Description: Action brought by scientist against journal and another scientist in connection with publication of article critiquing plaintiff-scientist's work.
Jacobson v. National Academy of Sciences
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/25/2020 Order Download Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration denied. D.C. Court Denied Reconsideration of Attorney’s Fees Order in Climate Scientist’s Defamation Suit. In a defamation lawsuit brought by a climate scientist in connection with the publication of an article that evaluated an article published by the plaintiff, the D.C. Superior Court denied the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of its order granting the defendants’ motions for attorney’s fees and costs. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his action approximately five months after filing it and two days after a hearing on the defendants’ special motion to dismiss pursuant to the D.C. Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) Act. The court denied the motion for reconsideration on both procedural and substantive grounds. Procedurally, the court found that the plaintiff’s violations of the court’s page limits provided grounds for denial. Substantively, the court said it was not persuaded either by arguments that the motion “merely rehashes” or by arguments regarding new legal authority and evidence, including alleged admissions by a defendant that there were false facts in his article. 06/08/2020 Affidavit Download Affidavit of Mark Z. Jacobson, Ph.D., filed. 06/08/2020 Reply Download Reply filed by plaintiff in support of motion for reconsideration. 06/01/2020 Opposition Download Opposition filed by Christopher Clack to plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. 06/01/2020 Opposition Download Opposition filed by defendant National Academy of Sciences to plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. 05/18/2020 Motion Download Motion filed by plaintiff for reconsideration of order granting defendants' motions for costs and attorneys' fees under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act. 04/20/2020 Order Download Defendants' motions for attorney's fees and costs granted. Climate Scientist Must Pay Attorney’s Fees After Bringing Defamation Suit Regarding Publication of Article. The D.C. Superior Court granted defendants’ motions for attorney’s fees and costs in a defamation lawsuit brought by a climate scientist in connection with the publication of an article written by one of the defendants that evaluated an article published by the plaintiff. The other defendant was the publisher of the journal in which the article appeared. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his action approximately five months after filing it and two days after a hearing on the defendants’ special motion to dismiss pursuant to the D.C. Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) Act. The court found that the defendants were entitled to attorney’s fees because the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act covered the plaintiff’s claims, a jury could not reasonably find that the claims were supported, and the plaintiff’s attempts to obtain corrections in the article before filing suit did not constitute special circumstance that made a fees award unjust. 02/22/2018 Notice of Voluntary Dismissal Download Plaintiff filed voluntary dismissal without prejudice. Stanford Professor Withdrew Defamation Lawsuit Against Author and Publisher of Article That Critiqued Professor’s Article. Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson withdrew his lawsuit against the lead author and publisher of an article that critiqued an article by Jacobson and others on grid reliability and renewable energy. Jacobson’s lawsuit asserted defamation, breach of contract, and promissory estoppel claims. On the day he withdrew the lawsuit, Jacobson released a statement on “Questions and Answers Concerning the Lawsuit Around The Paper PNAS 114, 6722-6727 (2017) (hereinafter C17)” in which he said he withdrew the lawsuit because of the time it would take to prosecute it and because he felt he had succeeded in bringing some of the defendant author’s allegedly false claims to light “so that at least some people reading C17 will be aware of the factually inaccurate statements.” 02/22/2018 Press Release Download "Questions and Answers Concerning the Lawsuit" posted by the plaintiff. 09/29/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Stanford Professor Sued Scientific Journal and Article Authors Who Critiqued His Work. Mark Jacobson (a professor at Stanford) sued Christopher Clack (founder and CEO of Vibrant Clean Energy, LLC) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia alleging defamation, breach of contract, and promissory estoppel claims in connection with the publication of an article by Clack and other co-authors that critiqued an article published by Jacobson. In December 2015, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published an article by Jacobson and co-authors, “Low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water, and solar for all purposes.” In June 2016, Clack and co-authors submitted a critique of the Jacobson article to PNAS, which PNAS shared with Jacobson in February 2017 when the journal asked if he would like to submit a letter to the editor commenting on the Clack article. Jacobson alleged that he informed PNAS that the Clack article contained “thirty false statements and five materially misleading statements,” and that he repeatedly complained to NAS and asked for corrections. He contended that when PNAS published a slightly revised version of the Clack article in June 2017, it corrected almost none of the statements that Jacobson said were false and misleading. The disputes concerned various modeling procedures and assumptions, issues concerning the amount of hydropower that would be available, and other technical matters. The complaint alleged that the Clack article received extensive press coverage and that “[t]he resulting headlines and articles made Dr. Jacobson and his co-authors look like poor, sloppy, incompetent, and clueless researchers.” Jacobson asserted that the Clack article did not disclose alleged conflicts of interest of some of Clack’s co-authors, including that one is associated with a nuclear advocacy organization and another has received funding from Exxon and various other fossil fuel companies. Jacobson also asserted that NAS violated its own publication policies in numerous ways and that only three of the 21 listed co-authors actually worked on the Clack article, artificially inflating its credibility. The complaint asserted defamation claims against both Clack and NAS and also asserted breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims against NAS for publishing Jacobson’s initial article and then not adhering to its publication policies in the way it handled the Clack article. Jacobson demanded damages from Clack and NAS “to be determined at trial believed to be in excess of Ten Million Dollars,” plus punitive damages and attorneys fees.