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The Appeal Is On Dr. Wakefield District Court Decision Not Unexpected

Texas flagIn a disappointing, but not unexpected ruling Travis County District Judge Amy Clark Meachum said, Texas Courts do not have jurisdiction in the defamation lawsuit Dr. Wakefield filed against the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the journal’s editor, Fiona Godlee, and a journal reporter, Brian Deer.

“We feel confident moving forward,” said Ed Arranga, executive director of the Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund. “We will appeal the district court decision and welcome the opportunity to having our case heard by the appeals court. Our intent remains the same – to get the facts in front of a jury. The community remains steadfast in its support of Dr. Wakefield.” 

Sylvia Pimental, a mom and Justice Fund member, echoed the support. “We knew this would be a long fight before filing and have every faith the appeals court will rule in Dr. Wakefield’s favor. We believe Texas has a strong legal interest in protecting its residents from attack by foreign entities.”

Dr. Wakefield has 30 days to file his appeal from the date of Judge Meachum’s order. The case would be heard by the Third Court of Appeals, in Austin, Texas and the case may involve issues that are of interest to the Texas Supreme Court. 

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@Godfrey Wyl

These folk don’t play cricket. AW did not get a fair trial in front of the GMC – the drug cartels saw to that. The drug cartels would certainly have ensured that AW did not get a fair hearing of his libel suit in London. These guys are not cricket players. These are not friendly folk. These pharmaceutical corporations don’t play fair … and never have.

Seems to me that the judge has placed two hurdles in the path of justice for AW. He first has to win the appeal to establish his right to sue in Texas and then, if he wins, will have to revisit the anti-slapp issue. Given the conflicts the judge had in this case we have to question if this was not the intent behind her decision. I assume they will continue to cause as many legal delays as they can until AW runs out of money. After all it was money that prevented him from finally getting justice from the GMC. It is a David and Goliath battle with the added weight of widespread corruption.

"Couldn't AW file a claim in the UK to clear his name?"

Sure. Why didn't he in the first place? It is the most plaintiff-friendly venue for libel suits in the known universe, after all.

Bayareamom

It isn't over in Texas.

John Stone,

Couldn't AW file a claim in the UK to clear his name? I would think he would be able to seek remedy, but he'd have to file a claim as John Walker-Smith did.

Patricia

We are in uncharted waters with AW and the GMC. I believe basically he had to pursue his appeal within a month or so after the hearing concluded and this opportunity lapsed after he withdrew through lack of funding. We are now faced with anomaly that many of the findings which were never true, and have been shown not to be true in John Walker-Smith's case when heard in the High Court, still presently stand against AW and even Simon Murch (who was found guilty but allowed to continue practicing). There ought to be some remedy but it won't necessarlily come quickly.

John

William Benson
I am no lawyer and I am a UK resident. As I understand it the reason Wakefield deided to sue in the US for an action that initially took place in the UK is because the action then moved into a global arena and as John says it spread like wildfire throughout the US, which was of course the intention behind the action. Proper Malice on the part of Deer and Godlee in other words. Godlee and Deer were and still are determined to ruin this man, both personally and professionally with utterly false allegations of dishonesty and fraud.
Without delving into the archives I am also unsure as to whether AW could have still Appealed in the UK anyway. There may be a legal time limit on the case. Anyone out there who knows?
I think this question is academic anyway. I believe he has done the right thing in following advice to sue in the US. He is a resident of Texas. And legally he is entitled to do this as the Appeals Court should (should!) decide.

Interesting to hear AW sounding so confident and defiant now though, in the light of Discovery, which is what has now happened through this initial action, - I have the feeling he is finally becoming very angry and rightly so because of the depth of malice he has discovered. He is a quiet man of peace - not one who is quick to litigation, which is basically why good people have empathy for him and the spiteful feel threatened by him. The major drawback in the UK was his lack of legal funding when his Insurance company bowed out in the UK - a crucial mistake on their part. A huge pity he was not able to have responded then IMO - more swiftly to such gross lies and deceit. The best way of course ultimately to deal with deliberate distortions of the truth. A good hard powerful smack is what Deer and Godlee both deserve then and now. They have shown their true colours. Cowards, both of them. IMO.

Soooo... How is vaccination compliance and compulsory vaccination in Texas?

Wouldn't it better if Dr Wakefield appealed to the Court of Appeal as did Walker-Smith? Surely he would be successful there, especially since the March judgement!?

Is there a superior reason for litigating in Texas?

John, I'm not berating them at all! I asked about the issue of his residency because I didn't know the answer.

I do worry that he may not be getting legal representation that's as insanely strong as the opposition's. After all, Merck has the money to buy not only the very, very best legal defense, but the very, very best illegal defense. It's like fighting the Mafia, only worse.

I would still like to know if there is any legal precedent regarding his case. In this, the Age of the Internet, one would think that this kind of transcontinental defamation must have happened before. If so, when, where, and how was it resolved?

My husband is an attorney and although this issues with Dr. Wakefield's lawsuit area beyond his area of expertise, he has said essentially the same as that which I've just found at this website:

LINK: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_you_sue_some_one_in_another_country_for_a_defamation_of_character

Can you sue some one in another country for a defamation of character?

In: Civil Lawsuits, Civil Process, Small Claims [Edit categories]
Answer:
If you are in England you can sue someone in another country for defamation of character. If the action occurred in Siberia, then you can still sue the person in England. It does not matter if the person can not afford to get to England. You can only sue someone in the United States if you do it where the action occurred. You can however sue somebody in USA in a different state than you, you can also sue somebody in a different country for defamation of character if the assault was made publicly. It would be difficult to win or even get the claim to pass if there were no witnesses. (Source.: I'm a lawyer)


Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_you_sue_some_one_in_another_country_for_a_defamation_of_character#ixzz22db3yNUV

LISTEN TO DR. WAKEFIELD'S INTERVIEW WITH SHARYL ATTKISSON. This is the message no one wants to hear.
Controversy Over Vaccine Research
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTh97pANTxc
Oct 7, 2009
CBS News Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson asked Dr. Andrew Wakefield about the controversy surrounding his study on vaccinated and unvaccinated animals.
Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Andrew Wakefield on His MMR Study

Apr 8, 2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIsFW5phHas&feature=related

Natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Andrew Wakefield talk about autism, childhood vaccine safety, and his controversial MMR study.


Alex Jones: Deadly Inoculations with Dr. Andrew Wakefield
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUpahcqC2OM
Sept, 2011
Listen to Dr. Wakefield talk about VAERS and Gardasil (24 percent of VAERS reports related to Gardasil).
Wakefield discusses vaccines, AL, autoimmune disorders etc.

On the HPV vaccine, Wakefield: "One ...it's contaminated, two...the safety studies were never adequate in the first place--it was rushed to market. Even developers of the vaccine were concerned...about the way it was marketed. "

Taximom

I don't think there's any reason to berate AW's lawyers presently. I believe he's been a Texas resident since 2005, long before BMJ published these allegations (Jan 2011) which were launched globally, and spread like wildfire in the US media.

John

Every little battle we win makes Pharma's legal tentacles grow in number, reach and strength. No matter how wrong they are they always find a way to win. Might makes right. As long as Pharma controls Murdoch, Deer, Godlee, CNN, FDA, CDC, AMA, APA, medical school and whatever else I'm forgetting, their bottomless pockets will get them all the lawyers they need to get whatever they want. The case has and will continue to be disguised as not pharma related. Anyway I'm just not holding out too much hope for fairness and the correct outcome. Sorry for the pessimism. It depresses me.

Didn't the BMJ defame Andy Wakefield when Andy Wakefield was still living in London? If so, how would a Texas court have any jurisdiction about what the BMJ said?

If Dr. Wakefield was already living in Texas at the time, is there any precedent for someone living in the US to sue a British company for defamation, via a US court?

I do know what kind of political crap Dr. Wakefield is up against, but I am just wondering if his lawyer is the best, most intelligent, and most effective strategist.

In legal battles, the winner is not always the person who is hands-down right. We've already seen that.

I think if there's any possible criticism to our side (the Canary parents) as a group, it is that we are naive.

After all, we were the ones who followed the vaccine schedule, no questions asked.

Dr. Wakefield was naive enough to believe he could take on the pharmaceutical industry, single-handedly.

I always see parallels between the vaccine industry and the Nazis, and have written here about that a few times.

Well, we (the Canary parents)--we're kind of like the European Jews of the 1930's, who said, "this is the 20th century, we are all civilized people, these are our friends, our neighbors, they will never let anything bad happen to us."

Well, we know how that turned out.

And we're making the same naive mistake. We are saying, "the judges are civilized people, these are our friends, our neighbors, they will believe us because we are telling the truth."

Just like the Austrians and the Germans, they have been too heavily indoctrinated.

It's not enough for us just to tell the truth.

We have half a century of indoctrination and brain-washing to fight.

Benedetta,

yes it would be nice, but the un-speakables have a lot of money so it will be a long hard road .. but the celebration of final victory for Dr Wakefield will be sweet. and the victory will further weaken the wall of denial and just like that Berlin Wall it will finally and suddenly crumble.

Patricia

You attribute more knowledge to me than I have. There were good arguments why the case could be heard in Texas, and we have not seen the reasons why the judge preferred other arguments, but it also looks like she ought to have disqualified herself from sitting on the case.

John

I have a gut feeling that Judge Amy has taken the line of least resistance because she felt way out of her depth in this case. Throw it out on a technicality, it sounds like a real cop out to me.
John please can you explain to me how an Appeals Court can go against this ruling? It is surely a non ambiguous decision? I don't understand what an Appeals Court can do to overturn it?
The Wakefield counsel says they welcome the opportunity to bring the case before a jury, as do we all, since it is obvious, even to a lay person, that this is what Deer and Godlee fear the most.

"but not unexpected"?!

Oh right, you can totally expect a Texas judge to rule that it's okay for foreign publications to libel state residents with impunity. :S

Something is seriously wrong here...

Cassandra

I don't know for certain - normally litigation has to be commenced within a year. I don't know whether it could theoretically be transferred from the US.

John,

I know that Dr Wakefield lives in Texas.
However, it is my understanding that the libel laws in the UK are more favorable. Isn't that why the UK media was careful not to comment on Deer's allegations? I just want to know if a suit in the UK is still a possibility.

and so are the judges who are handling this being judged by their connections and stockpiles of stocks, etc. Who are they and who do they sleep with, etc.

The discovery, yeah!

Googling "Andrew Wakefield" in News, I see the public relations trolls have come out from under their bridges. They were relatively quiet after the lawsuit was filed.

Tim

I really don't know the answer to all of the legal issues here but I would point out that BMJ/Deer ran two actions - on the one hand they were asking the Texas court to dismiss the case, and on the other they were claiming it wasn't in their jurisdiction, and I am not sure how they could be allowed to pursue both arguments, but it would not surprise me if they lost the appeal over jurisdiction, if they were back with the Anti-SLAPP again.

However, they are obviously not very keen to defend their allegations in open court. That's certain.

John

I agree with John - This is not necessarily a disappointment. There are sometimes good reasons for a lower court to "take a pass" on a decision (Judge Meachum obviously knew there would be an appeal) if it means a stronger outcome for one party of the other - which party Judge Meachum is thinking about is another concern altogether.

Does anybody know what this means in terms of the BMJ and Deer's Anti-SLAPP case? I would guess it would remain open as long as the appeals process remains open. I also thought that the Anti-SLAPP case had to be resolved first. Didn't that need to be heard in order to determine whether or not Andy could even bring his lawsuit forward?

Cassandra

Texas is of course AW's home state. It is certainly the case that the BMJ's allegations, although published globally, had the most impact and coverage in the USA (more than in London or the UK), including in Texas.

I was in the courtroom when the arguments were made. The BMJ’s points turned on dreary legal language: special appearance, specific vs. general jurisdiction, and so on. Spectators were looking forward to lunch break.

Then William M. Parrish, Dr. Wakefield’s attorney, stood up. A long tall Texan wrapped like a hot dog in a black lawyer’s suit, wavy hair poking out on top, cowboy boots sticking out at the bottom, Parrish towered above the BMJ attorneys.

“Your honor,” he said, “let’s leave the legal language aside for a moment. This is a story about suffering children and their mothers and families, and a doctor’s decision to listen to them.” The courtroom came alive.

“On January 6, 2011,” Parrish continued, “Deer told Anderson Cooper, “If it is true that Andrew Wakefield is not guilty as charged, he has the remedy of bringing a libel action against myself, the Sunday Times of London, and against the BMJ. If he were found not guilty, he would be the richest man richest man in America. So why doesn’t he sue?”

“With those words,” continued Parrish, “Brian Deer put a chip on his shoulder, and that is why we are here and not in England. If you pick a fight with a Texan, you settle it in Texas.”

The battle has only just started. As Andy said, “Discovery alone has confirmed the extraordinary extent of the Defendants' deception and malice. An appeal will be filed and we will win.”

John,

Can you remind us why Dr Wakefield did not file his suit in the UK?
Is that remain an option?

Thank you.

Does this mean BMJ has free reign to publish what it wants and sell it in Texas with no governing authority having any say?

Clearly, this is a technical issue: there were good reasons why Texas was a suitable as anywhere and appropriate, but the judge seems to have preferred other arguments. If BMJ had lost they would surely also have appealed and this is going to be a long drawn out matter.

Yes, yes - but some times wouldn't it be nice if things were easy.

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