by Anthony Watts
Watts Up With That
In a clear slap in the face, the Virginia Supreme Court awarded Michael E. Mann and the University of Virginia a piddling $250 in damages in the email FOIA case. Showing the triviality of the manner, the court’s order (shown here) didn’t even specify the rationale for the derisory amount…
UPDATE: From David Schnare, General Counsel, Energy & Environment Legal Institute
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the $250 “damages” assessed by the Court. Any appellant that loses their appeal in the Virginia Supreme Court has to make this payment to the opposing party. It is generally intended to pay for the costs of printing of briefs. It does not include attorney’s fees or any other costs. Mann won’t get a cent. It all goes to the University who may or may not have to transfer it to the Attorney General’s coffers since that is who represented the University and who had to pay for preparation of their briefs.
More importantly, this is not all over. The court only decided the meaning of the term “of a proprietary nature” and they took our (plaintiffs) definition verbatim. They just refused to admit that which was their way of denying us our costs and fees. (We used over $300,000 worth of our time on this case, and thousands of dollars in costs.) What the court did not do was to discuss the rest of the “research exemptions” and that will come up with the next case that is already in the pipeline. That FOIA is seeking all emails associated with John Daly, Steve McIntyre and the IPCC. As none of those were collected by or for the faculty in pursuit of a research project sponsored by UVA, they should not be subject to being withheld. We will see what slimy games the University next plays to prevent the release of those documents. We’ll keep you informed.