As we focus our attention on the prosecution of Roger Clemens down in Washington, we’re reminded that there is a defamation suit against him chugging along up in New York. That one was filed by his former trainer Brian McNamee, and arises out of Clemens’ statements on “60 Minutes” and elsewhere as he engaged in his P.R. assault on McNamee following the release of the Mitchell Report. Today there was a decision: Clemens’ motion to dismiss the claim in its entirety was denied. Two individual counts, however — intentional infliction of emotional distress and malicious prosecution — were tossed out.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress claims are almost always tossed. It’s a claim dating back to an era when everyone had fainting couches and doctors prescribed medicinal bleedings in order to cure bouts with the vapors. I may be wrong, but the last time one of those was successful, the case involved some scoundrel causing a woman in a whalebone corset to suffer a terrible fright by falsely telling her that her husband was run down by Phaeton carriage. At any rate, people are expected to have thicker skin these days, and unless you’re, I dunno, clicking the trigger of a gun next to the temple of someone that kind of claim tends to not have any legs.
I have no idea about the malicious prosecution claim. I think I researched that claim once about a decade ago. My vague memory of it is that those are often throw-in claims too and tend not to be successful very often, but if you have more recent experience with it, by all means, chime in below. The upshot is that McNamee’s defamation claim against Clemens is still rolling.
And I think the most important thing to remember in all of this is that Roger Clemens would not be subject to this lawsuit or to the prosecution he’s facing if he hadn’t acted like a total nut case in the couple of months following the release of the Mitchell Report. And in light of that, this is all highly entertaining.