UPDATE: Rick Piltz has much more at Climate Science Watch as well as having posted the ruling
UPDATED PREDICTION: Having narrowed the issue, it is Eli's considered opinion, that Judge Weisberg is going to push very hard for the parties to settle with an apology. The Judge will make it clear that he won't play with those who remain stubborn. While Steyn and Simberg are individual clowns NRO and CEI are corporate entities with much to lose. Discovery, if it ever takes place is not going to be a popcorn fest on either side because it will be tightly controlled to the one issue. Steve McIntyre can unpack. Remember tho EINAL
In a just released ruling, Rabett Run's special correspondent reports that Rand Simberg's hero has turned against him. Bunnies may remember that Simberg danced a jig when the appeals fairy denied jurisdiction.
This has been a case run on luck so far. We've had bad luck by having the previous judge, but her incompetence has also been ultimately to our favor, and against Mann's.Today's ruling by Judge Frederick Weisberg has undoubtedly sent the National Review/Competitive Enterprise Institute team out venue shopping. Weisberg denied their motions for summary dismissal under the DC Anti-SLAPP Suit Act, but most striking was his reason for doing so
That is why we are breaking out champagne.
. . . .plaintiff alleges that CEI published, and National Review republished, the following defamatory statement: “Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.” The allegedly defamatory aspect of this sentence is the statement that plaintiff “molested and tortured data,” not the rhetorically hyperbolic comparison to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.with a little footnotee on the end of that paragraph
Accusing plaintiff of working “in the service of politicized science” is arguably a protected statement of opinion, but accusing a scientist of “molest[ing] and tortur[ing] data” is an assertion of fact.and sets further forth in detail
The statement “he has molested and tortured data” could easily be interpreted to mean that the plaintiff distorted, manipulated, or misrepresented his data. Certainly the statement is capable of a defamatory meaning, which means the questions of whether it was false and made with “actual malice” are questions of fact for the jury. A reasonable reader, both within and outside the scientific community, would understand that a scientist who molests or tortures his data is acting far outside the bounds of any acceptable scientific method. In context, it would not be unreasonable for a reader to interpret the comment, and the republication in National Review, as an allegation that Dr. Mann had committed scientific fraud, which Penn State University then covered up, just as some had accused the University of covering up the Sandusky scandal. For many of the reasons discussed in Judge Combs Greene’s July 19 orders, to state as a fact that a scientist dishonestly molests or tortures data to serve a political agenda would have a strong likelihood of damaging his reputation within his profession, which is the very essence of defamation.Oh yes, there will be discovery. Things just got a whole lot more serious for the defendants.