Of all the creationist litigation cases we follow, this one has been the least visible. Our last update was almost a year ago, on 18 Nov 2013. Here’s some background information, which most of you can skip:
In late December of 2011, John Oller filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he was (and apparently still is) a professor. The complaint alleged that faculty members of the university’s Communicative Disorders Department discriminated against him and marginalized his position because of his beliefs on creationism and also because he taught about an alleged connection between autism, mercury and vaccinations.
Oller’s lawyer is John B. Wells, who is affiliated with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) — the same outfit that was involved in the David Coppedge case. They have a press release (from January 2012) about Wells’ representation of Oller: ADF files suit in federal court to defend professor’s academic freedom.
After some initial press coverage, and a favorable mention by Ken Ham — see Ken Ham Supports John Oller’s Lawsuit — everything’s gone dark, and we seem to be the only blog following the case. Here’s a link to the docket of court pleadings in Oller v. Roussel et al. Most of the pleadings require a subscription, but you read a few of them. At the time of our last update, a jury trial was scheduled to start on 21 Jan 2014.
Then Oller filed an Amended Complaint (a 35-page pdf file) in the last week of October, and the defendants filed their Answer to the Amended Complaint. It’s an 8-page pdf file. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), who have access to the pleadings that we can’t see, informed us that among a couple of dozen items filed on 01 November 2013 is an order that mentioned a final trial date of 19 May 2014.
After that, all we could see was Oller’s Motion for Summary Judgment, which includes his response to an earlier motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Defendants, and then the Defendants filed their Answer to Oller’s Amended Complaint. That was followed by someone’s Motion for Continuance, late in November of 2013. That’s it. And it’s worth mentioning that the Discoveroids have never posted to indicate their solidarity with Oller in his quest for “academic freedom.”
Since then we occasionally look at the docket. It shows that the last batch of documents was filed late in June of 2014, but we can’t read any of them. It’s difficult to believe that nothing has happened since. So what’s going on?
We may have had a break in the long silence. One of our clandestine operatives, whom we believe to be well informed, tells us:
As of August 22, Judge Haik has dismissed all plaintiff’s causes in summary judgments. To be seen if plaintiff will appeal.
Wow — that means the case is over. Unless there’s a successful appeal by Oller, there won’t be any trial. But why hasn’t there been any news about this?
We don’t post about things we can’t verify, and we may regret breaking our rule here, but we’ll take the risk because this is too good to ignore. Besides, it’s been far too long since we’ve had anything to say about this case. We’re hoping that the court docket will soon reflect what our operative says (it doesn’t now), or maybe our friends at NCSE will chime in with their own information. If we’re wrong, we’ll admit it. Until then, we’ll have to wait. Stay tuned to this blog!
Addendum: The 22 August 2014 order was found by one of our commenters. It’s here: Memorandum Ruling. All of Oller’s federal claims were dismissed, and without those, the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear his state claims. So this case is over, unless Oller appeals.
Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.