Sykes v. Seidel

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Last updated on March 23rd, 2010

Thanks

Thanks for explaining the case so clearly.

I wrote more about it (perhaps not as cogently, though) at

http://thizndat.blogspot.com/2008/04/i-am-kathleen-freedom-of-speech.htm...

with some additional references to other bloggers who also have been threatened, and with ideas for what people can do to help.

Shoemaker has hired someone

Shoemaker has hired someone to defend his subpoena in an attempt to avoid sanctions, and in doing so is making allegations against Seidel:
http://tinyurl.com/4y9yp8

Also, the underlying case has been dismissed:
http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/155/

Seidel, Public Citizen Urge Court to Sanction Shoemaker

For those who have been following the case of Sykes v. Bayer, we have an update. This is the case in which disagreement over whether mercury in medicines causes autism was turned into a discovery witch hunt. Kathleen Seidel backs her position regarding autism on a Web site devoted to issues involving autism, disability and other topics. Among other things, her Web site criticizes Lisa Sykes, who is suing Bayer and believes mercury does cause autism.

Recall that on April 21, the court quashed an incredibly broad subpoena from attorney Clifford Shoemaker, who represents Sykes. Shoemaker did not just request that Seidel release her correspondence with Bayer; he also demanded all of her documents pertaining to the issues she has written about on her Web site, as well as all of her correspondence with attorneys, physicians, the federal government, non-governmental political organizations, religious groups, and scientific and academic boards. To make matters worse, Shoemaker tried to defend his discovery demands by accusing Seidel and Bayer of conspiring to defame Sykes.

On Tuesday evening, Public Citizen, on behalf of Seidel, filed papers arguing that sanctions against Shoemaker were appropriate because the requests in his subpoena were irrelevant to the lawsuit against Bayer and “abusive and burdensome.” In its brief, Public Citizen cites the Supreme Court case Reno v. ACLU to support its argument that anyone can present “findings and conclusions” freely on the Internet if he or she so chooses, and argues that the use of discovery to harass a critic warrants sanctions. For more information, visit http://www.citizen.org/litigation/forms/cases/CaseDetails.cfm?cID=477.

Thanks for the update

Thanks for updating us on this. I've added the latest filing to the entry.  It makes a compelling argument that sanctions are warranted in this case.

   
 
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