In the Michael Mann v. National Review et al. defamation lawsuit, Mann has filed a "Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims of Counter-Plaintiff Mark Steyn Pursuant to the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act". A memorandum in support of Mann's motion says: "Steyn's counterclaims lack any merit whatsoever, and his assertion of these claims in the face of the Court's previous rulings is yet another manifestation of his disdain for this Court and its processes. ... not to mention the stream of invective that he has hurled at this Court..."
Mann's filing of this motion is understandable.
Accusing a scientist of conducting his research fraudulently is a factual allegation that can be proven true or false, not mere hyperbolic opinionating. If it is false it is defamatory, and if it is made with actual malice it is actionable. So said DC Superior Court Frederick Weisberg in tossing out motions by defendants National Review et al. to dismiss Prof. Michael Mann's defamation complaint.
In counterclaims filed by Mark Steyn, a defendant in Mann's defamation lawsuit against National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, basically Steyn contends that his freedom of speech is being stifled and that therefore he is suffering damages that should be compensated. But his response to Mann's complaint appear to be essentially a rehashing of the same arguments that have already been rejected by two different DC Superior Court judges.
Dr. Mann brought this lawsuit based upon what he charges are certain defamatory statements made by Mark Steyn and the National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Rand Simberg. Steyn's counterclaims purport to seek $30 million in damages plus attorney's fees for having to defend this lawsuit.
Mann's memorandum in support of his motion to dismiss Steyn's counterclaims includes this:
Steyn's counterclaims lack any merit whatsoever, and his assertion of these claims in the face of the Court's previous rulings is yet another manifestation of his disdain for this Court and its processes. Shortly before this Court denied the defendants' motions to dismiss the amended complaint, Steyn filed a motion to vacate the Court's July 19 orders -- which was nothing other than an extended diatribe against this Court, accusing it of "improper", "grotesque", and "zombie-like" behavior. See Mot. to Vacate Order, dated January 21, 2014 at ¶ 8, 10, 12. This conduct should not be sanctioned, and attorneys' fees should be awarded.
The key arguments laid out in Mann's memorandum:
I. Steyn's Counterclaims are Subject to an Anti-SLAPP Motion As Well As A Motion To Dismiss For Failure To State A Claim.
I I . Steyn Cannot State A Claim For Abuse Of Process, Let Alone Demonstrate That He Is Likely To Succeed On The Merits Of An Abuse Of Process Claim.
III. Steyn Cannot State A Claim For Malicious Prosecution Let Alone Demonstrate He Is Likely To Succeed On The Merits Of A Malicious Prosecution Claim.
I V . The Court Should Award Mann Attorneys' Fees And Costs
The award of attorneys' fees and costs is especially warranted here because Steyns' counterclaims are plainly without merit and fly in the face of this Court's previous rulings on his motions to dismiss. Steyn's counterclaims amount to nothing more than a complaint against Mann for filing this lawsuit and unsubstantiated allegations that the purpose of Mann's lawsuit was to stifle Steyn's and other freedom of expression. ... not to mention the stream of invective that he has hurled at this Court, Steyn has shown a disregard for this Court and the governing law...
We'll see who ends up having to pay attorneys' fees. And perhaps some day this case will finally be adjudicated on the merits. Stay tuned.
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Most recent earlier posts in our series on this case:
More on Mann v. National Review et al. (March 3)
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