Facts, facts, who’s got the facts?

“I was so unhappy with the way that some people refused to accept the facts,” Hillary Clinton confided in an interview with The Associated Press last week.

It was an audacious comment, even for her, given how long the outgoing Secretary of State had dissembled about the slaughter of Americans in Benghazi and how scrupulously she avoided providing real answers during her recent long-delayed testimony before Congress. 

How could anyone be accused of refusing to accept the facts when no comprehensive set of facts has ever been provided?

The interview calls to mind the famous observation attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan decades ago: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

If Moynihan was understandably frustrated by people who invent their own facts, what might he have thought of people who dispense with facts altogether, insisting that they simply don’t matter, and then accuse their interlocutors of refusing to accept the nonexistent facts?

The folks at Garlock Sealing Technologies had their own run-in with nihilistic nonsense last December when a Houston law firm suing the company moved for summary judgment. Garlock had accused the firm of making fraudulently inconsistent claims about the origin of a client’s mesothelioma.

In a Dec. 5 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina Charlotte Division, Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas LLP asserted that there is “no genuine dispute as to any fact.”

No genuine dispute as to any fact? How can that be, when Garlock says the firm made inconsistent claims and the firm says it didn’t?

In its 19-page response to the motion, Garlock charged that the firm’s brief “is a misstatement of Texas law and further offers a selective and tilted ‘record’ on which it contends this Court should dismiss claims that Garlock has asserted with every detail possible in a concealment case.”

Hmm. That sounds like a genuine dispute – the sort of thing that requires a trial.

More Stories