A couple of days ago we posted what we could about the trial’s Fourth Week, but because of a total lack of news we didn’t have much to say. Today we do.
As you know, we’re discussing the suit filed by David Coppedge, the creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted (and later fired) by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. As you recall, he used to work as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is part of Caltech. He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines — which was recently moved here.
In the La Cañada Valley Sun of La Cañada Flintridge, California — that’s where JPL is located — we read JPL ‘intelligent design’ trial coming to a close. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Closing arguments may take place next week in the case of a former Jet Propulsion Laboratory worker who claims he was fired for his advocacy of the theory of intelligent design of the universe.
How disappointing for the Discoveroids. They had hoped the trial would drag on for months, revealing to the world all the woes that Big Science has been inflicting on the heroic few who stand up for Intelligent Design. On with the story:
David Coppedge, a former systems administrator on JPL’s Cassini mission to Saturn, is seeking unspecified damages, though an expert witness called on his behalf estimated Coppedge is entitled to about $850,000 in lost and potential wages, according to attorney William Becker. Coppedge also is seeking an unspecified amount for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Coppedge ought to get at least a trillion for all of his emotional distress. His headaches alone should be worth billions. Let’s read on:
Earlier this week Becker and James Zapp, the lead attorney for JPL, argued over the witnesses JPL could call in an attempt to refute Coppedge’s claim [that he was demoted and fired because of his religious beliefs].
“They can come in with 90 people who will say my client is a bum, but the documentary evidence doesn’t hold up,” Becker said.
Unless the guy was continuously being videotaped, JPL probably doesn’t have documentary evidence of Coppedge’s behavior — only testimony from his co-workers. It appears that Becker doesn’t want the judge to hear much of that. We continue:
One of JPL’s remaining witnesses is economist Michael Ward, who Zapp said will counter the $850,000 figure offered by Coppedge’s economic expert, Ted Vavoulis.
That’s interesting. You may recall that the Coppedge team had tried to exclude such testimony. See Coppedge’s Motion in Limine #5, to Exclude Testimony from JPL’s Expert Witness Regarding Coppedge’s Mitigation Efforts. Apparently they lost that one.
In fact, Coppedge must have lost several such motions. There haven’t been any reports of creationist DVDs being shown to the court. Nor, apparently, has there been testimony that Coppedge’s creationism was somehow relevant to the work JPL was doing, nor testimony about all the discrimination that advocates of creationism have routinely encountered over the years because of “Darwinist” prejudice. The trial seems to have been largely limited to Coppedge’s work record. Dreary stuff. Here’s one last excerpt:
Also at stake in the case are attorneys’ fees and costs, which JPL would have to pay if Coppedge wins. Becker said his costs to date are around $75,000, but that does not include his attorney fees. “I won’t put a number on it, but you can imagine what two years of work would be,” he said.
We won’t attempt to estimate the value of Becker’s services. If things work out as they should, Becker won’t have to worry about it either.
Next week should be fun. Maybe the press will cover the closing arguments.
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