A lawyer for a climate-change-denial group seeking records from scientist Michael Mann apparently failed to get advance permission from his then-employer EPA to work on the case pro bono.
"Last month, the University of Virginia won a legal battle to protect the private emails of one of its former researchers. The records had been requested by a group critical of the scientific consensus on global warming.
The close of the 20-month public records fight brought interesting documents to light—including some suggesting that one of the group's lawyers had misrepresented his employment status, and had been fighting the case while working a federal job, a potential violation of ethics rules.
On September 17, Judge Paul Sheridan of the Prince William County Circuit Court ruled that the Virginia Freedom of Information Act did not apply to data and records created in the course of scholarship. The decision barred the American Tradition Institute, a "free-market"-minded think tank, from accessing the emails of Michael Mann, a well-known climate scientist who previously worked at the University of Virginia."