Judge throws out libel suit against scientist

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge threw out a linkurl:defamation;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53709/ suit today (November 20) filed by a Korean fertility researcher against a scientist who wrote an opinion piece criticizing his work. Judge James Dunn upheld a motion filed by the defendant, Bruce Flamm of the University of California,Irvine. Flamm's motion claimed that the lawsuit sought to stifle Flamm's criticism of Kwang Yul linkurl:Cha's;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/dis

Nov 20, 2007
Bob Grant
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge threw out a linkurl:defamation;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53709/ suit today (November 20) filed by a Korean fertility researcher against a scientist who wrote an opinion piece criticizing his work. Judge James Dunn upheld a motion filed by the defendant, Bruce Flamm of the University of California,Irvine. Flamm's motion claimed that the lawsuit sought to stifle Flamm's criticism of Kwang Yul linkurl:Cha's;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15149/; controversial 2001 linkurl:study;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53166/ linking prayer to in vitro fertilization success. In an email to The Scientist, Flamm described his elation at the suit against him being thrown out court. ''This is a great victory for science, peer review and academic freedom,'' Flamm wrote. Cha filed the lawsuit against Flamm in August over a sentence Flamm wrote in an linkurl:opinion piece;http://www.obgynnews.com/article/PIIS0029743707702021/fulltext;published in the March 15, 2007 issue of Ob. Gyn. News. The lawsuit characterized Flamm's criticism of Cha's IVF-prayer study -- which started when the study was published -- as ''a bitter personal vendetta against Dr. Cha.'' Though Cha's attorneys insisted that the suit was in reference only to a single sentence, Flamm saw the suit as an attack on his right to criticize the work of other scientists. In October, Flamm filed a motion to throw out the suit because it was an attack on his freedom of speech and constituted what is referred to in California law as a ''strategic lawsuit against public participation,'' or SLAPP. Judge Dunn upheld Flamm's ''anti-SLAPP'' motion, and so negated Cha's defamation suit. According to Flamm, Cha has 60 days to appeal this decision. Cha's spokesperson did not have any response by the time this was posted.