My friend and colleague Michael Mann just released the following information:

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..

Dr. Mann is a climate scientist whose research has focused on global warming. In 2007, along with Vice President Al Gore and his colleagues of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for having “created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.”

Nevertheless, the defendants assert that global warming is a “hoax,” and have accused Dr. Mann of improperly manipulating the data to reach his conclusions.

In response to these types of accusations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation and seven other organizations have conducted investigations into Dr. Mann’s work, finding any and all allegations of academic fraud to be baseless. Every investigation—and every replication of Mann’s work—has concluded that his research and conclusions were properly conducted and fairly presented.

Despite their knowledge of the results of these many investigations, the defendants have nevertheless accused Dr. Mann of academic fraud and have maliciously attacked his personal reputation with the knowingly false comparison to a child molester. The conduct of the defendants is outrageous, and Dr. Mann will be seeking judgment for both compensatory and punitive damages.

Journalists interested in further information regarding the filing of this lawsuit may contact Dr. Mann’s attorney at 202-912-4848, or jbwilliams@cozen.com.

Comments

  1. #1 Phil
    October 23, 2012

    I hope he sues them back to the Stone Age where they belong

  2. #2 observer
    US
    October 23, 2012

    Litigation is painful and expensive.

    Moreover, the U.S. First Amendment has been interpreted to give authors and publishers substantial defenses against such litigation.

    Justice Brandeis wrote:
    If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. Only an emergency can justify repression. Such must be the rule if authority is to be reconciled with freedom.

    See http://infousa.state.gov/government/overview/speech.html

    Mann is taking the side of the censors, not the side of the First Amendment.

    Mann is trying to climb a long, slippery hill. Look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hustler_Magazine_v._Falwell to see how steep that hill is.

  3. #3 Dianna
    October 23, 2012

    Good! I hope he wins!

  4. #4 sailor
    October 23, 2012

    Yes he would be much better off if he were in the UK.

  5. [...] at Science Blogs, Greg Laden is reporting that Penn State climatologist Michael Mann is suing the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the National Review for refusing to apologize for comparing him in a blog post to child molester Jerry Sandusky. In the [...]

  6. #6 Lotharsson
    October 24, 2012

    Mann is taking the side of the censors, not the side of the First Amendment.

    By suing in a court that operates under the Constitution that clearly contains First Amendment?

    Yeah, right.

  7. #7 Art
    October 24, 2012

    More power to him. A really hope he can win big and collect the sort of retribution that would make the deniers steer clear of such reprehensible behavior.

    Unfortunately the radical right has a lot of money, has lawyers waiting in the wings, and has both judges government officials in its pocket. I get the feeling that this case is going to be both up hill and against the wind.

    I wish him well but in a plutocracy the only virtue is wealth and the only sin is a lack of wealth. Truth, honesty, facts and logic all bend to this simple rule.

  8. #8 observer
    October 25, 2012

    Re: Lotharsson

    I don’t follow the logic of your comment. Indeed, the First Amendment is part of the body of law that will be considered by the court in Mann’s litigation. But, that does not mean that he, or anybody else in the courtroom, has to believe that the First Amendment is good policy.

    Moreover, it seems that a goal of his litigation is to silence his critics and to deter future critics. The next comment after yours contained the text:

    “I really hope he can win big and collect the sort of retribution that would make the deniers steer clear of such reprehensible behavior.” (I was “A” in the original. I took the liberty of correcting what I believed to be a typo.)

    That statement certainly expresses the spirit of censorship—not the spirit of open discussion or of the First Amendment.

    observer

  9. #9 AKAHorace
    October 25, 2012

    I don’t think that Mann is right on this particular question. Steyn compared the judicial review that Mann got with the review that Sandusky got. His arguement will be that both reviews were superficial and did not fully investigate what actually happened.

    Even though Sandusky was having sex with children and was cleared, while global warming is actually happening and Mann was cleared, Steyn may have a point. I read that Mann’s review determined that he was a distinguished authority in his field and assumed that it was impossible for him to have done anything wrong on the strength of that alone. Mann was probably innocent of scientific misconduct but he should have been more thoroughly investigated.

  10. #10 Lotharsson
    October 25, 2012

    observer, my point was that you set up a false dichotomy. You continue it in your response to my comment. American jurisprudence has long recognised that Free Speech has limits – it is not an absolute principle that overrides all others for all time and under all circumstances.

    (And since you brought up that Brandeis quote, it’s looking increasingly out of touch with a world where the Supreme Court identifies money with speech, and where “a (well-funded) lie gets half way around the world before the truth can get its boots on.” Do you really assert that an individual of limited financial means who is subject to an ongoing set of well-funded and widely broadcast false and defamatory claims actually has available the remedy of paying sufficient $$$ to reach all of the audiences that took in the false messages? If so, can I have some of what you’re smoking?)

  11. #11 Lotharsson
    October 25, 2012

    I read that Mann’s review determined that he was a distinguished authority in his field and assumed that it was impossible for him to have done anything wrong on the strength of that alone.

    Of course, Mann’s suit is about people writing things about him that aren’t true. So do you know whether what you read was accurate or not? And how would you know if secondary sources are not necessarily accurate?

    Mann … should have been more thoroughly investigated.

    You mean, by ignoring the 9 recent separate reviews which all repudiated the recent claims of scientific misconduct in the field of climate science, including specific claims about Mann? (Never mind the decade or more of ongoing peer review of Mann’s work in the scientific literature that not only found no evidence of the kinds of misconduct that are alleged but found that even his early work on temperature reconstructions stood up well.)

    So you think a 10th review should be launched because some people are still saying Mann is (possibly) guilty of scientific misconduct? Why exactly would you trust the results of the 10th review but not the first 9, especially since it seems highly likely that many of the same people would continue to write after the 10th review that Mann hasn’t been sufficiently investigated and may still possibly be guilty of scientific misconduct…

  12. #12 mk
    October 26, 2012

    “I read that …”

    Oh, well then.

  13. #13 Eric Lund
    October 26, 2012

    It’s not a slam dunk because Mann is arguably a public figure (at least, defense counsel would be idiotic not to make this claim in court), but I think he has a case (IANAL, TINLA).

    The lawsuit is over the defendants’ “false and defamatory statements accusing him of academic fraud and comparing him to a convicted child molester, Jerry Sandusky.” Nine separate investigations have concluded that Mann did not commit academic fraud, and defendants do not indicate any evidence in their possession which was not considered by these investigations. That shows, at minimum, reckless disregard for the truth. The specific comparison to Sandusky, a child molester, demonstrates malice aforethought. Those are the two points that a public figure would have to demonstrate in order to prevail in a libel/defamation case. Mann’s lawyers have to show the judge that they can prove these two points under a preponderance of evidence standard (this is a civil case, not a criminal case) and then convince a jury. There is some luck involved (the case might draw a nutty judge or a nutty appeals panel), but this should be doable in a sane courtroom.

  14. #14 AKAHorace
    October 26, 2012

    Lotharsson,

    My understanding was that Mann was suing about the following statement by Mark Steyn:

    “If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won’t it cover up? Whether or not he’s “the Jerry Sandusky of climate change”, he remains the Michael Mann of climate change, in part because his “investigation” by a deeply corrupt administration was a joke. ”

    Steyn is saying that the investigation was a joke. Climate science is not on trial, the University of Pennsylvania is.

  15. #15 Brian
    October 26, 2012

    “…he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for having ‘created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.'”

    HE did not win the Nobel Peace Prize. His organization won it! BIG, BIG difference; this distinction comes from the Nobel Committee itself! How am I supposed to believe a man who falsely takes sole ownership of an award that was won by a TEAM of scientists.

  16. #16 Lotharsson
    October 26, 2012

    Steyn is saying that the investigation was a joke. … the University of Pennsylvania is [on trial].

    I suspect any competent prosecution attorney would find it easy to tear this claim to shreds – aided and abetted by Steyn’s implicit admission via the use of “in part” in the quote that you provided, never mind the other evidence already cited on this thread.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    October 27, 2012

    Brian, did Leymah Gbowee win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011? According to you, no, because Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakel Karman did as well.

    The team won the prize, and so did everyone listed as an awardee.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    October 27, 2012

    Observer, this is not about censorship, it is about libel.

    AKAHorace: “Even though Sandusky was having sex with children and was cleared….”

    That took me aback so I checked Teh Wiki. It says:

    “In 2011, following a two-year grand jury investigation, Sandusky was arrested and charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period.[5] He met his molestation victims through The Second Mile, who were children participating in the organization, and several of them testified against Sandusky in his sexual abuse trial. Four of the charges were subsequently dropped, leaving 48 counts remaining. On June 22, 2012, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of the 48 charges.[6][7] Sandusky was sentenced on October 9, 2012 to 30 to 60 years in prison”

  19. #19 AKAHorace
    October 27, 2012

    Laden,

    the point was the university of Pennsylvania cleared Sandusky. They also investigated Mann and cleared him. Sandusky was later found guilty. Steyn said that both U of Pennsylvania investigations were a sham.

  20. #20 polonius
    US
    October 28, 2012

    Contributions to a fund to defray legal costs can be made at:
    DELETED BY BLOG OWNER

    Folks, please don’t try to put a link to a fund run by climate deniers on my blog. But since there seems to be an interest in, well, funds and climate science, I can recommend the Climate Science Defense Fund: http://climatesciencedefensefund.org/ … GTL

  21. #21 observer
    November 3, 2012

    At the beginning of this post you note that Mr. Mann is a friend and colleague. Given that, you might want to be extra careful in checking your posts in order to assure that friendship does not trump accuracy.

    You wrote in reaction to the assertion that an investigation cleared Sandusky that he had been indited and convicted. But, the 1998 Penn State investigation cleared him.

    Similarly, you disputed Brian’s assertion that Mann did not win the Nobel prize. Well, I think most in science who follow these things are well aware that there is a rule that the award each year is made to up to 3 persons or entities. There are many people who arguably deserved it as much as the recipients in some years. I think George Dantzig might be one of the more famous examples of such bypassees.

    At any rate, Mann himself seems to have receded from claiming that he is a prize winner. See https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=441602745895933&set=a.221233134599563.54502.221222081267335&type=1.

    You asked rhetorically, “Brian, did Leymah Gbowee win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011? According to you, no, because Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakel Karman did as well.”

    The web site for the Peace Prize states:
    The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 is to be divided in three equal parts between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work

    It also states,
    The Nobel Peace Prize 2007 was awarded jointly to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr.

    The 2007 awardees were Gore and the IPCC. IPCC, not its staff, funders, members, or contributors was the awardee.

    Mann’s (incorrect) assertion that he received the award will not help his litigation—especially when he is also asserting that claims that he engaged in fraudulent behavior are false, were published with actual malice, and constitute libel.

    Observer

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2012

    Observer, your critique of what I’ve written is funny because I did not write a word of any of that.

    Pretty much everything you say is wrong. I know who you are and what you are up to. You are no longer welcome here. This blog is not your platform.

    Mann has provided a complete and thorough debunking of your accusations. You’re wrong, and you’re done.

  23. #23 Vikki Frederick
    November 3, 2012

    Observer, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 out of 48 charges of molestation brought against him. He is currently in Greene State Prison, a “supermax” in Pennsylvania, moved there about three days ago. He is sentenced to 30+ years.

    It has been known for some time that key members of the Climate Change Denial community are child abusers. Are you one of them? Is this why you need to insist that Jerry Sandusky is not in prison for child molestation?

    Do you realize that your lame reference to the 1998 investigation that is now obviously replaced with his multiple conviction as though it cleared him of his many crimes entirely deflates your credibility?

  24. #24 Doug K.
    Boston
    November 3, 2012

    Observer wrote:
    At the beginning of this post you note that Mr. Mann is a friend and colleague.

    At the top of the post the following text appears:
    My friend and colleague Michael Mann

    In his Nov 3 post, Laden asserts:
    Observer, your critique of what I’ve written is funny because I did not write a word of any of that.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2012

    Doug, anyone with five or more neurons to rub together knows to what I refers, understands what Observer’s mistake was, and sees your comment for what it is (idiotic).

    What people may not know is that you are Observer using a fake name (same IP address).

  26. [...] $58,200 to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is being sued by climate scientist Michael Mann for defamation [...]

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