Anti-Quackwatch "Defamation" Litigation ROARS Forward...
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
Thursday, February 1st, 2007
It's not easy, these days, being a "quackbuster." What with the (1) public humiliation surrounding recent High Court decisions (2) rejection by the US Court System of "quackbuster" "expert witnesses," (3) pointed questioning of "quackbuster" credentials (3) internet, and other successful public challenges, of the quacker's activities, and much more, the "quackbusters" have really fallen on hard times.
The "quackbuster" flagship, the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), sank beneath the waves in 2003, after the NCAHF lost several lawsuits in California including (1) the NCAHF v. King Bio case - where delicensed MD Stephen Barrett and Wallace Sampson MD, the author of the presumptuous "Scientific Review of alternative and Aberrant Medicine" were officially declared to be "biased, and unworthy of credibility," (2) in a separate action the NCAHF was tagged with over $100,000 in attorney fees they can't pay, and (3) The NCAHF lost their 501C(3) non-profit status in California.
It appears that, now, the NCAHF is run out of cardboard box in the back room of Robert Baratz's, it's President-For-life, hair removal salon in Peabody, Massachusetts. Apparently, no NCAHF Board meetings have been held since 2003 - and there are none planned.
But those problems seem to be just stage dressing for the beleaguered group. It's the currently lawsuits filed against them, and those they can't extricate themselves from, that tell the real story - and they tell the story with flair.
One of those is the six-year faltering assault by Barrett (of quackwatch.com infamy) and Polevoy (Canada's bargain-basement Barrett) against world-renowned author/researcher Hulda Clark PhD. Recently, one of the defendants, Ilena Rosenthal was successful at getting the case against her dismissed at the California Supreme Court level. Rosenthal, and her attorney, are actively pursuing collection of the attorney fees awarded by the Courts. I estimate those fees to be over $200,000. Unless Barrett, Polevoy, and Grell (the Plaintiffs) pay those fees soon, and in full, the Court may not let the rest of the case, flimsy as it is, and poorly written, proceed at all.
The Harrison v. Barrett, Botnick, et al case...
The Harrison v. Barrett, Botnick, et al case is the one to watch right now. For it points out clearly, right from the start, how poorly Stephen Barrett's quackwatch.com articles really are; how poorly researched they are, how poor the authors actually are, and how generally unsubstantive quackwatch.com actually is. It will probably be the case that ruins quackwatch.com for all time as a resource.
Why is that? Because Barrett, apparently, was so desperate to find somebody to bash the Chiropractic profession he didn't bother to check his sources when he engaged Allen Botnick to write an article for his website Chiro bash-a-thon. And, now Barrett's going to pay for that. And, frankly, it's about time somebody called Barrett to task for his sleazy offerings.
What's going on to give Barrett indigestion? (insert laughter here) Barrett can't produce Allen Botnick in a Court of Law. Attorneys for Harrison have been searching high and low for Botnick (to serve him with a summons), who for whatever reason, is NOT at any of the sixteen(?) addresses he claims in five different States.
It is obvious that Botnick is not going to stand behind his words he wrote for Barrett, and Barrett published on his website, first under Botnick's name, then under his own.
At first, when I heard about the difficulties finding Botnick, I wondered aloud whether Botnick was one of those made up characters "quackbusters" like to use on the internet. Polevoy, Barrett's brown-nosing Canadian operative, was caught not long ago, using the name "Mary Teasdale," in communications.
But, apparently, there really is an Allen Botnick, for I hear that the other day Allen's "Mom" accepted legal service for him - I guess Allen was taking his nap at the time... "Mom," I'd guess, later, woke Allen up with a glass of milk, a cookie, and a Summons to Appear in a Pennsylvania Court.
Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate