Librarian Says Academic Press Has Settled Lingering Lawsuit Against Him

The Edwin Mellen Press’s lawsuit against a blogger who criticized it appears to have come to an end.

The case started in 2012, when Herbert Richardson, the press’s founder, sued Dale Askey, a librarian at McMaster University, in Ontario, for more than $1-million over his assertions in a blog post two years earlier. Mr. Askey had called the press “a dubious publisher” and some of its books “second-class scholarship.” Many in academe viewed the lawsuit as a bullying tactic and a violation of academic freedom.

Mr. Askey said in an email interview on Wednesday that although a final court order was still a couple of weeks off, he and the press had reached a legally binding settlement that “mutually releases all parties from any claims.” No money changed hands between the plaintiff and defendant, wrote Mr. Askey, who otherwise declined to give specifics about the settlement because he didn’t want to have to consult his lawyer again.

He described libel cases as “essentially a test of means, where the deeper pockets too often prevail.” But in this matter, at least, neither side won.

“The outcome of this case is essentially a neutral outcome for academic freedom,” he wrote. “Both parties walk away from the matter admitting nothing and resolving nothing.”

The Edwin Mellen Press had already dropped another lawsuit, for $3-million, that it filed against Mr. Askey and McMaster University in relation to the same blog post (although the librarian was not an employee of the institution when he wrote the item).

In the 1990s the publisher unsuccessfully sued the now-defunct Lingua Franca magazine for libel over an article critical of the company.

On Wednesday, Mr. Askey tweeted:

No one at the Edwin Mellen Press could be reached for comment.

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