James Randi has been sued over his Million Dollar Challenge. Arch-Skeptic James Randi states that he will pay one million US dollars to anybody who can demonstrate the existence of the paranormal under controlled scientific conditions, see: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html. However in May 2012 a George R Simpson of Florida USA filed a lawsuit against the James Randi Educational Foundation for fraud, misrepresentation ands breach of contract, see: http://www.bolenreport.com/feature_articles/Doctor's-Data-v-Barrett/milliondollarsuit1.htm. (The full court papers are here: http://www.etcorngods.com/complaint_randi.pdf). Randi's supporters have struck back, see: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/13664/P0/. This forum thread seems to be based on the personal incredulity the members feel for Mr Simpson's application. They express sympathy that the JREF rejected his application. However the complaint seems to make an entirely different point, one of malpractice on the part of the JREF, not of whether the phenomenon he is professing is valid for study or not. What Mr Simpson claims is that the JREF breached a contract, so this means that they had already agreed to process Mr Simpson's application and then wrongfully terminated it. Why did they do that? Why not just let Simpson do the preliminary test and fail, like so many others supposedly have done? Simpson states in section 36 of the court papers: "Why don't they return my phonecalls and emails? Is Randi afraid of my winning his $1 million?"
The JREF's solicitors filed a motion-to-dismiss which was overruled. That's all the information I can find so far about this case, which happened a year and a half ago. However, the fact that it all went quiet probably means that the parties simply settled out of court. What's going on here? This is an unexpected development for me because I always assumed that Randi's Million Dollar Challenge, whether it proved or disproved anything, was at least legally watertight. If you look at the application documents above they seem to have been written with the law in mind and I even used the Challenge as an example with which to compare the Crop Circle Challenge, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/crop-circle-challenge-2013.html. Is it possible that the Million Dollar Challenge has never been won because of more than just Lyall Watson's "Cosmic Nanny"? I don't have enough information on this situation yet to judge for certain, but this has to be looked into because if it turns out that Randi is cheating then it speaks volumes, not just about the true nature of the Skeptic Movement, but the reality of the paranormal too.
See here for an important background article on James Randi: http://hpanwo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/other-side-of-james-randi.html.