nothing but our respect and our gratitude.

    Life is short. You have better things to do with your time — like enjoying your family. Good people not only have the courage to fight against ev1l, they have the wisdom to discern when to walk away from a fool.

    I know you don’t like rock music like I do, but, consider this one of my numerous letters to Mark’s Mailbox and take this as encouragement from your longtime unilateral friend. You’ve made a tough call. Now, ….
    Don’t Look Back — (“there’s no game to play”) — Boston

  17. wws says:

    Navy Bob, look at it this way. Steyn is glad that the cause of free speech is going to be supported by this going to trial, but he laments the fact that it is going to take a year of his life and probably a million dollars to do it, money of his and his supporters which could be spent more effectively elsewhere. No sane person would want to subject themselves to that kind of circus if there is any way it, but once you’re pulled into it, you might as well make the best of it.

  18. Tom G(ologist) says:

    Steyn is right to attempt to dismiss. There are so many unknowns going into a trial – it is the reason that only a small percentage of complaints are ever actually tried. I have been an expert witness for about 50 legal matters (suits, if you like), have been deposed about a dozen or so times and to trial twice. So, most matters settle early, some get serious and almost all settle after the two sides get to weigh each others’ cases.

    That being said, I would not wish this issue to go to trial. Trials are VERY unpredictable. You can’t even predict what lines of evidence are going to be admitted, you can bet that Mann’s attorneys would be working to exclude a lot of evidence, and there is no way to predict whether the judge will indeed exclude some. I am in no way confident in the results of a trial on this one.

    Sorry to be a downer, but I have had the rug pulled out from under me on most of those 50 or so occasions in which I was involved. I was certain of my part in the case, yet the case settled and I never got to get a ruling on how right I knew (thought) I was. That was because the attorneys, you know, those people whose careers are based on knowing the court system, find the courts too unpredictable to bet their cases on having them heard, and would rather settle than risk a bad judgment – and they were just as confident in their legal arguments as I was in my technical arguments. That ought to be enough of a warning to us non-attorneys that the judicial system is unpredictable at best, even for the most iron-clad of cases.

    There is still a very good chance this will settle which is my hope.

  19. Alex says:

    I’m such a Steyn fan and this just reminds me why. But I’m fearful of reality, especially as I read “The Aquariums of Pyongyang” on the duped Koreans living in Japan returning to the North and ending up in the prison camps. I agree with him, the U.S. court system is no place for rubes. It’s a deliberate procedural mine field designed to protect the lawyer’s guild and the weasel-y.

    God be with you Mr. Steyn. Send him money.

  20. Janice Moore says:

    {ooops! forgot to sign my letter}

    Sincerely yours,

    Janice Moore

  21. cynical_scientist says:

    The US civil court system is a place where two embattled sides pay out obscene amounts of money in legal fees until someone goes bankrupt and the person with the largest wallet wins. The role of the judge in all of this, especially in the first few years of trial, is to make bizarre rulings which prolong the agony as long as possible. Almost never will anything at all be decided in the first couple of years. Cases seldom make it all the way through to judgement (reaching a final judgement could take a decade and is mind bogglingly expensive for both sides). Most cases end in a settlement when the two sides agree that they’ve had enough and negotiate an end to it.

    The legal system isn’t justice – it is a tarpit. Those who step into it voluntarily are idiots. If you ever find yourself dragged in there, get out as fast as you can by any means possible before your wallet bleeds out.

  22. Bart says:

    Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:
    January 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    “…he could only bring suit for damages he (Steyn) suffered as a result of wrongful acts committed by Mann.”

    Has he not claimed Steyn and others are engaged in a massive conspiracy funded by Big Oil?

    “…the outcome in the second case has no effect on the outcome in the first.”

    Not the point. The point is the same one for which Mann instituted his suit: to chill the freedom to speak of the other side. To force them to back down on their assault against civilized society.

    They’ve thrown away the rulebook, and intend to run roughshod over anyone who stands in their way. This is a streetfight – if you don’t adopt their tactics in return, you lose. A bully will continue to be a bully until he gets a punch in the nose. I would pay good money to see someone (metaphorically and in a legalistic sense) land a good haymaker upside Mann’s vicious little mug.

  23. Alex says:

    Tom G(ologist), so by “good chance this will settle,” you mean, “good chance Steyn, NR, etc. will pay Mann”? Or they’ll walk away from each other?

    How settle?

  24. Latitude says:

    What is that old saying about tell a lie often enough…
    …Mann that is

  25. Alex says:

    Yeah, cynical, even in small claims court, the judges are often intolerant jerks to those who represent themselves for $500 cases, not-so-subtly encouraging patronage of their private peers in the guild. Tarpit is great term.

  26. pokerguy says:

    “I can understand their enthusiasm for this but for me the priority has always been the broader cause of free speech:”

    I can understand why MArk Steyn is not eager to go to court with al associated expenses and stress, but in my view “free speech” will not be endangered in any way if this does go to trial. The more important, more immediate issue is exposing these frauds for what they are.

  27. James Ard says:

    I don’t blame Steyn for filing for dismissal. Only a fool would risk a trial which will be one of the warmists’ last stands. They will throw everything they have at it, including any dirt our snoops have collected on the judge. The fact that his motion was denied alone shows how unpredictable the results are.

  28. Tom G(ologist) says:
    January 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I have also been to court a few times on engineering and contractual issues. Since judges have no technical expertise in engineering, the rationale for their decisions which they state in their judgements are sometimes completely baffling and devoid of sound logic (from an engineering/contractual perspective). A multi-million dollar case can turn on one phrase in weeks of a trial. It is pretty much a crap shoot so usually it is in everyone’s interest to settle but sometime clients think they are 100% right and so does the opposition. Then it gets messy.

    Since no judge is going to have any concept of what is being talked about technically, they will pretty much have to deal with the legal issue which could go anywhere depending on who spins the best yarn. That might be a bit harsh but I have seen a few major whoppers told in court. The judge won’t know truth from fiction as the judge wasn’t there and has to judge on what is presented.

    I wish Mr Steyn all the luck in the world.

  29. aaron says:

    Cool. I look forward to watching.

  30. Joseph W. says:

    Tom G – I greatly fear you may be right; but it may be in Steyn’s nature to fight this one to the bitter end on the principle of the thing. The trial court has failed to dismiss it; but the appellate courts haven’t reviewed it yet. I’m still hoping this order can be appealed right away (the last appeal was dismissed as moot; but it wouldn’t be moot now, I think). If the court says “wait ’til the end of the case” then Steyn has to either fight it all the way through or, if he settles, waive his right to appeal. And that would be a great shame…because if cases like Mann’s stay alive, that’s a serious curtailment of our First Amendment rights, and I hate to see that.

  31. pokerguy says:

    “This isn’t a game of checkers, The biggest threat here is of Steyn going to court and losing. That would be a catastrophe. To avoid it, Steyn must take every opportunity he can to end the case as early as possible.”

    I really dislike this kind of scared rabbit approach to life. I admire Mr. Steyn and I completely understand who he’s not eager to expose himself to further jeopardy, and yet someone, some time has to stand up to these people. Yes, there’s always a danger of losing, but that’s not a good reason not to fight, if the fight is worthy enough. In my humble judgment it is.

  32. Tom G(ologist) says:

    Alex:
    Unfortunately, in many cases, it is out of the hands of the actual defendant (in this case, Steyn) or their employer (NR). The people who call the shots as to whether settlement is reached or not might be the insurance company for NR. I have not heard that they are in it, but I would be surprised if they are not dragged in ultimately. And insurance companies HAAAATE to go to trial. They will settle for, yes, sadly, $$$$$ to a plaintiff if it means they are not at risk of a bad judgment which would establish a legal precedent.

  33. more soylent green! says:

    @cynical_scientist

    Can I get an amen, brother!

  34. dbstealey says:

    Alex,

    I thought you couldn’t bring your lawyer into small claims court.

    But I do agree with you, and cynical_scientist, who wrote:

    “The role of the judge in all of this, especially in the first few years of trial, is to make bizarre rulings which prolong the agony as long as possible.”

    I’ve seen it first hand, where an organization I was in brought suit. Our lawyer said, “Given all the facts on our side, and the complete absence of any facts supporting [the other side], I don’t see how we can lose.”

    Guess what happened?

    Yes, the ruling went against us. I have no doubt we would have prevailed on appeal, but our board decided that the money wasn’t worth what was essentially just making an ethical point. So we threw in our hand.

    As they say, the one with the experience gets the money, and the one with the money gets the experience. I suppose in the long run it’s a fair trade. Sort of.

  35. Tom G(ologist) says:

    Oh, and btw, if there is a $$$ settlement, don’t expect that you would ever know how much a cretin like Mann received. Just be certain in your little heart of hearts that it would be more than enough to spike your indignity meter.

  36. Alan Robertson says:

    Alex says:
    January 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Tom G(ologist), so by “good chance this will settle,” you mean, “good chance Steyn, NR, etc. will pay Mann”? Or they’ll walk away from each other?
    __________________________
    Read Steyn’s last paragraph (above, beginning: “As readers may have deduced…”)) and answer your own question.

  37. Tom G(ologist) says:

    What I have found when dealing with a judge, and I have been before judges in most of those cases in which we settled, as the judge presides over settlement agreements, is that the side that wins is represented by the best story teller. And I don’t mean ‘story’ as in falsehood. I mean the person who comes across as the best presenter, most polished, best prepared, reasonable, creditable person. A good presentation vs a poor presentation, regardless of the facts, goes a long way with a judge who has no clue of the technical details and no way to tease out which spin story is the closest to reality.

    There is also the issue of what is know as Departmental deference. Judges view the positions of the opponents in a case. If one of the sides represents a government agency or a public institution and the other side is from a commercial entrerprise, there is deference to the story from the public entity under the rationale that the commercial appellant has a monetary stake in the matter but the public institution is more impartial by its very nature, so its story receives deference (preference). This is not a covert occurrence. It is well known in the legal practices. I know it first hand because some of my cases were against state and/or federal agencies and our lawyers had to plan against it. So, we have a periodical which makes its money by selling stories people will be tempted to buy, vs a professor from the state university system……

    You do the math.

  38. john says:

    I agree with Tom (G).

    The procedural nature of the courts are littered with technical land mines everywhere. Seeing how administrations everywhere are pushing the carbon schemes, You can bet that Mann will have more than adequate funding from many well to do sources and have a dream team similar to that of OJ Simpson. My guess is that Mann will not even pay a single penny for this.

    Mr. Steyn is playing the cards as best he can, but, I would imagine he will be out moneyed and out lawyered substantially due to the nature of the case. I hope that WUWT will keep us all posted in the event Mr. Steyn needs (and I am sure he will) significant outside assistance.

  39. John Whitman says:

    Start parody . . .

    Is Mann a mythological hero in his own mind only when he is in mythic legal battles with imaginary evil konspirators?

    He’s happy.

    How happy?

    He’s as happy as Lewandowsky and/or Cook are with their ideological support from Naomi Oreskes against evil konspirators.

    . . . end parody.

    John

  40. Doug says:

    Steyn and Rand Simberg, whose article Steyn apparently cribbed, made specific factual allegations of scientific fraud against Mann. They and their organizations have been sued by Mann for defamation. That means they have to prove fraud by a preponderance of the evidence. They filed for dismissal apparently based on their 1st Amendment right to free speech.

    The problem for them, of course, is that they weren’t just expressing opinions, which they have every right to do, no matter how whacky, but they alleged fraud, a very specific fact based accusation.

    Contrary to what Steyn is quoted as saying above, they filed for dismissal because they don’t want to go to the discovery stage of the case where they will be buried with actual evidence. IOW, they won’t get away with the brand of shoddy journalism these types live on. They have a lot to worry about, Mann doesn’t.

    Doug

  41. Grant A. Brown says:

    1. The First Amendment is not relevant in the context of a defamation case. Defamation is a common-law tort (citizen vs. citizen), not a limit on speech imposed by government.
    2. A motion to vacate is difficult to win, even in jurisdictions with anti-SLAPP laws. And it should be. The judge made the right ruling, for the right reasons, in this instance.
    3. Precisely because a motion to vacate is so easy to defeat, the dismissal of the motion to vacate is not probative with respect to the ultimate outcome of the case. Nobody should be cheering yet. If the question of fact comes down to whether Mann “molested and tortured the data,” as the judge suggests, there will be ample evidence adduced from discovery to make the case.
    4. The terms “molesting” and “torturing” – and even “fraudulent” – are not legal or scientific or precise in the context in which they were used, so some poetic licence should be allowed in their use. In my judgment, Mann clearly engaged in practices that can reasonably be characterized as “molesting” and “torturing” data. However, a judge with little scientific background or critical faculties – the majority of judges, after all – might well be bamboozled into thinking that Mann was “exonerated” of the charge by the various white-washing exercises he was put through. Thus it is understandable that the Defendants do not wish to take the case to trial – no matter how fun the discovery process might be to interested observers.
    5. Cost penalties are available at the end of the day to dissuade unmeritorious claims. Mann’s own vituperative comments about those he disagrees with – such as calling Judith Curry “anti-science” – should weigh heavily in a judge’s assessment of costs against him should he lose. He is a hypocrite, and should be shown no mercy when it comes to awarding costs.
    IMO.

  42. Gary E says:

    I agree with all those who warn to stay away from the legal system whenever possible. It is a self perpetuating money pit where the Lawyers on each side help maintain the other sides Lawyers income by continuing the case until one side is proven broke.

  43. John Francis says:

    I know Mark has said he doesn’t really believe in a legal defense fund, but this is so serious I sure hope someone with a popular blog will start one on his behalf. I contributed to the NRO fund, and I suspect tens of thousands of us would chip in for Mark.

  44. Bart says:

    Doug says:
    January 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    “That means they have to prove fraud by a preponderance of the evidence. “

    No. It means they have to prove they themselves were persuaded by the evidence without reckless disregard for the truth. That is the standard in the US.

    Grant A. Brown says:
    January 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    “Defamation is a common-law tort (citizen vs. citizen), not a limit on speech imposed by government.”

    Mann is a public figure, and it is indeed a First Amendment case.

  45. Richard Sharpe says:

    I would be willing to pony up some money to help Steyn with his legal defense costs. $200 would be easy, more would be possible.

    Steyn should explore that avenue …

  46. Jean Parisot says:

    Doug, Steyn knows what he is doing. Mann should not have picked a fight with someone who “buys ink by the barrel”.

    The motion to dismiss was pro forma and necessary, in Federal court you always want to preserve an honest position of reasonable accommodation. They are busy and at every opportunity you remind them that you are the one trying to make this go away without them having to do any more work.

  47. john says:

    Grant A. Brown says:
    January 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    “4. The terms “molesting” and “torturing” – and even “fraudulent” – are not legal or scientific or precise in the context in which they were used, so some poetic licence should be allowed in their use.”

    Grant, In the U.S. there is a 5 year statute of limitations on FRAUD. This is why the administration kicked the can down the road on bank fraud for 5 YEARS stemming from the crisis in 2008.

    So we can safely assume that Mann will skate on that one but in the PR (Public Relations) world, could prove handy. One thing needed would be the most recent fraud he may have perpetrated < 5 years ago.

  48. Joseph W. says:

    . The First Amendment is not relevant in the context of a defamation case.

    Yes, it is.

  49. Richard G says:

    “his ego is often so large”…
    How large is it?
    In my state he would require a lead car and a tail car with flashing lights and signs that warn: “OVERSIZED LOAD”.

  50. Nick Stokes says:

    john says: January 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    “Mr. Steyn is playing the cards as best he can, but, I would imagine he will be out moneyed and out lawyered substantially due to the nature of the case.”

    According to Adler at Volokh, he’s now representing himself. That should save money.

  51. Doug says:

    Bart

    “No. It means they have to prove they themselves were persuaded by the evidence without reckless disregard for the truth. That is the standard in the US.”

    I couldn’t find your standard by consulting my Black’s Law Dictionary. But, it occurred to me that that isn’t the appropriate standard anyway. That would hold true if the defendants were accused of fraud. They aren’t, they accused Mann of fraud. The issue here is defamation.

    “A communication is defamatory if it tends so to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him. The meaning of a communication is that which the recipient correctly, or mistakenly but reasonably, understands that it was intended to express.”

    Black’s Law Dictionary, fifth Ed.

    Of course, such statements must be false. There is little question that Steyn intended to harm Mann’s reputation. That’s pretty much a given. I suspect the defendants probably knew the allegation was false or acted in reckless disregard for the truth. That’s what evidence is for.

    Doug

  52. Grant A. Brown says:

    Bart & Joseph W.: Is there an authoritative case that states that a university professor is a “public official” or “public authority”?
    The Sullivan v. NYT case is clearly distinguishable from Mann v. Steyn in that Sullivan had official authority over the matters on which the NYT was alleging misconduct. Mann has no official powers that would attract the “public authority” label, that I can see.

  53. dbstealey says:

    Nick Stokes,

    Thank you for pointing to the Adler article. Too bad you didn’t provide a link, so we could weigh in.

  54. Alex says:

    Doug, your suspicions are irrelevant. Mann’s work has been suitably shown to be both shoddy and deceptive. That you refuse to see or acknowledge that is your problem. He is also, clearly and exuberantly a public figure engaged in clearly political activities and is hiding, legally, behind the persona of a disinterested, innocent researcher. He was/is a legit target of criticism for his work and the fact that you want the rest of us to bow to some “authority” and see Steyn et al. punished via the lawsuit says all we need to know about you.

    But please, continue to enlighten us on your obtuseness and blinkered perspective.
    cheers,
    Alex

  55. Bart says:

    Doug says:
    January 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    “I couldn’t find your standard by consulting my Black’s Law Dictionary.”

    Joseph W. @ January 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm referred you to the precedent in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.

    ” I suspect the defendants probably knew the allegation was false or acted in reckless disregard for the truth.”

    The defendants believed, and I expect believe, that the allegations are true. I would bet that a secret ballot would show most people here believe them true. Even the guys at uber-alarmist blog Skeptical Science apparently believe they are true.

    Grant A. Brown says:
    January 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    A Nobel Prize winner, even a phony one, is a public figure. Mann has been at the center of the controversy for over a decade now. If he is not a public figure, no one is.

  56. Pat Frank says:

    Doug, “They have a lot to worry about, Mann doesn’t.

    The contents of Mann’s own, “Back to 1400 CENSORED” file show he knew his hockey stick reconstruction failed the 1400 verification test. He obscured that result and published anyway. That seems pretty fraudulent to me.

  57. TrevH says:

    If Steyn ends up in court he needs to use his brains a lot and chose his words carefully. A smart alec is not what climate truth needs.

  58. john says:

    One of the most important aspects of this case may be to expose any RICO items. Then it’s game on. This is something I have been working on for a long time but waiting for them to make the first move.

  59. john says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    January 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Really bad move from a legal perspective. I would certainly hope that competent legal advisor(s) be consulted seriously.

  60. Steve from Rockwood says:

    I’m always amazed at how long legal issues take to be resolved. Sure the truth doesn’t have a deadline but I’ve also noticed that lawyers are incredibly patient in all things legal.

  61. Txomin says:

    Popcorn, please. And, thank you, Steyn.

  62. Canman says:

    Don’t miss Adman’s video post@12:15. It’s different from the “Hide the Decline” video that includes the same screen shot.

  63. L awfare
    I s
    B eneath
    E thical
    L awyers

    Who represents Mann?

  64. Bart says:

    Charlie Johnson (@SemperBanU) says:
    January 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    And, who is paying the legal fees?

  65. TomE says:

    I am a big fan of Mark Steyn having read his books and his columns faithfully. I find it unfortunate that he is no longer posting his column on National Review Online. I always looked forward to his Friday weekend column and when it stopped, the big absence in NRO was very obvious. I wasn’t sure whether it was over the little peeing contest between Steyn and his editor in late December or over Mann. If it is over Mann I now have another reason to detest Mann (the bogus Nobel prize winner and want-to-be climate scientist.)

  66. Tom Stone says:

    The U.S. Supreme Court stated in Curtis Publishing v. Butts that purposeful activity amounting to a thrusting of his personality into the “vortex” of an important public controversy, makes someone a public figure. Consequently Mann is a public figure. Libel of a public figure requires proof of actual malice, which is very very hard to prove.
    As far as insurance goes, libel is an intentional tort, and as a general rule, insurance does not cover intentional torts, so the Steyn’s insurance co. probably has nothing to do with this case.

  67. _Jim says:

    TrevH says January 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    If Steyn ends up in court he needs to use his brains a lot and chose his words carefully. A smart alec is not what climate truth needs.

    Back-handed crack; ever read anything prosaic from the 15th century? By some measures against ‘back then’ we are illiterate, innumerate, AND imbecilic …

    .

  68. Nick Stokes says:

    dbstealey says:January 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm
    “Thank you for pointing to the Adler article. Too bad you didn’t provide a link”

    Well, this is the link I would have given.

  69. Chad Wozniak says:

    So the Womann-Named-Sue is on the warpath again . . .
    For the legal minds here, can Mark Steyn sue his attorneys for abuse of process?

  70. SIG INT Ex says:

    Steyn tosses ball to Mann!

    Mann now visibly in shock as he waddles across the court, stumbles, looses the ball and then regains the ball and then issues a call to the Coach, “TIME OUT”. Coach accepts and motions to the Judges: “TIME OUT.”

    Mann staggers to the line and collapses.

    Coach runs over, grabs his seemingly lifeless body. The “TEAM” is in an UPROAR.

    Medics enter onto the floor. Some really quick actions there, “Vietnam Style,” these chaps know triage and what to do and where they are at!

    Fans in the bleachers getting restless! Need something! What!

    Coach sees! Knows! Walks onto the center of the court with a microphone tied to the house PA system.

    Ladys and Gentlemen. Thank you. We hereby forfeit the contest and relinquish all claim we may or may not have made!

    Crowd goes berserk! Chairs start to be thrown onto the court. Fights erupt in the bleaches. Even the referees are duking it out with fans.

    A really big “Olf” with an ax lays into Mann, splits he’s chest open, and proceeds to “halve him” from head to penis in front of everybody.

    Blood Flows.

    2014 on the East Coast of the USA is not so much different than -0014 in a small village in Palestine whose inhabitants were violated by the Crusaders seeking the Holy Grail, like Mann today.

    Ha ha LOL FU Jolly Good

  71. Janice Moore says:

    Looking, now, beyond the narrow issue of Mark Steyn’s making fighting for free speech (versus doing that along with promoting science truth) his sole goal…. .

    While I support our Noble Warrior for Truth, Mark Steyn, in his decision about the substance of his defense (i.e., focusing on freedom of speech, v. truth-in-science)

    AND

    I respect his choice to fire his attorney even though it does, indeed, appear to be a foolish move, for I have no IDEA what actually has been going on between him and Shannen Coffin, et. al., who are, incidentally, world class attorneys,

    EVEN SO,

    Steyn’s remarks about fighting the battle for free speech in the “sunlight,” are perplexing.

    There is only one way to win a lawsuit in a country such as the United States: follow the Rules of Procedure. A crooked judge may prevent you from winning, even if you do, but, there is NO winning if you ignore them.

    One may find it refreshingly free or great publicity (hm…. that just may the crux of this entire latest move ….) or great fun to stand on a virtual corner and take one’s case to the virtual streets, but it will not affect in one iota what happens in the courtroom. There is no appeal to the public. This isn’t about repealing a bad law. The substantive law of defamation is not at issue. The issue is simply that the defendants have not violated it. This is simply a civil case which, SHOULD BE resolved, in the end, for the defendants (for the law is overwhelmingly on the side of the defendants, here), must simply run its course through the necessary motions and hearings. That is the ONLY path to victory in a lawsuit; following the law both substantive AND procedural (and the possibility of an “Agreed Order,” or settlement, is, of course, a part of that process). Patience is, as was observed above, essential to being a successful litigator.

    It would be helpful if Steyn would be more candid about the specific procedural disagreements he had. Going only from the motions filed, it appears that his former attorneys were doing everything properly. They were dealing with a blatantly incompetent judge. Whether, now, they are dealing with an honestly mistaken one or a grossly incompetent one or a crooked one, remains to be seen.

    So, bottom line: I am ignorant of too many of the facts upon which Steyn is relying to intelligently evaluate his decision to fire his attorneys; given the little we have been told, however, until he explains himself more completely, it appears that it was a foolish move (and I hope this is NOT the case) based on ignorance of how the U. S. justice system and the Fed. Rules of Civ. Procedure work …..

    along with an admirably courageous but naïve belief that one can win a lawsuit by arguing one’s case on the street corner. Certainly, if that were a viable option, no one could do it better than Steyn, but that avenue is simply a dead end.

    Looking forward to hearing more details from Steyn on all this. And wishing him all the success in the world.

  72. Grant A. Brown says:

    The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law… abridging freedom of speech, or of the press…” Defamation, in the British tradition that I am familiar with in Canada, is a common-law action that depends on no laws enacted by parliament. So at first blush, as long as it is a case of citizen vs. citizen, I still don’t see how the First Amendment is in any way relevant.
    Now, if a government authority or official is the Plaintiff in a defamation suit, as in Sullivan v. NYT, perhaps the First Amendment could be stretched to offer the Defendant some extra protection from the government official. The phrase “Congress shall make no law” would have to be extended to mean “No government authority shall take any action…” That’s quite a stretch, but perhaps defendable.
    But even that does not go far enough to make Mann v. Steyn into a First Amendment case, unless somehow the definition of “government authority or official” could in turn be stretched to include any government employee. Mann has no actual “authority” over anything, and does not act on behalf of the government, qua professor or researcher. For the purposes of the defamation suit, Mann is just a citizen, as far as I can see.
    Nor do I see how the First Amendment can be extended to protect Defendants from defamation against “public figures”, where that is a function of mere notoriety. Justin Bieber is a “public figure” in the sense that he is in the public eye; how does that open him up to criticism that would not be tolerable to any other citizen?
    I cannot claim to be an expert on American free-speech law, and perhaps the above reasoning is completely contrary to settled legal doctrine. (Could it be that the “public figure” doctrine has developed from American common law, quite separate from any First Amendment considerations?) If so, it is very bizarre legal doctrine, IMO.

  73. dbstealey says:

    Janice Moore,

    Good comment. I agree.

  74. Janice Moore says:

    Dear Mr. Grant Brown,

    Just a few quick thoughts for you to consider:

    The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is highly relevant in this case. Freedom of speech is protected, here in the U.S., to a greater extent than anywhere else in the world.

    You could start your research here (if you are so inclined):
    findlaw.com, Annotation 18: http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1/annotation18.html

    Re: a “public figure,” such as Mann is (this is not only clear on the facts of the case, but was admitted by Plaintiff Mann, so it is not an issue in controversy), the freedom of speech to say what you like about him is very broad. “Malice” must be proven (by Mann — NOT DIS-proven by Steyn). It doesn’t matter that it is not “tolerable.” Freedom of speech trumps all. And always, truth is an absolute defense (and if the statement is not susceptible of being proven true or false, then there is no defamation).

    British law stemming from the Star Chamber’s tort of “Outrage” favors what you (are you British? it’s congenital, I think — they tend to value not upsetting people more than they value freedom of speech) talk about re: Justin Bieber (to prevent duels, I guess). Americans say, “Just ignore them, Justin — if it matters to you, issue a press release refuting them.” The British say: “Justin has a right to fight over that, therefore, we are not going to let you say that.”

    I find that while many non-Americans understand and agree with our First Amendment jurisprudence, even more just don’t know enough about it to understand it. From what you’ve written above, you appear to be condemning what you do not understand at all.

    I hope that you will read up on the First Amendment and the Natural Law jurisprudence of freedom of speech. John Milton, Edmund Burke, James Madison, and many, many, MANY, others have written on it in great detail. It is the FOUNDATION OF A FREE SOCIETY. It is your birthright, Mr. Brown! Just because you were born — isn’t that wonderful?

    Learn what riches are yours to enjoy! (er, in America, that is) Why, you could even publish a comment on WUWT that says, “Obama is a jerk!” Don’t like that one? Okay. “Mann is a stinking l1ar!” How about that?

    While some people like to wave it around (usually quite angrily and hatefully, heh) as a kind of penalty flag, “hate speech” is not a significant legal exception to First Amendment Freedom of Expression — and, so long as America is, it never will be.

    Your truth-in-science ally,

    Janice

  75. Janice Moore says:

    D. B.!! Thank you!
    That made my day! (I highly value your opinion — can you tell?)
    #(:))

  76. Tom Stone says:
    January 23, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    The U.S. Supreme Court stated in Curtis Publishing v. Butts that purposeful activity amounting to a thrusting of his personality into the “vortex” of an important public controversy, makes someone a public figure. Consequently Mann is a public figure. Libel of a public figure requires proof of actual malice, which is very very hard to prove.

    Hmm . . . perhaps THAT’S why Mann has recently been pushing the idea that he was dragged into the public arena by outside forces!

  77. @Steve from Rockwood at 4:09 pm
    I’m always amazed at how long legal issues take to be resolved. Sure the truth doesn’t have a deadline but I’ve also noticed that lawyers are incredibly patient in all things legal.

    When both sides bill by the hour….

  78. papertiger says:

    I can’t get past the original supposed slight this case is based upon.
    Michael Mann does better belong in the State Pen than at Penn State, despite the former’s penchant for covering up pedophilia under past regimes.

    It’s materially relevant that the former School President who covered up for a baby raper also covered up for Mann during the climategate whitewash.

    We should put M. Mann on trial here, (meaning out in the bracing air and sunshine of public scrutininy, rather than WUWT).

    Let’s start with indictment.

    What has he done that in a sane state before a jury of his peers he could be put behind bars for?

  79. Joseph W. says:

    Grant — It is relevant, and it is something British and Canadian citizens find alien, because defamation suits are a lot more restricted in this country (at least when a public figure is the plaintiff). So, First Amendment analysis happens in cases like Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. — the suit was between the John Birch Society and a lawyer, neither of whom was a public official — the state couldn’t allow juries, even in common law defamation actions, to award punitive damages on less than actual malice, because otherwise defamation cases could be used to suppress unpopular opinions. (Technically this was the Fourteenth Amendment rather than the First; the Supreme Court has held that the prohibition against depriving citizens of life, liberty, or property “without due process of law” incorporates large sections of the Bill of Rights, so that the states can’t establish state religions, suppress freedom of the press, etc. But the analysis is still the same; and in practice the Supreme Court holds the District of Columbia to the same standards as the states by using the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment.)

    The important distinction has to do with “public figures,” not public officials – see this for a good quick explanation. D.C. defamation law lines up with this, requiring public figures — whether or not they are public officials — to prove actual malice. But if the D.C. trial and appellate courts don’t enforce this standard against Mann – it would certainly be the business of the Supreme Court to correct them on a First Amendment basis…and if they fail to do so, then we really have lost part of our freedom of speech.

    This is especially important here because, as I have sometimes argued before, Mann’s main argument for “actual malice” is that a public university (Penn State) and several governmental bodies (including the U.S. Department of Commerce) “investigated” and “cleared” him of any wrongdoing. (Implication: Steyn and Simberg just have to believe the government when it clears Mann.) Thus, in his theory, whereas most public figures get their cases dismissed because they have no evidence of actual malice, the Government can anoint its favorite sons with the Oil of Exculpation, so that they can soak their critics for millions…especially if they can bring suits in places where their views are popular and their critics are not.

  80. Joseph W. says:

    (I see my response is in moderation, probably because it has four links and must be distinguished from spam.)

    [Posted now. ~ mod.]

  81. Joseph W. says:

    P.S. – I should add that in the Gertz case, Gertz was held not to be a public figure, so that he could recover “actual” though not punitive damages without actual malice — Mann, as we have discussed here before, is at least a “limited purpose public figure.” My point was that First Amendment analysis does apply in defamation cases, as it also did in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (that case didn’t turn on actual malice, but on whether the statements were constitutionally protected as parody).

  82. Joseph W. says:

    err, I mean, “defamation cases between non-public officials, who may nonetheless be public figures.”

  83. MikeB says:

    If anyone is under the illusion that the judge is going to decide the merits of this case on the basis of some scientific argument ( and maybe rule that the Greenhouse Effect doesn’t exist ) then think again. He is not capable of doing that and he won’t do that. In so far as any science is discussed at all, it will be done via ’expert witnesses’. On Michael Mann’s side his work has been peer-reviewed. It has been widely accepted by the scientific establishment and endorsed by an international body (the IPCC) which, we are told, has the support of 1000s of scientists, the UN and governments around the world. A wealth of internationally respected scientific opinion. What can Mark Steyn produce that has a similar standing, because that is all that counts.
    Mann’s work was described as fraudulent. That is serious allegation. It doesn’t just mean the work is flawed or mistaken but that its INTENT was to deceive. The chance of the defendant proving that intent with no evidence whatsoever is, quite frankly, zero.
    The only credible defence, as far as I can see, would be to argue that the use of the word ‘fraudulent’ was flippant, not to be taken seriously in the context it was used. Sorry – but reality beckons.

  84. Nick Stokes says:

    Joseph W. says: January 24, 2014 at 12:14 am
    “The important distinction has to do with “public figures,” not public officials”

    The judge, Weisberg, in his ruling against dismissal, said:
    Viewing the alleged facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff, as the court must on a motion to dismiss, a reasonable jury is likely to find the statement that Dr. Mann “molested and tortured data” was false, was published with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, and is actionable as a matter of law irrespective of special harm.”

    That seems to say that he is a public figure (“reckless disregard”) but that Mann has made a prima facie case of “actual malice”.

  85. Bill Sprague says:

    I hope that Mark Stein will enlist Steve McIntyre to testify in his behalf, and call Biffra as a witness. Perhaps Biffra can explain to the court why it is that so few trees were used as temperature proxies, and why the evidence from trees as substitutes for thermometers was truncated when tree data diverged from other methodologies. I can only suppose that Mann will argue that when you have seen one tree, you have seen Yamal.

  86. JK says:

    Steyn needs a lawyer and funding for his defense. Remember, “truth” is a defense in defamation cases. All of Mann’s research, data, and communications regarding said are now subject to discovery.

  87. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    Scientific fraud is a scourge to our freedom. Climate fraud has to be stopped. It’s time for us to put up or shut up. If you agree with this, you need to help.

    Anthony, please set up (or point us to) a tip jar where we can donate to help Mark Steyn in his efforts to fight this and expose Michael Mann for what he is.

  88. Grant A. Brown says:

    Thanks, Janice and Joseph W. My DPhil thesis was a defense of libertarianism, so I’m quite aware of the value of liberty in general, and of freedom of speech in particular. I have been a fan of Milton and Mill since high school.
    My issue is not with the principles of free speech per se, but with the legal reasoning that starts with the first amendment and ends with the doctrine that mere “public figures” should have a harder time proving that they were defamed. In my opinion, a plain reading of the actual text of the first amendment cannot support the doctrines that have developed around free speech in America, as welcome as those doctrines may be. (Compare: in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court found abortion to be a constitutionally protected right. I’m not persuaded that a plain reading of the constitution logically entails a right to abortion; but that doesn’t mean I’m anti-abortion. It just means that I believe abortion rights should derive from some other source. I prefer legislation to illogical, results-driven legal fictions disguised as judgments.)
    The legal establishment might indeed see themselves as developing constitutional principles of free speech in the series of cases referred to, and it might be comforting for free-speech advocates to go along with that characterization. But I think it is a mischaracterization; I would characterize the free speech doctrines surrounding “public figures” as developments of the common law unique to America, without any genuine constitutional pedigree.
    In addition to being a libertarian, I am also a type of egalitarian. Indeed, because I’m a libertarian, I think that everyone is entitled to the benefit of equal rights. I see no principled reason to give special protections to those who would criticize “public figures.” Equivalently, I see no reason not to give the same protections to those who would criticize non-public figures. The legally constructed status of being “public” has no bearing on the value of one’s reputation, or the harm that can come from slandering it. Slander is a REAL harm to the property interest we all have in our good names, no matter who is the victim.
    The better case for Steyn to make is that he did not defame Mann. I think the judge was right to force Steyn to make that case, and I hope Mann is hit very hard with costs when the case is made out after suitable discovery.

  89. Like Tom G. I have also been an expert witness in technical suits. Based upon this experience, if I am ever accused of a crime I will plea bargain whether I am guilty or not. Let me assure you that the jury will be incapable of understanding any of the technical jargon no matter how simply it is presented. Secondly, the judge will more than likely be a leftist and not be impartial. I have observed more than once that a judge willfully directed the decision by not allowing testimony or allowing non-expert testimony to control the verdict. This is particularly the case with disputes with government, which I think Mann will qualify.

    One must also be aware of the golden rule of the US justice system. He who has the most gold will win. Since Mann’s backers will provide an infinite amount of funding to defend his fraudulent science then Mark better have deep pockets or get the legal defense fund started quickly.

  90. profitup10 says:

    Chicago style use government to punish your political enemies . . it happened in 1930 to 1944 in some nations including the FDR America.
    http://articlevprojecttorestoreliberty.com/history-of-political-parties.html

  91. Dave F says:

    I agree strongly with Steyn’s willingness to fight on, but understand completely the wisdom of trying for dismissal. Mr. Mann was successful at winning a suite based on the fact that he had a right of privacy over his emails at work, emails that he wrote and received after agreeing that he had no right of privacy. It is, after all, the king’s justice.

  92. Bart says:

    Janice Moore says:
    January 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Second DB. Good comments.

    MikeB says:
    January 24, 2014 at 2:38 am

    “The chance of the defendant proving that intent with no evidence whatsoever is, quite frankly, zero.”

    It does not matter if “everyone” believes Mann. In fact, that makes his case weaker, because then there can be no actual damage. Steyn is then just some lonely voice crying in the wilderness, and there is no reason to bring the full might and majesty of the law down upon him.

    Far more actionable, IMO, is Mann’s criticism of Judith Curry. These are both people with standing in the community, for whom the words of the one can inflict actual harm to the other’s livelihood.

    The only thing that really matters is if Steyn believes his words to have been true. Try proving that he doesn’t.

  93. David Jones says:

    pokerguy says:
    January 23, 2014 at 1:01 pm
    “I really dislike this kind of scared rabbit approach to life. I admire Mr. Steyn and I completely understand who he’s not eager to expose himself to further jeopardy, and yet someone, some time has to stand up to these people. Yes, there’s always a danger of losing, but that’s not a good reason not to fight, if the fight is worthy enough. In my humble judgment it is.”

    But then it is not you, your wife, your kids and their future being exposed. It’s an easy call when you are not involved. (Involved as in pig, not chicken!)

  94. CJ_Zen says:

    William Jackson says:
    January 24, 2014 at 8:02 am
    Like Tom G. I have also been an expert witness in technical suits. Based upon this experience, if I am ever accused of a crime I will plea bargain whether I am guilty or not. Let me assure you that the jury will be incapable of understanding any of the technical jargon no matter how simply it is presented. Secondly, the judge will more than likely be a leftist and not be impartial.

    That is not always the case. I speak from personal experience. It is possible to fight and win when you are accused and not guilty. It takes time and an attorney who actually takes your case to heart. I feel that it is the duty of citizens, whether in civil or criminal court, to fight the system when injustice occurs. Any other response is shirking your responsibility as a citizen. I respect Mark Steyn for standing on the front lines for everyone else.

  95. Paul Westhaver says:

    In Canada, information that comes out in discovery is made a matter of court record but is only introduced, and made public, if the case get in front of a judge.

    Is this the case in the USA? Are the rules a function of state jurisdiction?

  96. Rachelle says:

    Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit worries that Mark Steyn is representing himself in this action.

    I had no idea he was doing that. Mark is plenty smart, but he is not a lawyer and as Prof. Reynolds points out, even a lawyer knows to hire another lawyer in a case like this.

    Mark can’t read books and catch up with experienced lawyers who have apprenticed in the courts. He probably has a good case and honest cause, but he is entering the lists without shield, armor or lance.

  97. philjourdan says:

    @Roger Knights – of course it is! But that does not change the fact that he is indeed a public figure. The courts do not differentiate.

  98. MJW says:

    Nick Stokes : That seems to say that he is a public figure (“reckless disregard”) but that Mann has made a prima facie case of “actual malice”.

    Mann made no case that there was actual malice. Actual malice means the person made the defamatory statement knowing that it was false or knowing it was likely false. There’s no evidence that Steyn didn’t believe what he said. Mann argues that because several investigations found Mann hadn’t committed fraud, Steyn couldn’t reasonably believe he had. The legal requirement, though, is based on what Steyn believed when he made the statement, not on what Mann or the judge think he should have believed.

    Also, contrary to what Doug said, the legal standard for evidence proving defamation of a public figure is “clear and convincing” not “preponderance.”

  99. JP says:

    I still think this is a game of chicken. Mann’s lawyers have to know that it would be a disaster if he is deposed. It would be an even bigger disaster if he has to take the stand. The public record of his remarks, not to mention emails going back a decade, as well as climate-gate are all fair game. There is no taking the 5th.

    Steyn is a political satirist, and what he wrote doesn’t even come close to libel. Mann, on the other hand, has painted himself as a disinterested scientist whose only vocation is finding the “Truth”. Reality is much different. And this trial will not only put Mann on trial, but his entire career as the inventor and defender of the Hockey Stick.

    It all comes down to money. Mann’s lawyers are bluffing. Their hope is for a settlement. NRO might just do that. But not Steyn. It is too bad the federal judge didn’t dismiss this case on SLAP grounds.

  100. JP says:

    @William Jackson
    “I am guilty or not. Let me assure you that the jury will be incapable of understanding any of the technical jargon no matter how simply it is presented.”

    Whoever Steyn gets to represent him will not try to put Mann’s PCAs or eigenvectors on the stand. Mann has painted himself into an impossible corner. No need to re-fight the statistical math of the use of Principal Components. Mann for the last half decade or more has been a rapid Partisan for the Team. His public utterances as well as the online content he put forth paint a picture of a man consumed by politics and his own reputation. The Climate-gate emails themselves are very damning. And his own penchant for spewing forth curses and charges of being a “denier” can fill a book. Therefore, it will be the job of Steyn’s defense team to paint a portrait of Mann using Mann’s own words. The result will not be pretty.

  101. Nick Stokes says:

    MJW says: January 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm
    “Mann made no case that there was actual malice.”

    Yes he did, and the judge said so in his ruling on dismissal. He said that a reasonable jury, taking a favorable view of the facts alleged by Mann, is likely find in his favor. Now there is plenty of scope for arguing about the facts, but the judge is saying that a prima facie case has been made. He listed the elements.

  102. MJW says:

    Nick Stokes: Yes he did, and the judge said so in his ruling on dismissal. He said that a reasonable jury, taking a favorable view of the facts alleged by Mann, is likely find in his favor. Now there is plenty of scope for arguing about the facts, but the judge is saying that a prima facie case has been made. He listed the elements.

    That’s what he said. Judges say a lot of things that are just plain wrong. That’s why there are appellate courts.

  103. dbstealey says:

    JP says:

    “It is too bad the federal judge didn’t dismiss this case on SLAP grounds.”

    I believe that SLAPP suits are state jurisdiction, not federal. But otherwise I agree with your analysis. This is a game of bluff.

  104. Nick Stokes says:

    dbstealey says: January 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm
    “I believe that SLAPP suits are state jurisdiction, not federal.”

    This isn’t a federal casae – it’s DC. And it was a SLAPP motion that the judge dismissed – he said:
    “ORDERED that the Special Motion of defendants Mark Steyn and National Review, Inc. to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint Under D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act and their Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint Under D.C. Super. Ct. Civ. R. 12(b)(6) be, and they hereby are, denied;”

  105. Douglas2 says:

    Nick Stokes said: “the judge said so in his ruling on dismissal. He said that a reasonable jury, taking a favorable view of the facts alleged by Mann, is likely find in his favor.”

    Out of context it might seem like the judge said that, but in considering a motion to dismiss the judge looks at whether there is a case assuming that everything the plaintiff claims is true. If there is no case because he establishes that the law for whatever reason does not allow it, then the case is dismissed. If there is no legal impediment to the case, then it moves on the the next stage where they don’t “View the allegations of the amended complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff”, but test each one to see if it was true. There is nothing in this ruling that establishes the merit of any of the allegations.

  106. Nick Stokes says:

    Douglas2 says: January 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm
    “There is nothing in this ruling that establishes the merit of any of the allegations.”

    Yes there is. The judge said:
    “Therefore, the court must grant the motions unless plaintiff is “likely to succeed on the merits.””
    He denied the motions.

    It’s a prima facie finding. It doesn’t establish that the facts alleged are true. But it does say that if true they would make a case for actionable defamation of a public figure.

  107. milodonharlani says:

    Sorry if this was noted already, but Steyn & NR´s law firm supposedly dropped their clients after Steyn insulted the judge:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/43008_Law_Firm_Drops_Mark_Steyn_and_National_Review_in_Climate_Change_Denial_Suit

    I may have to make another contribution & put up with more dunning emails from Nat Rev.

  108. accordionsrule says:

    This could be a very bad precedent. When you see water leaking out of a dike, you should be allowed to malign the engineer’s skill and reputation.
    When you catch the engineer with his finger in the hole in the dike, you should be allowed to malign his integrity.
    If you have to wait for verification, people drown.

  109. JP says:

    @milodorharini
    I would not put much credence in either Mother Earth News or Little Green Footballs. Charles Johnson flew the coop long ago. And what Mother. Earth News insinuates is exactly what Steyn is trying to defend.

  110. David A says:

    Bill Sprague says:
    January 24, 2014 at 3:40 am
    I hope that Mark Stein will enlist Steve McIntyre to testify in his behalf,
    =====================================================
    Yes indeed. Steve M is superb in his logical and cogent comments on why Mann was whitewashed by his University. He knows exactly what should be found in discovery, and I think Steve M could well frame the questions that a competent attorney could demand answers for in court. There are also very demeaning comments about Mann’s work made by his co-authors in the climate gate e-mails. There is plenty of logic to support a statement that Mark S reasonably thinks Mann’s work was fraudulent. He does not have to prove it fraudulent, just that he was not malicious in his statement about a public figure.

    Now, will the judge follow this logic and the laws behind it? There is no such a thing as a clear law.

  111. George Washington says:

    If Steyn has no case to answer why would he even bother hiring a legal team?

    Surely a man with Steyn’s enormous … intellect …. would have no trouble hitting Mann’s legal ball’s over the boundary for six.

  112. melaleuca123 says:

    Surely a man with Steyn’s enormous … intellect … doesn’t need a lawyer. As the magesterial Steyn is as right on this as he is on everything else, he’ll run rings around Mann’s legal team and have the jury on a string.

    Relax. You know it makes sense.

  113. Rick Spung says:

    all of the commenters here forget that mann is suing four different defendants simultaneously. if any one of those defendants wins, they all win. it is not that important for stein to have legal representation, because the rest of them do, and they will be putting on a full defense. if they win, stein wins.

  114. Rick Spung says:

    one more comment- mann cannot win this case. the defendants don’t have to prove mann is a fraud. they only have to prove that they BELIEVE mann is a fraud. this is easy. all they have to do is introduce about two or three dozen sources of other experts criticizing mann’s work and then say they READ those sources and BELIEVED them. that’s all they have to do. if lowry, stein, etc. take the stand and say they formed an opinion that mann was a fraud because they were being bombarded with reading material from their own hand-picked reading sources (and then list about thirty different sources…) the jury has to find for them. end of story.

  115. accordionsrule says:

    ” if they win, stein wins.”
    I would think the first hurdle would be to prove the statements were false, but malicious intent would still have to be proved against each defendant individually.

    Mann should be declared a public figure. When there is a battle going on over government policy, scientists and academicians can’t take shots, duck behind the wall of private citizen, and scream bloody murder when someone shoots back. I can envision that would lead to abuse of the “expert” label to avoid an immediate salvo, because of fear of being sued over lack of adequate and thorough pre-investigation.

  116. profitup10 says:

    Who is funding Mann’s legal costs? Humm the E=GREEN 25 maybe?

  117. accordionsrule says:

    Remember the 7 Deadly Words for Television? Maybe we need a list of words you can’t use for science. Here are some candidates: Bogus. Manipulated. Tortured. Fake. Fraud. False. Phony.
    All doublplusungood. Must talk niceful, BB is watching.

  118. David L. Hagen says:

    Courtney Love Wins Twitter Defamation Trial

    Love also testified that she believed her message to be true when she sent it. That might have been the prevailing defense. The jury answered no to the question, “Did Rhonda Holmes prove by clear and convincing evidence that Courtney Love knew it was false or doubted the truth of it?”

  119. milodonharlani says:

    JP says:
    January 24, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I agree, but will a DC jury see it that way?

  120. Joseph W. says:

    Nick Stokes —

    The judge, Weisberg, in his ruling against dismissal, said:
    Viewing the alleged facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff, as the court must on a motion to dismiss, a reasonable jury is likely to find the statement that Dr. Mann “molested and tortured data” was false, was published with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, and is actionable as a matter of law irrespective of special harm.”

    That seems to say that he is a public figure (“reckless disregard”) but that Mann has made a prima facie case of “actual malice”.

    That’s correct, the judge did say that. But he didn’t provide any actual facts or reasoning to say WHY Mann has made out a prima facie case for “actual malice” — outside of broadly deferring to the prior opinion. That’s why he’s wrong, and that’s why I hope he’ll get reviewed and reversed on appeal.

    (Mann’s own reasoning, which is simply terrible, is that since several bodies, like Penn State and the U.S. Department of Commerce, “investigated” and “cleared” him, that anyone who knows about these investigations but disagrees with them must be malicious….that is, Steyn & Simberg just have to believe the government when it speaks on Mann’s behalf.)

  121. Bill from Nevada says:

    There should be a place here for readers to donate to Steyn’s cause.

  122. Joseph W. says:

    Steyn doesn’t have a legal defense fund yet — his website is steynonline.com, and when he gets one together, I’m sure there’ll be a link there.

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