Friday, March 17, 2017

Will the D.C. Court of Appeals rehear the Michael Mann defamation case? - The Washington Post


David in Cal said...

A commenter at WaPo nailed it IMHO: Mann & Co do not want a trial where he and his witnesses will be subject to long past due cross examination. Steyn wanted a trial since 2014. It is increasingly obvious Mann filed a SLAAP suit meant to intimidate climate heretics.

Unfortunately, the SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) suit succeeded. The defendants have been forced to pay millions of dollars of legal fees on a trumped up claim of libel. Mann will drop the suit before it goes to trial.

This case is more about freedom of speech than climate change. That's why Friends of the Court against Mann include the ACLU and many leading media organizations.

David Appell said...

David, how is is you know the inside strategy of Mann and his lawyer?

Where is the evidence this has costs the defendants "millions of dollars of legal fees?"

David in Cal said...

David I deduce Mann's strategy, because a trial would embarass him. The book "A Disgrace to the Profession" includes statements from numerous climate scientists blasting Mann. Having all these eminent scientists testify publicly to their statements would be dreadful publicity for Mann.

Also, I believe Mann's case extremely weak. To say that Jerry Sandusky's molestations were analagous to Mann torturing data isn't very nice, but that kind of insult against public figures is pretty normal. In fact, I seem to recall examples of Mann making comparably nasty statements.

Also, there are scientists who will testify that Mann did torture the data. Even if they're wrong, Steyn can show that there was a reasonable basis for believing that Mann tortured data. That reasonable belief wipes out the libel.

This link mentions an amount of legal fees in the millions:
For the “world leading climate scientist” the upside is that by giving ground to Ball Mann dodges the deadly bullet – for now. He has bought himself time till 2019 and his lawyers can continue to deny jurors (and Joe Public) access to his disputed data in this protracted legal battle that has already eaten up six years and millions in legal fees.

David Appell said...

David, so you're just speculating.

Mann's hockey stick has been confirmed by many groups by now, and in fact it's required by elementary physics:

(I confirmed this reasoning with Mann.) It would be far more surprising if the hockey stick WASN'T found in the data.

So I don't believe the scientists you didn't cite.


And don't insult us by quoting principa-scientific. They are the worst of climate deniers, who don't even accept the existence of a greenhouse effect. They are idiots only intent on destruction by any means.

And they didn't cite any evidence for their claim of "millions" either. It means nothing.

David Appell said...

Hockey sticks in the scientific literature. Over 40:

Toby said...

"Also, there are scientists who will testify that Mann did torture the data."

Yes, like Dr Curry, and there is plenty of evidence of her personal animosity to Mann on her website. There are very few others who do not take contributions from the fossil fuel industry. In any competition of eminence among witnesses, Mann will win hands down.

And, as David points out, they will will have to explain how Mann's paper "tortured" the data, but 39 other papers did not. And the court will have to balance the North report against the dubious science of the Wegman report.

This case is about "reckless disregard for the truth". Did the Daily Mail (a notorious climate change denying website, with David Rose as its most famous writer) show such reckless disregard by claiming Melania Trump once worked as a high-class escort? Her husband and his legal team seem to think so. Is that kind of insult against public figures "pretty normal"?

David in Cal said...

Potential witnesses against Mann could include the 100 or so scientists quoted in the book, "A Disgrace to the Profession". Some of those who might testify against Mann are Nobel Prize winners.

However, Toby, the Court doesn't have to balance the competing scientific claims. That's good, because a Court isn't qualified to do so. All Steyn needs to show that he had a reasonable basis for impugning Mann's research. Even if the 100 scientists who critize Mann's work are wrong, it's not libel for Steyn to write an article based on what they said.

P.S. the analogy to Melania fails, because the Daily Mail had no evidence to support their allegation. If 100 eminent people had told the Daily Mailthat they knew that Melania once worked as an escort then the Daily Mail would be safe from a charge of libel, even if these 100 people were wrong.