Publisher Sues Librarian for Libel, Seeks $3 million in Damages
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on Feb. 8th that the Edwin Mellen Press has sued librarian Dale Askey for libel and is seeking damages of $3 million. Askey, currently employed as a librarian at McMaster University in Ontario, wrote critical comments about Mellen Press publications in a blog while employed at Kansas State University in 2010. One of the legal actions brought against Mr. Askey, and his current employer, was filed in the Ontario Superior Court. This Notice of Action states Mellen’s claims and includes the original blog post and comments.
The case raises important issues related to academic and intellectual freedom of university employees. The Association of College & Research Libraries Board of Directors has called on Mellen to drop the action. Professors across North America also have criticized the action; for example, UNI Professor Martha Reineke has started an online petition calling for Mellen to end the suit against Askey and McMaster.