Richard Carrier's lawsuits

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The atheist Richard Carrier filed defamation lawsuits against Freethought Blogs, The Orbit and the Skepticon conference.[1]

The atheist Adam Lee wrote in December of 2019:

...a Missouri court, the first of the three to hear his new case, promptly threw it out...

Before the other two courts got around to ruling on the statute-of-limitations argument, the defendants filed a countersuit in Arizona, and when the costs to defend himself started to pile up, Carrier panicked. (Apparently, defending yourself against a lawsuit is really expensive! Who could’ve known?)

Shortly thereafter, he gave in and agreed to dismiss all his lawsuits with prejudice, meaning he can never refile them.[2]

The aforementioned parties Carrier sued agreed to drop their countersuits when Carrier agreed to drop his remaining lawsuits.[3]

In 2018, the atheist Hemant Mehta wrote about the defamation lawsuits:

The lawsuit began in September of 2016, when Dr. Richard Carrier..., the author of several books about ancient philosophy, religion, and science, sued individual atheists, Freethought Blogs and The Orbit (atheist blog networks), and the Skepticon conference on charges of defamation, interference with his business, and emotional distress. Those charges stemmed from posts made about his alleged sexual harassment, an accusation he repeatedly denied.[4]

Mehta also wrote:

In all three lawsuits, Carrier is asking the Court for damages worth $1.3 million — that’s nearly $4 million in total — in addition to legal costs, interest, and anything else the Courts deem fit. He’s also filing all three lawsuits on his own — without the help of a lawyer (at least one who’s listed in the complaints).[5]

Richard Carrier withdrawing his lawsuits against fellow atheists after being countersued

As noted above, the parties Carrier sued agreed to drop their countersuits when Carrier agreed to drop his remaining lawsuits.[6] See also: Atheist lawsuits

Atheist Stephanie Zvan on Richard Carrier dropping his lawsuit which involved her

Atheist Stephanie Zvan on Richard Carrier dropping his lawsuit which involved her:

By now, you may know that Richard Carrier dropped his remaining SLAPP suits in November. If you read the settlement agreement, you’ll see he even explicitly said we are free to talk about the allegations and the suit without incurring more legal hassle from him. So we’re going to do that.

Save the date for the evening of February 23. We’ve rested, we’ve let the news sink in, and we’re ready to talk. We’ll bring you more news soon as we work out technical details for live streaming and confirm special guests. In the meantime, however, just know that our lips are legally unsealed. We can talk. We will talk.[7]

Atheist PZ Myers on the Richard Carrier withdrawing his lawsuits

After Richard Carrier withdrew his defamation lawsuits related to the sexual allegations against him, the atheist PZ Myers likened Carrier's future to a sinking ship.

Specifically, Myers wrote: "That, by the way, is the USS Oriskany being sunk to form an artificial reef for sea life. The sinking of Richard Carrier will not be so useful."[8]

The atheist PZ Myers wrote about Richard Carrier dropping his lawsuit and Stephanie Zvan indicating they are going to publicly talk about the sexual allegations against Richard Carrier along with his lawsuits and other matters:

Good news, everybody! The Richard Carrier lawsuit is kaput. He finally, after 3 years of this nonsense, approached our lawyer and begged for mercy: he agreed to walk away from the lawsuit with prejudice if we agreed to do likewise and promise not to hurt him anymore. This is a comprehensive surrender, agreeing to quit harassing me, Amy Frank, Lauren Lane, Stephanie Zvan, Skepticon, The Orbit, and Freethoughtblogs...[9]

Myers also wrote:

Oh, this is going to be fun. Mark your calendar and keep the evening of Sunday 23 February open, because we’re doing a grand celebratory hangout, since we’re finally out from under that ridiculous law suit by Richard Carrier.

...We are angry at the unjust and self-servingly stupid behavior by Richard Carrier, and we plan to vent. We have unfair debts imposed on us, and oh boy, are we ready to flame that jerk.[10]

After Richard Carrier withdrew his lawsuits related to the sexual allegations against him, PZ Myers likened his future to a sinking ship. Specifically, Myers wrote: "That, by the way, is the USS Oriskany being sunk to form an artificial reef for sea life. The sinking of Richard Carrier will not be so useful."[11]

Legal analysis of a Richard Carrier defamation lawsuit

PZ Myers on a Richard Carrier lawsuit

In 2019, the atheist PZ Myers wrote about the defamation lawsuit filed against Freethought Blogs by fellow atheist Richard Carrier:

The next step in the never-ending nonsense that is the Carrier lawsuit takes place tomorrow, a hearing at the Warren E. Burger Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in St Paul, at 1:30 in the Devitt Courtroom. Richard Carrier will be there — he has to be, since he’s acting as his own lawyer (there’s some common phrase that ends, “has a fool for a client”).

…I should at least be there to witness the fate of my financial future.

As always, we’re still looking for donations to support our resistance against this SLAPP suit. Our colleagues at Affinity and sterr have also been carrying out sales and auctions to raise money for the effort. Lawyers are expensive. I just want the foolishness to end.[12]

PZ Myers is using the services of the well-known free speech lawyer Marc Randazza.[13]

Shortly after the first day of legal proceedings Myers wrote:

Anyway, Randazza pointed out that everything I said was a statement of what I’d been told, that it was even backed up by documents that Carrier himself put in evidence (the emails between Carrier and Dadhaboy are clearcut examples of persistent obnoxiousness, for one thing). The whole suit is going to get thrown out eventually, so why not cut it short? The judge said that his role there was just to make a judgment on merits of his procedural argument, unfortunately. Which is fair, even if these procedural technicalities allow him to carry on his legal harassment indefinitely.

That’s where it all stands, unsatisfactorily. Randazza made his arguments that Minnesota limitations apply, Carrier made his that he gets to bring in Ohio law, there was some discussion of the contents of the suit that Carrier brought in in his own filing, and the judge said he’ll make a ruling when his workload permits, which may be months and months away. So we wait. If the judge agrees with my lawyer, we’re done, the lawsuit is thrown out. If the judge decides to let Carrier have his way, the process will linger on, we’ll have a trial and discovery and all those fun things which will drag the sleaze in Carrier’s history into the light. Both have their advantages — Randazza would love to bring this to trial on first amendment grounds — but I’d rather just have it over and done with.

It’s not over and done with yet.[14]

Other commentary by PZ Myers on Richard Carrier's lawsuits

Richard Carrier on his lawsuits

Commentary at PZ Myers' blog regarding a Richard Carrier lawsuit

PZ Myers

In 2019, a commentator on PZ Myers' Pharyngula blog wrote about the Richard Carrier lawsuit against Freethought Blogs:

Presuming, as I think is likely, that the magistrate recommends dismissal...

...I learned something I hadn’t known about the procedural posture of this case: the two sides have agreed to give the magistrate judge the authority to try the entire lawsuit—which means that the things I wrote above about making a recommendation to the district judge don’t apply in this particular case. The magistrate will be deciding the whole thing.

...Carrier would then have the right to appeal his loss to a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. This would mean a few more months during which P.Z.’s lawyers and Carrier would submit further written arguments to the appellate panel. I suspect the court would not order oral argument in a case like this, so the panel would likely issue its decision based on written submissions alone.

If we assume that Carrier lost at that phase as well, he would then have the right to ask for a rehearing in front of the full Eight Circuit (“en banc”) and/or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appellate decision. The chances that either one of those requests would be granted, however, are remote.

All of these courts have wide discretion in deciding how quickly or slowly to rule. That means it’s very difficult to place a confident time frame on when we should expect to know the final outcome of the case; if every court took as much time as reasonably possible just to complete the appeal process described above, it could take… I dunno, five years? But this lawsuit is in fact a small, relatively simple one, so it’s more likely that that process will be finished in a year or less.[15]

Commentary on Richard Carrier's ability to represent himself in court

Concerning Richard Carrier's ability to representing himself in court, the commentator wrote: "Carrier wasn’t bad for an amateur."[16]

Atheist lawsuits

See: Atheist lawsuits

Atheists and conflict resolution

See also: Atheists and conflict resolution and Christian worldview concerning resolving conflict among Christians

Unlike Christianity (see: Christian worldview concerning resolving conflict among Christians), the atheist population in the Western World (which is a population with much contention, see: Atheist factions and Atheism and social skills) often have a very ineffective/lengthy/expensive means of conflict resolution when resolving disputes among themselves (see: Atheists and conflict resolution).

See also

Notes