Judge Denies National Review's Motion to Reconsider Ruling in Michael Mann's Defamation Case

Cross-posted with permission from Climate Science Watch.

“The Court finds that there is sufficient evidence in the record to demonstrate that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits,” said a DC Superior Court judge in her latest procedural ruling in the defamation case of Michael Mann v. National Review, et al. “The evidence before the Court indicates the likelihood that 'actual malice' is present in the [National Review's] conduct.” 

On August 30 the Court denied the Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's July 19 order, which had affirmed Prof. Mann's right to proceed in his defamation lawsuit. The text of the August 30 Court Order is here in PDF.

Some excerpts from the Court Order denying Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration:


… The Court finds that there is sufficient evidence in the record to demonstrate that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits. As the Court stated in its previous Order, the NR Defendants’ reference to Plaintiff “as the man behind the fraudulent climate change ‘hockey stick’ graph” was essentially an allegation of fraud by Plaintiff. …

The Court clearly recognizes that some members involved in the climate-change discussions and debates employ harsh words. The NR Defendants are reputed to use this manner of speech; however there is a line between rhetorical hyperbole and defamation. In this case, the evidence before the Court demonstrates that something more than mere rhetorical hyperbole is, at least at this stage present. Accusations of fraud, especially where such accusations are made frequently through the continuous usage of words such as “whitewashed,” “intellectually bogus,” “ringmaster of the tree-ring circus” and “cover-up” amount to more than rhetorical hyperbole. …

The evidence before the Court indicates the likelihood that “actual malice” is present in the NR Defendants’ conduct. …

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (“IIED”)

… The Court finds that Plaintiff’s claim for IIED is similar to that for defamation. There is sufficient evidence before the Court to indicate “actual malice.” The NR Defendants have frequently accused Plaintiff of academic fraud regardless of their awareness that Plaintiff has been investigated by several bodies and his work found to be proper. The NR Defendant’s persistence despite the findings of the investigative bodies could be likened to a witch hunt. In fact, Plaintiff had nothing to do with the Sandusky case yet the NR Defendants seized upon that criminal act by a pedophile and did more, this Court finds, than simply comment on another article.

The Court agrees with the arguments advanced by Plaintiff. To place Plaintiff’s name in the same sentence with Sandusky (a convicted pedophile) is clearly outrageous.

Stay tuned.


The outcome of this matter is of the greatest interest.

I'm sure I speak for many when I say I hope Dr. Mann is able to insist on the integrity of science, and force the defendants to admit they deliberately lied, not merely with malice but with knowledge they were technically wrong and trying to cover it up.