Virginia Judge Tosses Frivolous American Tradition Institute Lawsuit

Mon, 2012-09-17 16:56Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Virginia Judge Tosses Frivolous American Tradition Institute Lawsuit

A Virginia judge issued an order today putting an end to the American Tradition Institute (ATI) frivilous lawsuit that sought to compel the University of Virginia (UVA) to release the private emails of climate scientist Michael Mann.

Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, posted the news on his Facebook page earlier today:

Breaking: A victory for science! ATI loses ATI/UVa FOIA case. Judge issues final order. Affirms the university’s right to withhold scholarly communications and finds that the documents & personal emails of mine demanded by ATI were indeed protected as the university had contended.

I am gratified for the hard work and vigorous defense provided by the university to protect scholarly communications and raw materials of scholarship. Fortunately Virginia has a strong exemption in the public records act that protects research and scholarly endeavors. The judge ruled that the exemption under Virginia’s public records protecting information in furtherance of research on scientific and scholarly issues applies to faculty communications in furtherance of their work.

This finding is a potentially important precedent, as ATI and other industry-backed front groups continue to press their attacks on climate scientists through the abuse of public records and FOIA laws and the issuing of frivolous and vexatious demands for internal scholarly deliberations and personal correspondences.


The ATI litigation effort was led by Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Christopher Horner, well-known to DeSmog readers for his anti-science activism.


For more information about the case, see here.

Here are some early reactions from around the web (not a peep from ATI yet):

Peter Sinclair - Deniers Lose. Freedom of Thought Wins. The Koch Brothers Have no Right to Read Your Mail.

Rick Piltz - Court rules for Univ. of Virginia and Michael Mann against denialist inquisition - scholarly e-mail and documents are protected communication

Joe Romm - Mann Power: Court Rules Deniers Have No Right To The Emails Of UVA Climate Scientists

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