Moving forward to the discovery stage of Michael Mann’s defamation lawsuit against the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute was expedited when District of Columbia Superior Court judge Weisberg on September 12 denied yet another motion by the defendants that would have created a procedural delay. If the defendants’ are hoping that having a new judge on the case will bring a very different viewpoint, his first procedural ruling doesn’t support it.
Although this case undoubtedly involves complex and important issues at the intersection of the First Amendment and the common law of defamation as applied to public figures, there is not “a substantial ground for a difference of opinion” on the controlling questions of law. The [Court’s July 19, 2013, order denying defendants’ motion to dismiss] represents an application of relatively settled law to the facts as articulated in the complaint, and a conclusion that plaintiff has alleged enough to move his case forward to the discovery stage.
Judge Weisberg also prodded the case along with this footnote:
3 As an aside, the court observes that the litigation of this matter will be as expensive as the parties choose to make it. It appears that most of the relevant facts are well known. If the parties can get through the discovery stage with a minimum of acrimony, they should be able to advance the case to the summary judgment phase in relatively short order.
So, let’s see what the discovery stage brings out.
Earlier CSW posts on this case: