Monday, July 07, 2008

Don't Mess With Librarians.

Kathleen Seidel, a librarian/blogger has a website where among other things she discusses the alleged mercury-created autism epidemic. I haven't read her work but the sense I get is that she's skeptical of a linkage. Well along comes Clifford Shoemaker, Esq. who it seems makes his living suing people for giving children autism (whether that's actually possible is a side issue). Mr. Shoemaker decides that Ms. Seidel is bad for business and hits her with a subpoena which:

commands production of “all documents pertaining to the setup, financing, running, research, maintaining the website” — including but not limited to material mentioning the plaintiffs - and the names of all persons “helping, paying or facilitating in any fashion” my endeavors. The subpoena demands copies of all of my communications concerning any issue which is included on my website, including communications with representatives of the federal government, the pharmaceutical industry, advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, political action groups, profit or non-profit entities, journals, editorial boards, scientific boards, academic boards, medical licensing boards, any “religious groups (Muslim or otherwise), or individuals with religious affiliations,” and any other “concerned individuals.”

It seems Mr. Shoemaker has come to believe that Ms. Seidel is part of some enormous conspiracy with the pharmaceutical industry, not some innocent citizen expressing her First Amendment rights.

Fortunately the judge was not amused.

Shoemaker has not offered a shred of evidence to support his speculations. He has, he says, had his suspicions aroused because she has so much information. Clearly he is unfamiliar with the extent of the information which a highly-competent librarian like Ms. Seidel can, and did, accumulate. If Shoemaker wanted to know if Ms. Seidel was in part supported by or provided information by Bayer, he could have inquired of Bayer or limited the Seidel subpoena to that information. Instead he issued the subpoena calling for production of documents and a deposition on the day before he stipulated to dismiss the underlying suit with prejudice. His failure to withdraw the subpoena when he clearly knew that suit was over is telling about his motives. His efforts to vilify and demean Ms. Seidel are unwarranted and unseemly....

I find that Clifford Shoemaker violated Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b)(1) and Rule 45(c)(1).... The 11(b)(1) violation may also violate Virginia’s Rules of Professional Conduct .... Clifford J. Shoemaker’s action is an abuse of legal process, a waste of judicial resources and an unnecessary waste of the time and expense to the purported deponent.

Score one for the little guy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jenelle is very suspicious vaccinations. I'm not so much. She, however, is almost done with her PhD in Neuropsychopharmacology (She studies the effects of drugs and chemicals on the brain) I guess I am pointing this out to show that it is not just uninformed yahoos that distrust vaccines. Doesn't make her right, but does give me something to think about.

Leif is being vaccinated, but he is on a slower schedule, getting only one vaccine at a time.