Michael Mann suing Tim Ball for libel

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Update: Notice of Civil Claim now attached below

Dr. Michael Mann, Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University, is suing the climate change denier Dr. Tim Ball and the think tank/web site Frontier Centre for Public Policy for libel – and particularly for suggesting that Mann is somehow guilty of criminal fraud for his part in what has come to be known as “climategate.”

In the interview, an anonymous questioner (“John Doe” in court documents, says this to Ball: Various government and academic agencies have whitewashed the Climategate scandal so far. Do you think anyone will be prosecuted for fraud?” Ball responds, “Michael Mann at Penn State should be in the State Pen, not Penn State.”

The Frontier Centre is a Canadian version of the Heartland Institute. The website was reportedly given an opportunity to apologize for the slight, which they declined – although they cleansed the interview of the quote featured above. (It originally appeared directly after the line: “There is a move amongst the Attorney Generals in the States to start prosecuting.”)

The suits are also stacking up for Ball, who is already facing a similar action from the Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver.

Ball’s last foray into the court ended badly. Ball attempted to sue another Canadian scientist, Dr. Dan Johnson, in 2006, complaining that a letter that Johnson had written to the Calgary Herald suggested that Ball had lied about his resume. When Johnson’s Statement of Defence demonstrated that Ball HAD lied about his resume, Ball abandoned the suit.

In the Notice of Civil Claim, filed on March 25, 2011 in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, lawyer Roger McConchie lays out the specifics of Mann’s complaint and then writes this:

“The defendants have been guilty of reprehensible, insulting, high-handed, spiteful, malicious and oppressive conduct, and such conduct by the defendants justifies the court imposing a substantial penalty of exemplary damages on the defendant and an award of special costs in favour of the plaintiff, in addition to an award of general damages for injury to reputation.”

McConchie goes on to make a bid for aggravated and special damages, as well.

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