My friend Peter Irons has informed me that Stuart Pivar has withdrawn his libel suit against PZ Myers, which finally frees me up to say what I have been dying to say since the first moment this complaint was filed. Stuart Pivar is not only a crackpot, he’s a fraud and a bully. There are few things I despise more than someone who uses the legal system as a weapon against those who criticize them. I speak out against this behavior in every single instance, whether it’s hate speech codes on college campuses or this kind of private civil action designed to silence criticism.
Mr. Pivar, the only person you damaged in the end is yourself. By acting like a crackpot, you only confirmed what PZ wrote about you. You tried to use the legal system as a weapon and you shot yourself in the foot. In the process you have only shown your own rank ignorance of libel law and your authoritarian desire to silence those who dare to give negative reviews to your blather. You are loathsome and this incident should hang like an albatross around your neck for the rest of you life.
And while I’m at it, a few words need to be said about the attorney who filed this suit, Michael Little. This suit wasn’t just frivolous, it was outrageously frivolous. There wasn’t a chance in hell that it was going to survive a motion to dismiss. Read the complaint. I’ve read thousands of complaints and this is one of the worst written and argued pieces of legal writing you will ever come across. Worse yet, Little admitted to Irons on the phone that he knew it was a losing suit.
Lawyers take a lot of grief in our society for being ambulance chasers who would file any suit someone will pay them, no matter how ridiculous it is. A great many of my friends are attorneys and none of them fit that profile; Mr. Little clearly does. Not only should Mr. Little be haunted by his behavior here, he frankly should be facing sanctions for filing it; it’s that frivolous. I’m not an attorney and I guarantee you that I could have represented myself in this case and gotten that complaint dismissed, which is exactly what I would have done had it been filed against me. Pivar and Little should be ashamed of themselves, but I doubt they are.
Oh, it should be noted that Little is now threatening to sue Peter Irons as well. He’s having a good laugh over it.
Update: I must amend this statement a bit for the sake of accuracy. After consulting with Peter Irons I see that I overstated what he told me about his conversation with Michael Little. I wrote above that Little “admitted to Irons on the phone that he knew it was a losing suit.” The actual wording that Irons passed on to me was that Little told him that when Pivar first approached him about the suit, “I was initially very skeptical.” He further quoted Little as saying, “I don’t know how far we’ll be able to take it [the suit].” That is not quite the same thing as my above paraphrase and I apologize to Little and Irons for the mistake.