Jul 23 2014

Another Lawsuit To Suppress Legitimate Criticism – This Time SBM

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30 responses so far

30 Responses to “Another Lawsuit To Suppress Legitimate Criticism – This Time SBM”

  1. mumadaddon 23 Jul 2014 at 9:02 am

    Nice work, Dr. N. Hopefully we’ll see the ‘Streisand Effect’ in action here again, and Tobinick’s efforts to quickly silence criticism will backfire in his face.

  2. mindmeon 23 Jul 2014 at 9:32 am

    Is he aware if he went to trial, a gofundme type site would spring up immediately and SBM would have the deepest pockets around to fight his lawsuit. It’s his retirement savings vs about a hundred thousand contributors.

  3. inconsciouson 23 Jul 2014 at 9:37 am

    I’ll echo @mindme’s sentiment there.

    Plus, there’s the publicity that this will undoubtedly engender (positive for SBM and negative for him). Hopefully the judge will just throw this suit out immediately so you don’t have to waste too much money.

  4. Bruceon 23 Jul 2014 at 9:38 am

    Mindme, I was thinking along those lines and checked SBM to see the follwoing Steve posted after someone asked about giving some financial support:

    “We certainly would welcome support. You can donate to SBM at the button above [on the SBM site], or to SGU Productions (http://www.theskepticsguide.org/support).

    Just tag the donation with “legal defense fund.”

    Or if you want to send a physical check, e-mail me directly and I will send you an address.”

  5. SARAon 23 Jul 2014 at 9:41 am

    My guess is he looked at a donation supported website and decided that there wouldn’t be enough money to stand up to him. He’s betting that all he had to do was spend more on lawyers than you guys are willing to spend and you guys would fold.

    Because surely he and his lawyers know that article is not something he can win against.

  6. Argument from the fifth gradeon 23 Jul 2014 at 10:07 am

    There are also organizations that help fight bullies using the courts to suppress free speech like Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen. If it gets too out of hand, perhaps some pro-bono work could be arranged.

    I’ve been following Public Citizen’s Paul Levy recently on Twitter, this seems right up his alley.

  7. carbonUniton 23 Jul 2014 at 10:10 am

    Ugh. Smalls like a SLAPP lawsuit.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation

    I’ve watched several of these play out in the e-mail spam fighting arena. The targets of these suits won, but got stuck with considerable legal costs. The highest profile case was Spamhaus v e360 Insight, where the spam source reporting organization was sued for $11/$130/$122/$33 million at various points in the process. As is the usual course of spammers, e360 went bankrupt. Spamhaus escaped significant legal costs because the law firm of Jenner & Block LLP took up the case pro bono publico.

    I realize you can’t discuss aspects of the case too much, but can you tell us where it was filed and provide a link?? What damages are they claiming? Are you setting up a defense fund? Hope this goes as well for Tobinick as it did for the BCA and e360 Insight. Or better, that it gets thrown out early on.

  8. carbonUniton 23 Jul 2014 at 10:19 am

    SmElls like SLAPP even…

    Found the case link.
    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/florida/flsdce/9:2014cv80781/443251

  9. Kawarthajonon 23 Jul 2014 at 10:43 am

    Steve, maybe you can help me understand this. How are doctors allowed to practice such unethical medicine? Aren’t there equivalents of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario out there that can step up and hold these guys accountable and remove their license to practice???? It is so frustrating to hear that in such a highly regulated profession, no one is holding them accountable. Where is the regulation? Where is the enforcement? Seems like the American equivalents of the CPSO have some work to do to investigate various well known Dr.’s whose practice strays very far from the acceptable standard of care.

    I know for a fact that other professional regulatory bodies will step in and hammer people if they step so far out of line that they are putting their clients/patients at risk of harm. They will also thoroughly investigate any complaints of wrongdoings. I have seen it first hand among colleagues.

  10. the devils gummy bearon 23 Jul 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Where is the regulation? Where is the enforcement? Seems like the American equivalents of the CPSO have some work to do to investigate various well known Dr.’s whose practice strays very far from the acceptable standard of care.

    America is full of quacks. It’s a highly quacky place. Many of my Canadian uncles and cousins, MDs, defected here in order to practice quackery. Steve or someone else in medicine/healthcare/public-health will have to explain to us the nuances and problems in and between the various state/local regulatory bodies.

    The real quacks end up in Florida, because it ain’t quacky enough above the panhandle. Anything goes Florida. Anything

  11. carbonUniton 23 Jul 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Florida is very scammer friendly, a great place to invest your ill-gotten gains! Rip off people for millions, invest them in a homestead estate in Florida and those assets cannot be touched by any judgement. http://www.alperlaw.com/asset-protection/florida-asset-protection/homestead-protection/ In the unlikely scenerio that Steve et. al. were to manage to sue for damages for a frivolous lawsuit and win, they might find the guy is broke, but owns a $10 million estate which are untouchable. (Hmm, why did OJ move to Florida?)

  12. the devils gummy bearon 23 Jul 2014 at 1:37 pm

    In FL, medical scams are really the one qualification for gubernatorial eligibility.

  13. the devils gummy bearon 23 Jul 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Oh, it also doesn’t help that our quacks, when they fail to satisfy their professional regulatory bodies, end up in the Senate. Or the House. Or statehouses. And the stupid money of “special interests”… Wow, we are a quacky place.

  14. mindmeon 23 Jul 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Check out his yelp reviews:

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/tobinick-edward-md-los-angeles

    I’m guessing people have been thinking about visiting him, googling, and finding negative articles. At least three Yelpers visited him and their own innate skeptical radars went off. Good to see most of them walked out only a little poorer.

  15. mumadaddon 23 Jul 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Why is this sort of medical quackery allowed to continue? That’s not a rhetorical question; let me elaborate with an example: hate speech is not stamped out because it violates the right to free speech. So, quackery is not actively stamped out because…. What would the downside to this be? Why is it not happening?

  16. Khym Chanuron 23 Jul 2014 at 3:37 pm

    You should try contacting Popehat (http://popehat.com/). They might be able to find you some pro-bono representation.

  17. Argument from the fifth gradeon 23 Jul 2014 at 4:27 pm

    After a little digging I got a PDF of the original complaint. It’s here:
    http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=41727657575973260995

    Good practice for Name That Logical Fallacy

  18. carbonUniton 23 Jul 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks ‘fith’ !!!
    I would caution everyone to avoid doing Tobinick’s attorney’s work for him in commentary here or elsewhere. That said…

    He’s claiming that Novella’s post is hurting him because it is coming up on Google withing a few hits of his. The search https://www.google.com/search?q=Edward+Tobinick currently returns two hits on him, the very credulous Wikipedia entry on him, then the SBM post.

    As mumadadd pointed out, he’s going to get a full dose of ‘Streisand Effect’. I can’t wait to see the Burzynski-ized version of that wikipedia entry, where currently is not heard a discouraging word.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Tobinick

    10,000 quatloos says he’s not going to enjoy what happens.

  19. tmac57on 23 Jul 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Skeptics tend to be a feisty bunch,so Tobinik had better reconsider if he thinks this will go away with just a blustering threat of legal extortion. He should think about the consequences of likely losing and what his Wikipedia page will say then.And lest he thinks that he will be able to control his Wiki,he should learn from Deepak Chopra et al.
    I’ve got your back Steve,just like I did with Simon Singh and Michael Mann. I know that thousands of others will do the same.

  20. Mark Hannaon 23 Jul 2014 at 8:09 pm

    A week ago there was a news story here in New Zealand about a family trying to raise $30,000 (NZD) to pay for a father who’d suffered from a stroke to be treated with Etanercept in the US: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11294688

    They’ve currently raised $16,666 (NZD) to pay for this treatment via donations.

    I wrote a letter to the editor of this publication about the ethics of charging such amounts for what should only be considered an experimental treatment, and providing them outside the context of a clinical trial, but unfortunately my letter wasn’t published.

    I hadn’t realised a doctor had “use patents” for this treatment, but I presume that means he’s the one acting so unethically. Shocking behaviour for a doctor, his actions make it seem as though he cares more about personal gain then providing ethical and effective medical treatment.

  21. Beerceon 23 Jul 2014 at 8:15 pm

    It’s too bad to hear about this. It’s a shameful loss of good resources. Best of luck and I’m with the others on hoping this backfires on him big time.

    “How are doctors allowed to practice such unethical medicine? Aren’t there equivalents of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario out there that can step up and hold these guys accountable and remove their license to practice?”

    Agree this should be in place, but will also add that although perhaps it’s slightly better in Ontario or Canada, we (Canada) also give wayyyyyyy too much authority and recognition to SCAMs. Take for example “Naturopathic Doctors” which are unfortunately allowed to use the title of Doctor right now. I think there was a recent SBM post discussing this a little bit. I’m personally ashamed of this type of nonsense in Canada.

    IMO just about every country/state/province needs to be harsher on medical BS. All that crap just slows down the progression of real medicine and wastes valuable resources. I’m getting worked up just thinking about it.

  22. carbonUniton 23 Jul 2014 at 11:00 pm

    The Streisand effect has visited his Wikipedia page. Not a very good edit though. Inserting “as-of-yet highly unproven” into the first sentence is just not right. It changes the meaning of an attributed statement and is just over the top. Gotta be even handed. Just present the facts. If only there were a group whose mission was to improve the skeptical content of Wikipedia pages …

    @Argument from the fifth grade, sorry I typo’d your name. I type worse than a fifth grader…

  23. Davdoodleson 24 Jul 2014 at 12:20 am

    A good first step here (in Australia, not sure if it works like this in the US) is to seek “security for costs”.

    Essentially, if you can give the Court a quick-and-reasonable basis for believing the claim is weak and that the plaintiff may not have the means to pay your costs when/if he loses, the Court can order that he (the plaintiff) pays an amount which will be held by the Court pending the outcome of the case. The defendant will be given the money if the plaintiff is unsucessful.

    Its a reasonably fair way to ensure that frivolous or hopeless hopeless claims are pursued at the risk of the plaintiff not the defendant, and works to really focus the plaintiff’s mind up-front about the wisdom of pursuing litigation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_for_costs
    .

  24. LDoBeon 24 Jul 2014 at 3:42 am

    @Davdoodles
    Given the sheer amount of frivolous litigation in the US (much of which comes from people who should be considered vexatious litigants and banned from the court for constant abuse of the public’s resources) it might be safe to assume that such a reasonable and seemingly effective solution as Security for costs is never practiced in US courts.

  25. mindmeon 24 Jul 2014 at 9:31 am

    I did notice his wiki page seemed pretty vanilla.

  26. pdeboeron 24 Jul 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I’m glad to see that SBM is the number 2 google result and several negative reviews follow.

    You have my support when you need it Steve!

  27. Argument from the fifth gradeon 24 Jul 2014 at 5:36 pm

    CarbonUnit,

    Not a prob. The name’s a little unwieldy. Long time lurker here and that Fullerton-bot or whatever he is had me feeling snarky.

    Better link btw is: http://goo.gl/uTPWAz it has both the complaint and Steve’s attorney’s response to the injunction motion.

    H/t this comment:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/07/23/legal-thuggery-directed-at-steve-novella-and-science-based-medicine/#comment-340486

  28. LDoBeon 24 Jul 2014 at 11:37 pm

    @Argument

    I just skimmed through Steve and his Lawyer’s motion for dismissal. Man, that’s gotta burn. Maybe Tobinick should take some Enbrel to reduce the swelling from that legal curbstomping.

  29. Kawarthajonon 25 Jul 2014 at 2:53 pm

    # Beerce

    “Agree this should be in place, but will also add that although perhaps it’s slightly better in Ontario or Canada, we (Canada) also give wayyyyyyy too much authority and recognition to SCAMs. Take for example “Naturopathic Doctors” which are unfortunately allowed to use the title of Doctor right now. I think there was a recent SBM post discussing this a little bit. I’m personally ashamed of this type of nonsense in Canada.

    IMO just about every country/state/province needs to be harsher on medical BS. All that crap just slows down the progression of real medicine and wastes valuable resources. I’m getting worked up just thinking about it.”

    I apologize to my US friends if I sounded like Canada is way better with respect to nonsense and medical bs than the American equivalents. Not true. We have plenty of woo, medical nonsense and other horrible things going on here too. Naturopathic doctors in Canada make my blood boil because of the terrible advice that they give people and the fact that, increasingly, people are encouraged by these so-called “doctors” to stop going to real doctors and just take their vitamins and other crap they prescribe.

    I was just wondering why the equivalent of the CPSO in the US hadn’t hammered people like this, as well as others like Dr. Oz or that “cancer” doctor (can’t remember his name currently) who treats people with pee.

  30. mindmeon 29 Jul 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Just made a paypal donation at the SGU site. Noted it should be earmarked for the lawsuit defense fund.

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