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« Throwing the mud back | Main | APS shows the way »
Friday
Feb212014

Steyn's counterblast

Well it has all kicked off overnight, hasn't it? Mark Steyn has decided that attack is the best form of defence and has decided to countersue Michael Mann for $10 million.

FIRST COUNTERCLAIM

130. Plaintiff [Mann] has engaged in a pattern of abusive litigation designed to chill freedom of speech and to stifle legitimate criticism of Plaintiff’s work. He is currently suing Dr Tim Ball in British Columbia over a hoary bit of word play (“should be in the state pen, not Penn State”) applied to innumerable Pennsylvanians over the years. Having initiated the suit, Dr Mann then stalled the discovery process, so that the BC suit is now entering its third year – Mann’s object being to use the process as a punishment, rather than any eventual trial and conviction. See Mann vs Ball et al, British Columbia VLC-S-S-111913 (2011) (exhibit attached).

...

131.At the other end of the spectrum, Plaintiff and his Counsel have issued demands that have no basis in law, as they well know – including the preposterous assertion, in response to a parody video by “Minnesotans for Global Warming”, that “Professor Mann’s likeness” is protected from parody and satire...There is a smell to the hockey stick that, in Lady Macbeth's words, “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” - nor all the investigations. And so Dr  Mann has determined to sue it into respectability.

132. At the same time, Plaintiff continues to evade the one action that might definitively establish its respectability - by objecting, in the courts of Virginia, British Columbia and elsewhere, to the release of his research in this field. See Cuccinelli vs Rectors and Visitors of the University of Virginia...

133. As with his previous legal threats and actions, Plaintiff has brought this lawsuit for the purpose of wrongfully interfering with critics’ statutorily protected right of advocacy on an issue of great public interest and constitutionally protected free-speech rights.

134.Plaintiff’s lawsuit was designed to have and has had the effect of inhibiting legitimate debate on the issues and public policy surrounding the theories expounded by Plaintiff and others and of restricting the free flow of ideas concerning the merits of those theories...

135. It is already having the desired effect. This very week, on February 19th, enraged by a Pennsylvania weatherman’s Tweet, Plaintiff instructed his acolytes through his Facebook and Twitter pages to call the CBS affiliate and demand to know whether this was “acceptable behavior”. Several went further and made threats to “add him to the lawsuit”, and similar. In the event that Mann succeeds in delaying discovery as he has in British Columbia, there will be three years for him and his enforcers to bully weathermen, parodists, fellow scientists and many others by threatening to “add them to the lawsuit”.

136. More particularly, Plaintiff’s lawsuit, with the intent to silence Plaintiff’s critics, has targeted Defendant Steyn, who has written articles critical of Plaintiff and his theories.

137. Such improper chilling of free, robust and uninhibited public debate over climate change taints and skews the democratic process and distorts the resulting governmental public policy response to alleged global warming.

138. Plaintiff’s lawsuit has damaged Defendant Steyn by interfering with his right to express opinions on controversial matters and causing him to expend time, money and effort in having to respond to this lawsuit.

139.The claims in Plaintiff’s lawsuit arise from an act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on an issue of publicinterest and Plaintiff’s lawsuit therefore violates the Anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation Act (Anti-SLAPP Act) ...

140. As a result of Plaintiff’s campaign to silence those who disagree with him on a highly controversial issue of great public importance, wrongful action and violation of the Anti-SLAPP Act, Steyn has been damaged and is entitled to damages, including but not limited to his costs and the attorneys’ fees he has incurred and will incur in the future in defending this action, all in an amount to be determined at trial, but in any event, not less than $5 million, plus punitive damages in the amount of $5 million.

SECOND COUNTERCLAIM

...

142. Plaintiff’s wrongful interference with Defendant Steyn’s constitutionally protected rights of free speech and public expression and his engagement and use of the courts as an instrument of the government to carry out that wrongful interference violates the First Amendment and constitutes a constitutional tort for which Defendant Steyn is entitled to be compensated.

143. As a consequence of Plaintiff’s wrongful act, Defendant Steyn has been damaged and is entitled to damages, including but not limited to his costs and the attorneys’ fees he has incurred and will incur in the future in defending this action, all in an amount to be determined at trial, but in any event, not less than $5 million, plus punitive damages in the amount of $5 million.

WHEREFORE, Defendant Mark Steyn demands judgment as follows:

a. Dismissing Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint in its entirety;

b. On his First Counterclaim, awarding him compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial,  but in any event, not less than $5 million and punitive damages in the amount of $5 million, plus his costs and expenses including reasonable attorneys’ fees;

c. On his Second Counterclaim, awarding him compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial, but in any event, not less than $5 million and punitive damages in the amount of $5 million, plus his costs and expenses including reasonable attorneys’ fees; and

d. Granting such other and further relief as to the Court seems just.

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Reader Comments (54)

Wow- pass the popcorn!

It is also worth noting that Steve McIntyre has a relevant post on this.

http://climateaudit.org/2014/02/17/mann-and-the-oxburgh-panel/

I really wouldn't want to be in Mann's waders if Steve is called to give evidence.

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

As a fellow Canadian, and on the eve of an epic, for the ages, Canada/US Olympic Gold Medal women's hockey final, this come-from-behind tactic by Mr. Steyn is very timely indeed. Popcorn futures looking good!

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoctor K

I agree that in theory Steyn should wipe the floor with Mann, who is at best exceedingly duplicitious. at worst an outright lier and, at all times, a thug. But I have a horrid feeling it could all get very tangled. As ever, I strongly suspect the only winners will be the lawyers.

But big, big kudos to Steyn for at least having a go.

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

Mann can choose to leave a court action that he has initiated at any time. He seems to be well funded by Big Green, so he can afford to play his games.

But I wonder if the tide is turning and more people countersue, how long will he be able to run the gaunlet. We know from past history he is a coward, so there might problems a head for Dr Mann.

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

If the proceedings will be Youtubed, I will wallow in my own popcorn.

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

Oh my.

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

This all has interesting parallels with a certain Lance Armstrong- once cycling’s' golden boy.
Anyone who dared question his near miraculous performances were denigrated, marginalised and some were sued (successfully) for Libel.

Then the dam broke.....

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Don Keller

Good analogy!

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Don, do you think Mann is actually hiding something? I always assumed it was just his vanity doubling-down to avoid exposure of his incompetence.

Feb 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Sadly what is comes down to is money , does Steyn have the cash to take this all the way or is this in fact an approach he is taking in the hope that Mann will drop his suit in a 'deal ' because Steyn does not have the deep green pockets Mann can drawn on?

The day Mann ends up in court will be bad day for him , and I have little doubt his massive ego , with his poor actual science, will land him in there one day . But I do not think it will on this occasion.

Feb 21, 2014 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

How about suing or charging him for every person on earth that his "science" has killed?

Feb 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

It looks like the bumbling of the SLAPP hearing opened the door. If they had followed the rules .... oh well.

Feb 21, 2014 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterbobmacinnes

Hidden amongst all the boilerplate at para 111 of his response is a typical Steyn gem.

Read and enjoy.

Feb 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Scott

There is a smell to the hockey stick that, in Lady Macbeth's words, “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” - nor all the investigations. And so Dr Mann has determined to sue it into respectability.

Beautiful.

Feb 21, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Registered Commentershub

If it goes to court it won't be the science, but the ideology that is put on trial, can any judge be impartial regarding our newest religion.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commentercmdocker

Bish, thanks for drawing attenrtion to this. Huge developments in these lawsuits are now underway. We've covered the story on PSI here:
http://www.principia-scientific.org/michael-mann-faces-bankruptcy-as-his-courtroom-climate-capers-collapse.html

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn O'Sullivan

I'm very worried that Steyn is going to anger the judge(s) who must read this stuff. I understand the issues and am convinced that Steyn should prevail, but the counter-claim posted above reads to me like the ravings of a crack-pot, not a legal document seeking fair resolution of a wrongful, and probably punitive assault in the guise of a lawsuit.

Steyn needs to retain sober counsel. It would be tragic if he blows this through this sort of nonsense.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:39 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Stuck-record- Yes I do.

Following my experience with CRU/UEA I believe that most climate "psience" is basically an exercise in cherry-picking, dodgy statistics and model output masquerading as "experiments".

All designed with one purpose in mind- to keep money flowing from the Government teat.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Let's hope that a complicit, feckless U.S. judiciary musters the cojones to boot Mann off his podium with other Luddite sociopaths of AGW Catastrophists' Green Gang. We're looking at you, Paul Ehrlich; John Holdren; Keith Farnish; Kentti Linkola, Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber. May Wivenhoe transport you all to Malebolge forthwith.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterLloyd Martin Hendaye

This all has interesting parallels with a certain Lance Armstrong- once cycling’s' golden boy.

It turns out he was a right-wing Republican. How else could he think he can fool all of the people all of the time?

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Politics
President George W. Bush and Armstrong mountain biking at the president's Prairie Chapel Ranch.

In The New York Times article, teammate George Hincapie hinted that Armstrong would run for Governor of Texas after cycling. In the July 2005 issue of Outside magazine, Armstrong hinted at running for governor, although "not in '06".[65] Armstrong and former president George W. Bush, a Republican and fellow Texan, call themselves friends. Bush called Armstrong in France to congratulate him after his 2005 victory in August 2005, The Times reported the President had invited Armstrong to his Prairie Chapel Ranch to go mountain biking.[66] In a 2003 interview with The Observer, Armstrong said: "He's a personal friend, but we've all got the right not to agree with our friends."[67]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Armstrong#Politics

Sorry for raining on your parade.

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Wow sHx, google non-sequitur then get back to us.

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff C

Note 103 and 111 in Steyn's answer.

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterNavy Bob

The tweet on the 19th that Steyn refers to is this:

https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/436185488802582529

Interesting, as it implies that it's acceptable for people to complain to Penn State about Mann's behaviour.

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterclimatebeagle

If this is true, it is huge.

Michael Mann faces Bankruptcy as his Courtroom Capers Collapse - http://waa.ai/LC4

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

"Michael Mann faces Bankruptcy as his Courtroom Capers Collapse - http://waa.ai/LC4"

I doubt it, he's backed by big Green and has pots of money to prosecute and defend himself.

Feb 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

jferguson, if you think that this is OTT, you have not had much exposure to US culture or to its legal system.

This is gold!

Apart from the fact that, in US legal terms, it is a perfectly respectable case, it is carefully designed by Steyn and his advisers to drive MM into further frenzies.

It's a beautiful piece of work.

As I said at Steve Mac's just now, Steyn's opposition are very good at tactics. But when it comes to strategy, they are just about to be given a masterclass.

Feb 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Johanna,
I live here in US. I have more than sufficient experience with our legal system to support the reaction I suggested.
Notwithstanding that, I like your theory and hope that it will provoke Mann into doing something even nuttier.

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterjferguson

In other news, Mann is doing a Reddit AMA today:

http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/1yj3o7/science_ama_series_im_michael_e_mann/

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDead Dog Bounce

As a young lawyer I was involved in a big (millions of dollars) lawsuit against my employer. Frivolous, but in the courts anyhow. I thought then, and still think, we should have filed a counterclaim in order to take the initiative away from the plaintiff who, otherwise, could always just walk away when his bankroller decided he had had enough.

Good strategy, Steyn.

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimbrock

sHx

You may be right about Armstrong being Republican, but my impression was he was seen as a longshot Democrat prospect for the Texas state house. The approval of GW is virtually essential for statewide office in Texas and sought by Democrats as well.

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMmmm

111 is sheer class!

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterScooper

My fellow commenter at Catallaxy Files, the distinguished Deadman, has also drawn attention to Para. 111. He tells us that it reads:

" Denies the allegations in Paragraph One-Hundred-And- Eleven of the Amended Complaint, and feels Plaintiff is going round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, like the circles that you find in the tree-rings of your mind."

Of course, if Steyn really wanted to ramp it up, it could have been 666. But prolixity for its own sake is a grievous literary error.

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

For people worried he doesn't have the money to defend himself, go to steynonline.com, and buy gift certificates. They can be redeemed at a later date.

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Steyn just posted on his blog about the the CFRA Radio show I listened to yesterday mp3 (click play/download for 20th of Feb) well worth listening to
- Steyn comes on after 1 min ..Opening with "Yes the legal fund raising is going great"
he speaks for 10 mins about thinks how multiculturalism is racist , as it drives people into tribes instead of individuals. Youth in Austria will soon be more muslim than Christian etc., but spoke in favour of balanced immigration
and will be live in Ottowa at Manning Conference Sat 1st March see first link.
- I didn't realise he is British born ... public school boy Hitchens type accent

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:49 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

For those who missed it earlier, I refer again to the possibility of literary error ...

Feb 21, 2014 at 6:14 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

sHx

I am not sure why you bring up the subject of Lance Armstrong's politics but that wiki quote of yours used to continue,..".Armstrong has described himself as; "Left of center, against the war in Iraq, and pro-choice"."

For some reason that was edited out of his Wiki page sometime in 2009.

In addition, according to the book Wheelmen, he was talked about as a possible Democrat challenger to Rick Perry in 2010.

In so far as he was anything, he was a Democrat

Feb 21, 2014 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterCycling fan

It would be nice to have some confirmation on the Mann v. Ball suit as well as the Weaver matter.

Refusal to produce documents in discovery can be grounds for dismissal of the suit but it is not an automatic process. In practice, the defendant has to make application for dismissal. Has that been done?

Feb 21, 2014 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJay Currie

Marks Steyn's court filing of his counter-suit for $10 million x 2 (read it carefully; it totals a $20 million counter-claim....sweeeeeet!) was OBVIOUSLY written by Steyn himself and not by a lawyer. Any judge reading it will be quite amused starting at about the mid-point of the document for those less inclined to delve into legal minutiae. The more attention Steyn's unmatched writing skills can bring to this circus the better for Steyn and the worse for Mann and the "legal system" he is using as his proxy torturer.

Feb 21, 2014 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavers6

Jay Currie,

One should tread carefully here. For starters, we haven't heard from Dr. Ball who could be expected to be happy to share good news!

Feb 21, 2014 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Steve McIntyre reports at Lucia's: "I checked with Tim Ball and the Ball lawsuit has not been dismissed. They have outstanding discovery requests, but to go from mere delay to succeed in a motion for dismissal is a large step and one that has not been taken."

Feb 21, 2014 at 10:48 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Doctor K

"As a fellow Canadian, and on the eve of an epic, for the ages, Canada/US Olympic Gold Medal women's hockey final, this come-from-behind tactic by Mr. Steyn is very timely indeed. Popcorn futures looking good!"

A little OT, but as a person from south of the border my interests were a little different. However, Congratulations on the women's gold and your success today (d*mn it).

Feb 21, 2014 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

Mann vs Ball latest as far as I can tell.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/21/im-michael-e-mann-distinguished-professor-of-meteorology-at-penn-state-ask-me-almost-anything/#comment-1573592

Feb 21, 2014 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

RE: Feb 21, 2014 at 9:26 AM agouts
"But I have a horrid feeling it could all get very tangled. As ever, I strongly suspect the only winners will be the lawyers."

Well, I'm guessing O.J. is thinking it was a win-win situation . . . I still remember the look of shock on his lawyer's face when the 'Not Guity' was read out . . . tangled indeed.

Feb 22, 2014 at 2:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterbarn E. rubble

A few comments:

Charming Quark: "Mann can choose to leave a court action that he has initiated at any time. He seems to be well funded by Big Green, so he can afford to play his games."

Actually, he's now locked in by the countersuit for $20 million. He can abandon his suit, but he as to respond to Steyn's. If he abandons his suit, Steyn's position will be stronger.

Davers6 wrote: "Marks Steyn's court filing of his counter-suit for $10 million x 2 (read it carefully; it totals a $20 million counter-claim....sweeeeeet!) was OBVIOUSLY written by Steyn himself and not by a lawyer."

I don't think so. I think a lawyer wrote the outline, got the legal requirements right, and Steyn filled in the color and pizzazz. Brilliantly done, and I think Jferguson is underestimating the value of forthrightness, cleverness, humor and sarcasm in a legal document as long as that document is legally sound, which I think this one is. (I, however, am not a lawyer.)

Jferguson writes: "I'm very worried that Steyn is going to anger the judge(s) who must read this stuff. I understand the issues and am convinced that Steyn should prevail, but the counter-claim posted above reads to me like the ravings of a crack-pot, not a legal document seeking fair resolution of a wrongful, and probably punitive assault in the guise of a lawsuit."

Steyn's reply was within the law, did not insult the judge, and fairly represented his case. It was also entertaining, impassioned, and let the world know that he was not going to allow his rights to be trampled. As a professional polemicist, it's HIS JOB to be provocative and he's not going to stop being provocative just because he's in front of a judge. Judges admire someone who is willing to stand up for themselves. Mann, under the law, is supposed to prove malice in this trial, i.e. that the defendants had a reckless disregard for the truth and knowingly made false statements about Mann and his graph. I think when Steyn responds with such vigor he underlines the fact that he believes passionately in what he said about Mann and that there will be no finding of malice in that regard. Technically, that alone should get him off the hook.

That said, I discerned from the opinion denying invocation of the antiSLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute that the judge is prejudiced in favor of the plaintiff at this point, which means Steyn et al could be railroaded in the initial trial. But I can't see such a verdict standing under appeal. The judge made a grave mistake in nullifying the anti-SLAPP statute and rendering it meaningless. If there ever was a case that was meant to be dismissed on those grounds, this was it.

Feb 22, 2014 at 4:02 AM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

theDuke @ Feb 22, 2014 at 4:02 AM

Absolutely correct. I've followed Steyn for some time and have never heard the term "affirmative defense" once. The counterclaim fits quite nicely into the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and actually harkens back to the days of West's Federal Practice Manual.

Mann will need to answer within a few weeks, point by point or take "go generic". Mann's answer to Styen's counterclaim should be interesting.

I think Steyn has "consulting" folks in the legal profession guiding him as theDuke stated. Several reasons for this including avoiding the political Borking-Palin-Denier demonization so common today. He can always bring in a lawyer of record.

One point: The suit is a political suit. Steyn is correct in responding with the countersuit since the real arena is the nefarious Court of Public Opinion. With a political suit, if one party stays sllent, they're forever tarred, feathered and put on display as a trophy by the media. The other defendants need to take heed.

Anywone know if the other defendants have answered? And if the time limit on filing a counterclaim of their own has expired?

Feb 22, 2014 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered Commentercedars rebellion

I confess to having no knowledge of what might be acceptable parameters for a counterclaim for this sort of suit. I based my reaction on how I imagined family members who sat on the bench would have reacted to something like this one. It could be that Johanna is right, that despite 71 years living in the US, I don't understand American culture, nor the operations of our legal system.

Having said that, I still think Steyn is either nuts or wants the court to think he is - maybe that is a useful strategy. I was entertained by it, but didn't think it was the sort of plain, succinct pitch that might better do the job as part of a litigation.

Feb 22, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Mann is a little girl who was never told to shut up on the threat of a good smack. Hopefully he'll get his ass handed to him. There's a special place in Hell reserved for litigious little bitches like Mann.

Feb 22, 2014 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Blackstock

re: "about Armstrong being Republican"

Was involved in road biking for over 25 years. Have many friends who also were road racers. I found the bulk of those involved were left of center politically. Quite a few were extreme followers of Lance Armstrong and raised money for his foundation, attended rides he sponsored and now remain in a state of shock at Armstrong's lies over the years. One such couple continue as extreme leftists: the wife was a Union organizer/official before retiring. She had many personal contacts with Armstrong over many years and raised money for his foundation. She was repeatedly invited to meetings and parties of his foundation. She and her husband believed Armstrong was one of them: leftwing in thought and deed. Neither of them would support any Republican.

Dan Kurt

Feb 22, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDan Kurt

Is this a class action suit or just a class action?

Feb 22, 2014 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

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