When we last visited Lott’s lawsuit against Levitt, Lott was asking the judge to reconsider the dismissal of his case against Freakonomics.
Then there was the troubling allegation that Lott actually invented
some of the survey data that supports his more-guns/less-crime theory.
Regardless of whether the data were faked, Lott’s admittedly
intriguing hypothesis doesn’t seem to be true. When other scholars
have tried to replicate his results, they found that right-to-carry
laws simply don’t bring down crime.
Lott’s amended complaint:
(12) The vignette and story relating to Plaintiff which is quoted
above includes, but is not limited to, the following statements and
innuendo about him which are untrue and are defamatory:
a. Plaintiff “invented some of the survey data that supports his more-guns/less-crime theory”
b. Plaintiff’s survey “data were faked.”
c. “When other scholars have tried to replicate [Plaintiff's] results, they found
that right-to-carry laws simply don’t bring down crime”
In his first version of the complaint, Lott did not mention the stuff about his mysterious survey. Perhaps because Levitt didn’t say that Lott fabricated the survey but rather that others have alleged this, which is true. And far from it being untrue that Lott faked his data, it almost certain that Lott did fabricate his survey.
(15) The statements and innuendo in Freakonomics that Plaintiff
“invented” data supporting his books and papers, that he “faked” such
data, and that his results could not be “replicated” (a) constitute an
attack on his integrity and honesty in his profession as economist,
scholar and researcher, and (b) impute to him a lack of ability that
prejudices him in his profession. Particularly (but not exclusively)
an Academic reading or hearing statements and innuendo that an
economist, scholar and researcher “invented” data supporting his books
and papers, that he “faked” data, and that his results could not be
“replicated” would immediately conclude, to the prejudice of the
economist, scholar and researcher, that he lacks integrity, honesty
and ability in his profession. Few, if any, other assertions would be
as damaging to the reputation of an economist, scholar and researcher.
I don’t know much about law, but surely truth is a defence here.
Lott then claims:
(17) Examples of Levitt’s hostility to Plaintiff abound. For example, and not by way of limitation: …
g. Levitt said publicly that an academic presentation Plaintiff was scheduled to
make would be filled with outrageous lies, and Levitt offered publicly to pay
colleagues if they would humiliate Plaintiff for Levitt.
You should probably take this claim with a large boulder of salt. Lott has made similar wild paranoid claims before. For example, he accused Phil Cook and Dan Nagin of conspiring to “deal with” him, and here he seems to think that the Federalist Society is in league with John Donohue.
Hat tip: Craig Newmark.
Update: David Glenn reports:
According to the motion, new facts have come to Mr. Lott’s attention since last year that significantly alter the character of his complaint. For one thing, he says, new information has come out about what he calls Mr. Levitt’s malice toward him. The motion alleges that Mr. Levitt has publicly referred to Mr. Lott as “the anti-Christ” and that Mr. Levitt “offered publicly to pay colleagues if they would humiliate” Mr. Lott. (Mr. Levitt did not immediately reply to a request for comment today.)
The motion also says that Mr. Lott has suffered reputational damage in his professional community because of Freakonomics. Mr. Lott “has encountered persons in job interviews and at academic seminars,” the motion reads, “who indicated that they had read the statements and innuendo, who indicated that they believed the statements and innuendo were true.” This reputational damage allows Mr. Lott to add a claim of “libel per quod” to his complaint.