National Review prevails in high-profile defamation case
Clients National Review, Inc.
Jones Day secured a favorable ruling at summary judgment for defendant National Review, Inc., in a long-running and high-profile defamation case brought by climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann. Mann sued National Review and its independent contributor, Mark Steyn, for a blog post that Steyn published on National Review's website criticizing Mann's climate research, and for a subsequent article that National Review published commenting on the controversy. In 2018, National Review prevailed on an Anti-SLAPP motion arguing that National Review's commentary on Steyn's post was protected under the First Amendment. And at summary judgment, the court agreed with National Review that it could not be held liable for Steyn's post because Steyn was not an employee of National Review; no National Review employee played any role in Steyn's post; and Steyn's state of mind could not be attributed to National Review in the absence of an employment relationship. The court's ruling is important in the Internet age because it ensures that the First Amendment protects the right of a publisher to host a discussion forum where third parties can post commentary on public issues without pre-vetting.
Michael Mann, Ph.D. v. National Review, Inc., et al., No. 2012 CA 008263 B (Super. Ct. D.C.)