Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kathleen Siedel v. Clifford Shoemaker: The court should sell tickets.

I wish I could link to a design that directly benefits either Kathleen or her long-suffering pro-bono council, who really should not have to put up with crap like this. That's a hint, by the way. I'd do it pro-bono.

But it's all been well worthwhile, I think; if nothing else, it's establishing just how stupid the people wasting all our time are - and how stupidly they persist in trying to demonstrate that they are NOT stupid!

My wife refers to this as being stereotypical of sorts of Special Needs students. Not the mentally retarded, but rather those with about an 80 IQ; those who know that it's important to look smart, try very hard to mimic the forms, processes and intellectual formulas of smart people - and dull enough to think that the facade they present is indistinguishable from actual intelligence.

Anyway, a brief recap. First, the Shoemaker Slappoena was tersely quashed.

From the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, Case No. 1:08-mc-00013-JM:

ENDORSED ORDER granting MOTION to Quash Subpoena.

Text of Order: “Granted. Attorney Clifford Shoemaker is ordered to show cause within 10 days why he should not be sanctioned under Fed R Civ P 11 – see Fed R Civ P 45(a)(2)(B) which requires that a deposition subpoena be issued from the court in which the deposition is to occur and Fed R Civ P 45 (c)(1) commanding counsel to avoid burdensome subpoenas. A failure to appear will result in notification of Mr Shoemaker’s conduct to the Presiding Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.”

So Ordered by Magistrate Judge James R. Muirhead.
(Entered: 04/21/2008)

Order (.pdf format)

It's probably unwise to attempt to read emotions into it - especially for me, considering my Spectrum Membership - but the terseness and choice of wording would suggest no particular effort to preserve Shoemaker's dignity before the Court - or any other court. Shoemaker has apparently ignored the order to show cause; speculation being that in his absence, the court may assume bad faith and issue financial sanctions while, were he to appear in court under oath his attempts to explain could well lead to disbarment.

Meanwhile, Sykes v. Bayer itself, the given reason for the overweening and over broad subpoena has been dismissed with prejudice.

So you would think that would be the end of the matter. But this is not occurring within the land of common sense or even within the meaningful bounds of Common Law. We have now been led past the Swiftian Cloud-Cookoo Land and into The Realm of The Whackadoodles. Alas, Swift himself never discovered this land, because he had no internet access.

You see, apparently Shoemaker believes (or is willing to allege before a court in hopes of finding a particularly credulous judge) that Kathleen Siedel the leader, or at least part of of some Vast Autistic-Scientific Conspiracy that exists for the sole purpose of depriving him and other anti-vax professional crusaders, researchers and "expert witnesses" of their due and just income. They have actually gone to this well before.

Kathleen dryly summarizes the current state of Shoemakerean Thought, before executing an Onion-Worthy hyperlink-Fisking of the various pleadings.

Elements that should be of particular interest to the online community include these assertions:

• that a single individual (in this case, my “principal co-conspirator” and husband of 25 years, Dave Seidel) can exert covert control over Wikipedia;

• that principled, non-violent criticism, advocacy, and sustained focus on complex, controversial topics should be legally defined as criminal harassment by those who object to one’s opinions;

• that skill at using Internet search engines, publicly-available databases and other information sources should render one legally vulnerable to invasive scrutiny by hostile parties;

• and that the only writers who should be entitled to benefit from the reporter’s privilege are those who ask no pointed questions, express no personal opinions, and reveal no embarrassing information about the subjects of their inquiry.

You really have to read through this with your cursor hovering over the links.

I pick one at more or less random - there are pages and pages, all Pure Comedy Gold.

From the section entitled:

Response of Clifford J. Shoemaker, by John F. McHugh, His Attorney, to the Order to Show Cause Dated April 21, 2008

5. Faced with the specific harassment of witnesses and parties to this lawsuit, by a person utilizing investigative ability well in excess of that available to the mother and housewife she claims to be, justifies inquiry as to whether any of her support and information originates with this defendant or its affiliates, employees or industry organizations is legitimate. There is circumstantial evidence of a link between these activities, i.e. Ms. Seidel’s fixation on this case and her apparent easy access to hard to obtain information about the parties and the witnesses. If a party to litigation is engaged in intimidation of witnesses, the court, in which that case is proceeding, has an urgent interest.
All of this is of course helped by the sheer absurdity and presumption of the arguments - eg, we learn from the section titled Declaration of Lisa Sykes that it is somehow a tortuous harm to bring attention of a factual and serious financial conflict of interest to a person's employer, in that it may negatively impact one's employment, or one's ability to successfully pursue said financial conflict of interest.

16. Ms. Seidel’s commentary against all these faith-based efforts followed the filing of this action in Pennsylvania. It had the effect of impugning me to those in my denomination with oversight for my conduct of my ministry. She also insinuated that I have misused my pastoral office in a far-fetched attempt, which she asserts I mischaracterized as a “valiant search for justice,” to manipulate my denomination for the specific purpose of bilking pharmaceutical companies of millions of dollars:

Rev. Sykes has represented her campaign as a struggle between good and evil, a valiant crusade to protect the most vulnerable individuals in society from heartless, indefensible baby poisoners, a battle against dark forces responsible for perpetrating heinous crimes against humanity and stealing from children “the future that God intends for them.” The situation is not so simple as that. The current litigation-inspired “vaccine safety” crusade is also a for-profit enterprise in which Rev. Sykes and her colleagues have a significant financial stake. That stake — as well as the full range of arguments and evidence relevant to the “vaccine safety” debate — should be fully disclosed to all persons invited to consider her arguments, the evidence she presents to support them, and the “experts” upon whom she relies.

17. Not only does Ms. Seidel accuse me of withholding information from my superiors about the lawsuit, a charge which is patently false, but she also grandly suggests that my Bishop, the Women’s Division, and others have improperly discharged their offices by supporting my efforts to make vaccines safer:

• Does the United Methodist Church and Women’s Division require that its leadership and staff disclose conflicts of interest with respect to their church-related responsibilities?

• Have either Rev. Sykes or Kelly Kerns ever fully disclosed the extent of their involvement in vaccine-injury litigation to the congregations, Methodist colleagues and superiors to whom they appealed for support of their “vaccine safety” campaign? Was Women’s Division executive Julie Taylor aware of Rev. Sykes’ status as plaintiff in a twenty million dollar product liability lawsuit, or aware of the size of her legal team, when she planned and announced the upcoming “educational event,” described families who subscribe to unproven theories of autism causation as “marginalized,” and characterized their efforts as a “search for truth” and “questioning”?…

• Did Rev. Sykes disclose to the United Methodist Church and Women’s Division the fact that the “team of researchers” who spoke at their press conference are all consultants to plaintiffs in vaccine-injury litigation, and that their claims and methods are accorded little credence within the medical and scientific community? Did Bishop Kammerer exercise due diligence prior to committing church resources to support Rev. Sykes’ campaign, and prior to using the authority of her position to lend credibility to and create media opportunities for Rev. Sykes’ expert witness associates?

18. Ms. Seidel’s efforts have damaged me personally, as intended. Recently, the senior pastor at the church to which I am currently appointed by my Bishop, suggested to me that the congregation might not request my reappointment for the following year, as some congregation members had taken exception to my advocacy work on the issue of mercury. In addition, a new member of the church who heard that I was in an upcoming PBS documentary on the issue, walked into my office some weeks ago, and said, “There are some really mean things about you on the Internet.” I would wager that these members have searched the internet and read Ms. Seidel’s posts, as the church publicity on my advocacy work has only affirmed me in my efforts.

I mean, folks, as completely unintentional humor goes, it doesn't get any better than this. But then we realize that it actually does! Not only did these persons choose to say things such as this aloud, in public, before God and Everyone, but each statement is followed by this legally required boilerplate.

"I declare this 12th day of May at Richmond Virginia, under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.


Oh, honey. I believe you. I really do!


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