Justice Prevails

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the earlier decision in my favor in the defamation lawsuit filed by John Lott against me.

Knowing John Lott, U.S. Supreme Court, here we come.


Really, he has to sue you. By not challenging the questions you raise with regards to his conclusions, he is implicitly admitting that his theory doesn't hold water. That would have a dramatic negative impact on his career. If he fights and loses, he still keeps up the appearance of standing behind his conclusions.


Um, might that last statement invite a new separate defamation suit? ;)


Good. Academic disagreements should not be resolved in the courts. Levitt neither originated the claim that Lott's data was falsified, nor did he conclude that it was so, he merely reported on the claim, and concluded that his conclusions turned out not to be the case.

@Gary, the problem is not that he's challenging Levitt, it's that he's using the wrong venue to do so. It's just as inappropriate as if he challenged him to a duel at dawn!


It's actually a fairly interesting and colorful decision:
From page 6:

"In law (actually in love and most everything else in life),
timing is often everything. "


How did a private email between you and a colleague (in which the court denied your motion to dismiss) end up in Lott's hands?

And why is such a private communique subject to defamation law? Would a letter (again, in response) have been grounds for a similar lawsuit? Its not as if you published that email. That sucks for you.

Good luck with any future proceedings, I'm sure the court will uphold its ruling in your favor.

R.A. Porter

You just know he keeps waiting, keeps hoping, that Mary Rosh will be on one of these panels.


@1: Not really, he could try to find common ground with his "detractors", address procedural mistakes, and then reissue his findings. But wait, that sounds like a grown-up.

Michael "mickeyrad" Radosevich

& the opinion by Judge Evans was the best I've read in a long time - entertaining, with solid legal analysis. The Supreme Court will not accept this case; this decision will stand.


1. How did a private email between you and John McCall become available?

2.The Supreme Court will not take this case...

C. Larity

Crap, I had Lott at 7:1 odds. You just cost me $350, Levitt! Curse you and your "facts" and "exposing of fraud"!



If you were challenged to a duel, and all you had was a water pistol, you'd decide on a different way to settle things too...

Moving it to the courts is brilliant, he attacks the sender of the message, without having to revisit his possibly flawed conclusions. What's at issue isn't the truth, what's at issue is his reputation, for a man in Lott's position, that's worth lots.


Harlan: it's legally irrelevant whether you're repeating a defamatory allegation that you heard from someone else without saying whether you agree with it. Legality aside, stating in a widely-published book that there's a rumor going around that a named scholar faked his data, without either debunking or substantiating it, is a cheapshot, IMO.

If Steven Levitt does not know, for a fact, that other scholars have analysed Lott's data using the same techniques and none of them has replicated his findings, then Levitt should publicly admit that, as a matter of common decency.


Opposing council is a construction attorney.

How bizzare. Could Lott not get an expert is this kind of law to represent him?



@ rw - Probably through our FRCP's expansive means for discovery.

And I agree, theres no way the SCOTUS will grant writ of certiorari


Apparently Lott's data isn't alone in being questioned...



I'm actually surprised at how much common sense reasoning is used in a judge's opinion. I guess I haven't read one before. This makes me surprised at some of the frivolous lawsuits that are upheld.


John Lott, you just made yourself look so much worse than Freakonomics did.


So what ended up happening with count 2 over the email? The decision linked to above did not dismiss it.

Leigh Caldwell

je: count 2 was settled - the Seventh Circuit decision mentions it in passing.

jonathan feldman

After reading the court decision, I am a little suprised he decieded to sue you in the first place for two reasons. First, you say one of his theories was right. Second becuase you quote other people who were unable to reproduce his results just like any succesful SLAPP BACK lawsuit.