Barrett Gets His Come-Uppance
- In Federal Court...
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
November 7, 2002
Shunned by his fellow MDs in Pennsylvania's LeHigh Valley, Stephen Barrett had been forced to shut down his "Psychiatry" practice in 1993 - the "Referrals" were getting a little slim. Now, Barrett operates a tawdry little "quackbusting" business out his basement in Allentown, PA. His flagship is his website "www.quackwatch.com". There, he spews hatred, calling it Consumer Advocacy, of his betters in the health profession - and offers to testify to his ludicrous claims for money.
Of course, like a cornered rat defending his last position, Barrett lashes out at anyone who comes close to saying the truth of his situation. Barrett lashes out with litigation, or the threat of it. This is a story about that...
Yesterday, Stephen Barrett got stunned by Federal Judge Michael R. Hogan. Hogan didn't like one of Barrett's lash-out litigations, and strongly told him so in legal language...
Hogan is the Judge in a case Barrett filed suit against one of his critics, one Darlene Sherrell, an anti-fluoride advocate and activist, who openly argued with Barrett and questioned his sources and credibility. Sherell, a sixty-three year old woman by herself, is so allergic to the effects of fluoride and other chemicals she fled to the island of Grenada some time ago, where she built herself her own one room house to live - away from the chemical world.
In moment, I'll send you to a website to read the case decision (Judge Hogan's words), and more about the case - and you'll enjoy reading it. But first let's look at what happened to get to that point.
Barrett sued Sherrell, first in Pennsylvania local court - but the case was dropped due to lack of jurisdiction. At the time, attorney's fees for the case were paid by Sherrell's good friend Phil Hegin, who had also been sued. Before the second suit, the one filed by Barrett in Federal Court in Oregon, Hegin died. Barrett collected a $5,000 settlement from the dead man's estate.
Of course, Sherrell didn't have any money to defend herself... So...
She began to defend herself by e-mail to the Judge's court clerk. She didn't even have a printer, to print out legal documents, to mail to the court from Grenada. Then it got close to the trial.
Less than a month before the trial, a leader in the "anti-fluoride" movement called and asked me if I new an attorney who could come in and help Sherrell, this late in the case. The movement had someone who could put up a reasonable amount of legal fees. My answer was "Let me get back to you, shortly."
Shortly then, in comes Southern California's civil litigator, and my buddy, the infamous Carlos F. Negrete. Carlos tells Sherrell, and her team, "If I can get the Judge to admit me into the Federal bar there in Oregon, let me have discovery rights to Barrett, and give me a short time extension by postponing the trial for a couple months... - I can win this one for you..."
The Judge gave him all three - so he went and won it. You can read the Judge's decision at http://www.rvi.net/~fluoride/decision.htm .
But let me give you the "street language" translation, first, to guide you through the legal jungle. What the Judge is saying to Barrett is "Why did you bring crap like this into my courtroom? Go read a lawbook, you idiot...and get a life..."
I wonder if Barrett will get the message...