A hilariously conspiratorial justification by Clifford Shoemaker for harassing a blogger

I've written a lot about the legal thuggery perpetrated against autism blogger Kathleen Seidel by an unethical lawyer named Clifford Shoemaker, who issued a subpoena against her based on dubious conspiratorial thinking about her supposedly being a shill for big pharma. Shoemaker, in case you didn't know, is a lawyer who represents litigants suing vaccine manufacturers for "vaccine injury." In this case, he represented Reverend Lisa Sykes and her husband as they sued Bayer for alleged vaccine injury, and Kathleen Seidel had done a long post about Shoemaker's activities shortly before he issued the subpoena, which was clearly retaliation against Seidel. The subpoena itself was intrusive in the extreme and asked for all sorts of personal financial information; in other words, it was an obvious fishing expection. So egregious was Shoemaker's action that even David Kirby and Dan Olmsted couldn't stomach it.

Fortunately, Seidel's self-drafted motion to quash was successful, and Shoemaker was ordered by the judge to justify his subpoena. Now, Shoemaker has finally responded, and it would be utterly hilarious were it not a legal action that's deadly serious. It's well worth reading yourself for its tidbits of paranoia. (The bit about how Kathleen Seidel's husband David somehow has seized control of Wikipedia is especially precious.) Fortunately, Kathleen Seidel makes it hilarious by marking the text up with more than a little judicious linking to both useful and humorous sources and retorts.

Personally, I hope the court gives Clifford Shoemaker exactly what he deserves for his legal thuggery based on the "pharma shill" gambit.

More like this

Don't worry, grasshopper. The Overlawyered post is just a short summary of what happened. The real joy is reading Kathleen's blog! You must hover your mouse over the links to see what the lead to!

While one link will send you to her actual information sources (http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/), others will link you do Wiki definitions of "Google-fu", "thug", "Reptilian Overlord", "fantasy" and many more that are fun editorial comments.

I went and had a look at the blog entry.
I'm not a lawyer, but my knowledge of the law is perhaps somewhat better than Joe Average. From what I can see, Shoemaker et al. have the same chance as the proverbial snowball in hell.
If I had any money I'd donate to Seidel's cause, just to stick a finger in the eye of low-down crumbs like Shoemaker.

Ms. Seidel's principal co-conspirator, her husband, has apparently seized control of a web encyclopedia so that Ms. Seidel's opinions of vaccine witnesses are inserted into their biographies and into articles on , all to discredit them in a place where parents of injured children look for information about their child's disability and possible treatments.

Whew that was good. I needed a laugh this morning.

Rev. BigDumbChimp got a laugh this morning from Kathleen's blog. I read it every time I need a laugh, since there are so many things to laugh about. Why limit it to the morning? Shoemaker and his lawyer's have provided a month of mirth. At least a month.

And, when that runs out, the judge's decision will be even more entertaining.

Huh...from the post: http://www.neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/157

...by a person utilizing investigative ability well in excess of that available to the mother and housewife she claims to be...

Is Shoemaker discrediting moms from this debate? Do his minions know this?

Is Shoemaker discrediting moms from this debate?

Of course. Because everyone knows women who choose to have kids and work at home must be stupid. I suppose Shoemaker thinks men who choose to have kids and work at home must be stupid and insane.

Fortunately if you're a stay-at-home mom with an autistic kid Shoemaker will be there to help you, even if it means he has to claim in public that you're stupid.

He should have run this by his lawyer after writing it.

Ok, even if I don't agree with many of your views on this site, I have to side with you guys on this one. Being a lawyer, I can spot the signs of legal harrassment from a mile off. Mr. Shoemaker's subpoena is 100% BS.

This is reminiscent of Scientology's Fair Game policy! The question is, will Ms. Seidel respond legally? She certainly has every right to.

By Oy! What Bollucks! (not verified) on 20 May 2008 #permalink

"...investigative ability well in excess of that available to the mother and housewife she claims to be..."

At least he acknowledges her investigative ability - seems like this isn't entirely compatible with disputing her facts.

I sinerley hope Ms. Sidel is victorious in her efforts to bring sanity and evidence to the autism debate, and that this frivolous lawsuit is not only won (by her) but is used as a bludgeon against the woomeisters.

Having said that, I have a hypothesis of my own to offer concerning the rise in autism over the last 50+ years:

Since the rate of autism has continued to rise, despite the elimination of thimerosal in vaccines, we must look for *other* things which are misunderstood, yet have had a history of increase over the last 60 years. I suggest that the microchip fits that description perfectly. Since its invention in the 1940's the semiconductor has had virtually exponential growth, invading virtually every home in the industrialized world. These semiconductors are produced using some of the most toxic chemicals known to Man, some of which do not exist in Nature Silane gas, for example, explodes in the presence of oxyxen AT ANY TEMPERATURE. Another chemical used in semiconductor processing is Arsine, a derivative of arsenic, which is so toxic that by the time you are able to detect its presence by smell (it is said to smell like garlic), you have already inhaled a greater than lethal dose. There are many other highly toxic chemicals that are used, and we don't know what thier effects are, since they don't occur naturally (Hexa-methyl-disilazane, POCL3, Poly-Di-chlorosilane, to name just a few).

These chemicals may not be completely removed from the microchip after processing, and may be outgassing in our homes, in quantities too small to be readily detectable, yet are poisoning the brains of our children, since the brain of an infant is so much more at risk to minute environmental insults than is that of an adult.

PS, I am 99.99% tongue-in-cheek about this, it has no more validity behind it than does the mercury-autism link, I put it out for comparison only - a "correlation=causation" hypothesis.

The information about the chemicals is true, I worked in that industry back in the early 80's in central California. Those chemicals ARE nasty, deadly, sneaky, and they WILL hurt you if you give them 1/2 a chance.

By Blaidd Drwg (not verified) on 20 May 2008 #permalink

He is also apparently unaware of the meaning of "librarian". Library school does, in fact, teach you research skills.

Perhaps Shoemaker's between-the-lines justification is "the client made me do it!". Somehow that strikes me as the kind of thing a particularly weaselly lawyer might try. Note that the Rev Lisa Sykes says in her declaration:

"I understand that this Court seeks to know why a subpoena was served upon Kathleen Seidel in this action. It is because we believe that Ms. Seidel is an agent of the defendant and other drug manufacturers used to intimidate potential plaintiffs and witnesses..."

..dontcha love that ol' school pharma-shill gambit?

In fact, the rest of the relevant paragraph from Rev Sykes is worth a quote too:

" ...who seek access to the Courts of the United States due to injuries inflicted on their children by Thimerosal, a mercury based preservative used in vaccines and other drugs. This has had a direct effect on our ability to present this case and caused many potential witnesses to refuse to cooperate." (Italics mine)

Transl: We have a whole long-list of mercury crazies, 3rd rate for-hire doctors and fringe scientists we would like to call as witnesses. However, some of them who do not make their entire living testifying for hire at thimerosal obsession lawsuits have enough insight to see that if they turn up as a witness for us, someone like Kathleen Seidel will run an internet search to look at their track record. This may then focus attention on (e.g.) whether their science is discredited or full of holes, how many times they already appeared as an "expert witness for hire", whether courts threw out their testimony or noted that they had no relevant expertise, and so on.

Hey, it's perfectly logical. Shoemaker had to abuse the litigation process and harass a third party "witness" in order to protect the integrity of the litigation process and prevent harassment of third party witnesses.

Sounds like a cromulent explanation to me.

By Screechy Monkey (not verified) on 20 May 2008 #permalink

"...by a person utilizing investigative ability well in excess of that available to the mother and housewife she claims to be..."

This takes me back to those thrilling days as a child when I watched Superman on TV, and heard about his powers "far beyond those of mortal men".

Does Kathleen Seidel wear a cape (she has already demonstrated that she can leap a tall subpoena in a single bound) and blog at light-speed?

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 20 May 2008 #permalink

Does Kathleen Seidel wear a cape (she has already demonstrated that she can leap a tall subpoena in a single bound) and blog at light-speed?

No, but she does wield a Lasso of Truth.

That stupid lasso is back again?

We've been over this before. This is Noose(of something) country!

By Lucas McCarty (not verified) on 20 May 2008 #permalink

Why is it that only Kathleen's husband Dave is actually named as a co-conspirator? I was one of the named bloggers in the subpoena, but now it's just about the Seidels and some shadowy figures from Bayer and perhaps other unnamed co-conspirators. Did Cliffy learn that he didn't like being "Streisand affected" and so left the blog names out of the latest attempt at smearing others' reputations?

I hope Kathleen has enough pro-bono firepower that she can sue Cliffy, Lisa Sykes and Mark Geier into a significant level of poverty for their obviously false accusations and for the way they have defamed her character.

By anonymous co "… (not verified) on 20 May 2008 #permalink

Wow. You know, I clerked for a federal judge before starting practice myself, and I have read some doozies of craptacular briefs. This one is right up there. Frankly, Mr. McHugh (Shoemaker's attorney representing him on the sanctions issue) is in danger himself of Rule 11 sanctions, if you ask me. I mean, "seized control" of Wikipedia? That would be some seriously misleading stuff were it not, you know, so stupid. (The judge's clerks will no doubt recognize this for b.s. even if the judge doesn't.) Sometimes, as a lawyer, you really need to know when to stop digging.

Glenn, you are absolutely correct. The case is more than likely going to get thrown from court, and it would not be a bad idea at all for Ms. Siedel to file an harrassment and/or defamation lawsuit.

By Oy! What Bollucks (not verified) on 21 May 2008 #permalink

Glenn: What do you think about the argument of potential liability under 42 USC 1985(2) because she "BLOGGED" (play Darth Vader theme music) about the case and the Geiers?