Mann’s SLAPP Slipped

The DC Court of Appeals has just thrown out the lawsuit, filed by the hockey stick trickster Michael Mann against the National Review Online. Mann’s lawsuits against Mark Steyn and CEI/Rand Simberg are still pending.

These lawsuits are frequently attributed to Mann’s excessive sensitivity.  I disagree.  These lawsuits were filed in October 2012, following Climate Accountability, Public Opinion, and Legal Strategies Workshop, held in June 2012.  Filing Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) was one of the strategies, formulated at that gathering: “Lawyers at the workshop noted that libel lawsuits can be an effective response to the fossil fuel industry’s attempts to discredit or silence atmospheric scientists. Pennsylvania State University’s Michael Mann, for instance, has worked with a lawyer to threaten libel lawsuits for some of the things written about him in the media, and has already won one such case in Canada [against Dr. Timothy Ball – LG]. … Roberta Walburn noted that libel suits can also serve to obtain documents that might shed light on industry tactics,” according to the Summary of the Workshop, written by one of its participants.

UCS (should mean the Union of Con Scientists) and the Climate Accountability Institute, having Mann as an adviser, claimed the responsibility for the “workshop”,  and a number of wealthy foundations sponsored it.  Mann filed his lawsuits only after some deep pockets approved SLAPP as one among “multiple, complementary strategies” and agreed to fund them.

This strategy was probably discarded when press associations and other left-leaning organizations (including ACLU) condemned these lawsuits.  The strategy relying on “sympathetic attorneys general” went forward.