The D.C. superior court granted National Review’s motion to dismiss climate scientist Michael Mann’s long-running defamation suit.
More than eight years ago, Mann launched the suit against NR, writing privately that he saw it as an opportunity to “ruin” this “filthy organization.”
The lawsuit stemmed from a blog post on The Corner by Mark Steyn back in 2012 criticizing Mann’s work. The climate scientist threatened a lawsuit unless NR removed the offending post and apologized, which it refused to do. Mann then sued NR, Steyn, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (Steyn quoted a CEI article in his post).
NR has maintained from the beginning that the post is not defamatory but is protected opinion, and that, besides, there’s no way NR could have had malice when the post wasn’t reviewed ahead of time and was posted by a nonemployee.
The court today accepted the latter argument, meaning the suit still stands against Steyn and CEI.
“It’s completely ridiculous that it took us more than eight years to get relief from the courts from this utterly meritless suit,” said NR editor in chief Rich Lowry. “And outrageous that Mann is still going to be allowed to harass Steyn and CEI.”
Mann may well appeal the ruling, while NR has the option of seeking attorney fees from Mann. It has already cost NR millions of dollars to defend against the litigation.
“Let’s just say if I were him, I’d be very worried about this possibility,” Lowry said.