Mark Armitage Case — Chaos & Controversy

The last time we wrote about the Mark Armitage litigation was Mark Armitage Update: 17 August 2016 — Final?, in which we gave you enough background information to understand the issues, and said that there appeared to be some kind of settlement, because the matter was removed from the judge’s calendar of pending cases.

We checked the court’s docket one more time, and saw that there had been a new entry since we last posted. This was filed on 21 September: “Request and Entry of Dismissal (WITH PREJUDICE) Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner.” That’s it. No trial, no written findings, no final judgment. The case is over. Most litigation ends like that.

However, this is the internet, that strange and wonderful place where everyone can achieve his own version of cyber heaven and all our wishes can come true. So it shouldn’t be surprising that Mr. Armitage has been active on the internet. He posted an amazing YouTube video claiming he had won in court!

Shortly thereafter, he posted a comment to his own video, saying: “My legal team has asked me to re-word this video to more accurately describe the nature of the victory that we have won, so I will be suspending this video for a day or so while we re-record the audio. Thanks for your understanding!!”

The revised version is now what you’ll see at at that link, and the claims of courtroom victory have been toned down a bit. It’s three minutes long, and the last third of it is a plea from Armitage for money to continue his great work. Presumably, no university will ever hire the guy again, so we understand his need for funding. Hey — it’s a worthy cause, so send him everything you’ve got!

There’s also a story about the case at an independent student newspaper, The College Fix: Creationist receives six-figure legal settlement from public university. They have a comments feature. We’re exceedingly dubious, but here are some excerpts from the “news story,” with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A creationist scholar [Hee hee!] recently received a six-figure settlement from California State University Northridge, a payout that resolved a 2-year-old lawsuit that alleged the scholar had been fired after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops horn and publishing his findings.


Armitage’s attorney, Alan Reinach, called the settlement “groundbreaking,” noting that in his decades practicing law he is unaware of any other favorable settlement of this nature on behalf of a creationist.


In a telephone interview Monday with The College Fix, Reinach declined to state the exact amount of Armitage’s settlement, only that it was a six-figure dollar amount, “a substantial settlement representing about 15 times his annual part-time salary.”

So there you are, dear reader. Believe what you will. As for your Curmudgeon, we assume this is the end of the Armitage saga.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Mark Armitage Case — Chaos & Controversy

  1. michaelfugate

    Interesting that Reinach is both a lawyer and a Seventh-day Adventist minister.
    He seems to believe religion is under siege. I guess if you are a creationist, it might seem so.

  2. Armitage claimed victory, but I would note that since he settled his case out of court before a trial, it has absolutely zero value as a legal precedent. I also looked at the judge’s July 22 summary judgment order and it was, at best, a mixed bag for Armitage. The judge granted summary judgment in favor of Cal State Northridge on two of four counts AND denied Armitage the ability to sue for punitive damages. I’m thinking CSUN did the calculus here and figured out that it would be better to pay Armitage ~$400 K (according to Inside Higher Ed: rather than go to trial. The spokesperson for Cal State Northridge also noted that most of the settlement would go to pay Armitage’s attorney. Alan Reinach said it was 15 times Armitage’s salary, which would mean that Armitage was being paid a whopping $27K a year.

    I would keep this case in mind if one is defending a church-state separation issue involving higher education employment, but only as an example of how these cases fail. As grist for Armitage’s propaganda mill, the settlement is invaluable, however. *sigh*

  3. mirele says: “Armitage claimed victory, but I would note that since he settled his case out of court before a trial, it has absolutely zero value as a legal precedent.”

    True, but we must still wonder why he was paid such a large settlement. My guess is that there was some good evidence about someone at the university who was involved in terminating his employment, and who was also very disparaging about Armitage’s religion. That’s always a mistake.

  4. In relative terms I wonder if it could be considered large. A lot of the time it is cheaper to settle than to pay the legal fees associated with bringing it to trial. The university was possibly trying to avoid being penny wise but pound foolish.
    I wonder if part of the hiring process for professors if it is possible to get them to sign that they will not espouse young earth creationism? They could then be fired with no possibility of backlash against the university.