Friday, April 4, 2008

How to Treat a Bully

As the father of an autistic child, I often worry about my son becoming the victim of a bully. Today, I became aware of a situation that reminded me that bullying is not exclusive to the halls of your local elementary school or the public park.

A Bully can be defined as "a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people."
Apparently, Clifford Shoemaker and his clients, Reverend and Mr. Sykes, failed to consider the last portion of this definition prior to issuing their subpeona to Kathleen Seidel.

You see, Kathleen does not strike me as being someone who is weaker than anyone else, or as being someone who is likely to take bullying and intimidation lying down.
Please review, therefore, her post at in which she describes the circumstances of the issuance of the subpeona and follows that with a 17-point Motion to Quash Subpeona that has now been filed. I have no legal background, but it certainly appears to me that Kathleen has offered a vigorous and compelling set of arguments for the consideration of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire.

The patently obvious effort at intimidating a private citizen who has no bearing on the outcome of the Sykes vs. Bayer case provides a crystal clear example of the lengths to which anti-vaccine activists and the ruthless trial lawyers who steer them will go. Considering the fact that my blog among many others was named specifically in section 5 of the subpeona, I am proud to stand with my fellows in the online community against this baseless harassment and infringement on Kathleen Seidel's personal right to research, analyze, and publish information about ... well ... any damn thing she wants to.

Here's to hoping that Mr. Shoemaker and his gold-digging clients get a lot more than they bargained for when they settled on bullying as their stratagem of choice.

Liz at I Speak of Dreams has taken the time (thank you, Liz) to keep a running list of blogs and other internet locations who have offered reactions to this situation. Based on a recent count, I may be about the 40th person to let my feelings be known on this travesty.


dkmnow said...

Outstanding post!

I am Kathleen, and so is my wife!

Oh, wait -- I'm not even married.



Club 166 said...

Great post, Steve.

I'm just hoping that someone like Keith Olberman picks this story up for his "World's Worst Person" of the day segment on his show.


Foresam said...

Go Cliff!!!

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

In Finland, we have one word to describe the Shitmaker fellow...


David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

"Go Cliff!!!"

Instructions on cliffs for the simple and feeble-minded there:

1- Find one.

2- Jump off it.

Ed said...

Excellent post Steve.

I would bet these people are already aware that they will get more than they bargained for this time.

Fraudulent lawyers, their gold digging clients, and bullies of all sorts, seem pretty week and small in lots of ways. If they really had something to offer why would they keep trying to steal what they think they want from other people?

Sometimes all you have to do is say the word bully and one shows up.

Liz Ditz said...

What Shoemaker was trying to prevent Seidel from making public:

Numerous decisions issued over the twenty year history of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) document the extent to which the limits on attorney compensation have been tested by practitioners seeking remuneration from its taxpayer-financed coffers. The following review summarizes decisions involving the recently-sanctioned VICP specialist Clifford Shoemaker, Esq. -- a central instigator of the campaign to convince the public of the speculative, scientifically unsupported hypothesis that a significant number of cases of autism result from vaccine injury, co-founder of the Institute for Chronic Illnesses, and a founding member its Institutional Review Board, which sponsors and provides ethical oversight of medical research and experimentation on autistic children and adolescents conducted by his long-time colleague Dr. Mark Geier.

The potential for procedural and billing improprieties by Vaccine Injury Compensation Program petitioners’ attorneys — especially those representing numerous clients with similar, speculative claims — is made painfully evident in Special Master Denise Vowell’s recent fee and cost decision in Carrington v. HHS, Case 99-495V (Fed.Cl.Spec.Mstr., June 18, 2008) (unpublished), posted to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims website three days ago.