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Its lawsuit time . . .

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by Levi, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. busybee

    busybee Senior Member

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  2. xrayspex

    xrayspex Senior Member

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    count me in! just sent private note

    I want to help get more info out to the community, to people dx with cfs or fm etc that don't know about the xmrv research and the sketchy history of govmt w/cfs etc
  3. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    If it's the NIH job to study this: NIH To Launch Gulf Oil Spill Health Study, http://nihrecord.od.nih.gov/newslett...010/story4.htm

    Than why not our illness?

    GG
  4. kdeneris

    kdeneris

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  5. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    I know so very little about the laws, but it's obvious these government health institutions are breaking many of them. Well, it would surely be considered "breaking the law" if it were me doing it. In my work as a Nurse, if I made a bad judgment call and that harmed a patient, that could be considered malpractice or even negligence. If I were to realize my error and attempt to cover it up which results in more harm, that's criminal negligence. If that one covered up error causes harm beyond that one person and say....most of the patients on that wing are seriously negatively affected.....there is no way that isn't criminal behavior. I would be sued, jailed, and never work as a Nurse again. Someone tell me how this differs from what the CDC has done with CFS? There is mountains of documented evidence that this is a biological disease, and there is just no justification for them not knowing this. Yet what we get is not only denial of this fact, but propaganda that negated any possibility of us getting help and that has resulted in suicides, losses beyond calculation for individuals and society as a whole. I don't see how there is any question of them breaking laws. That's obvious. I think the real question is can we actually succeed with suing a government health institution...and one that is extremely cunning with distorting truth. They do have blood on their hands and with the right plan, that could be proven and won.

    I think a lawsuit, or at least brainstorming the possibility is way overdo. I like the contingency idea. What's to hurt getting some big firm opinions on this idea. I think it will be powerful advocacy if done right. As far as an award just taking money from the taxpayers pockets....well, that's where all that other research money comes from. We could give some of it to WPI to get things done right for a change. It's not about anger or revenge.....it's just the right thing to do. Justice will do so much good in so many ways for our community. Thanks for spearheading this Levi.
  6. kdeneris

    kdeneris

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    I wanted to say a bit more about my background, and also to say that this project needs people with various talents and skills to get off the ground. We need attorneys to head it up, but other people need to be involved in fund-raisng, media campaigns, public relations campaigns, etc.

    I am not an attorney, and would not be qualifed to head up the organization. I do have some legal training, not much, but I had to leave law school before the end of my first year of year of study because I was too ill with ME/CFS. I initially went to law school because of my longstanding interest in disabilty law, and my experiences trying to get adequate services in the public schools for my ASD children. Ironic, huh?

    Before that I was a college writing instructor, and also after that, I was the lowest of the low in the academic pecking order, an adjunct. (I did achieve the title of "Lecturer" right before I left teaching in 2007) Among other courses, I taught courses in grant writing, and professional communication, especially for health professionals. I have one academic publication to my credit. I've also worked as an instructional designer/technical writer for a corporate, e-learning company that specialized in web-based instruction. My clients included Toyota, United Airlines, Shamrock Oil, Tesoro Oil, Qwest Communications, Morgan Stanley, etc.

    I belonged to an advocacy organization in the past called Justice and Economic Dignity for Women. JEDI women, in fact. I worked on the newsletter, and was once ejected from the Utah State Legislature for participating in an organized act of civil disobedience.

    I have also taught my classes at the University of Utah while dressed as a zombie, in order to protest the conditions of academic labor and lack of academic freedom for most professors, the untenured adjuncts. The adminstration didn't appreciate it too much, but my students certainly enjoyed it, and so did I. Except the part where I had a skin reaction to the latex in my make-up :)

    I filed an ethics complaint against my immediate supervisors at the University of Utah, because they were trying to force experienced professors who had long been writing their own syllabi and choosing their own books, to only use the department approved syllabus, and to only use the books written by the three tenured professors in our program. In other words, they were ripping off the students for unconscionable amounts of money, breaking state laws and university codes forbidding such conflicts of interest for state employees, and violating the academic freedoms guaranteed to professors in their own by-laws. More than 100 graduate students and adjunct instructors were affected, as were the thousands of students required to take our courses, every year.

    The immediate result of my action was to be pursued and harrassed by Fox News reporters, who followed me from my car to my classes, filming me as I walked and saying that I didn't "look disabled." I was also spied upon by a number of colleagues, as well as students who were planted in my classes by the administration to keep an eye on me, or get me to say something that would be damaging to my cause. Old friends and former allies ran for cover, or made false accusations, or insulted me in public. Others who supported what we were trying to do initially got scared and ran for cover when they saw how down and dirty the administration was willing to get.

    So while all these experiences were not equally pleasant, they were all highly educational.
  7. kdeneris

    kdeneris

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    The real questions are: which laws are they breaking? What evidence is available to prove those claims? If it isn't immediately available, how can we get it?
  8. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    I can only compare to my own work in the health occupations field where I am expected to perform at a level of competency within my qualifications and scope of practice. If I fail to perform within that standard of care and it causes harm, I will surely be in court on charges ranging from malpractice to criminal negligence, depending on the circumstances.

    For over 2 decades they have been presented with plenty of documented evidence pointing to the fact that ME/CFS is not only a biological disease, but most likely an infectious one. This evidence is never found as abnormalities in psych diseases alone...which they have pushed as the cause for 25 years, in spite of bountiful proof disproving this erroneous idea. Qualified medical professionals over the years have pleaded with them to consider this evidence. They also pleaded with them to consider that CFS was not a new disease, but actually one already in existence called ME. Because of their refusal to acknowledge any of this evidence, and instead create a non disease out of thin air, there has been great suffering and death. This evidence is not vague. It's very clearly documented and this alone seems enough to me....but add on the possibility of an infectious disease epidemic allowed to spread as a direct result of this negligence......

    I like the idea of consulting with law firms on a contingency case. But again, I know so little about the law (except for when I would get thrown in the pokey as a kid)
  9. kdeneris

    kdeneris

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    Hi, Cloud:

    I think we would almost have to look for an established law firm to file a class action suit. Law is so specialized, and the type of suit we are talking about is so complex that we would otherwise have no hope of winning.

    Maybe an initial goal could be to find volunteers who are willing to spend time putting together a proposal and gathering evidence. By doing so, we could help get some of the law firms interested in taking our case. We would need to be quite persuasive, since taking such a case on contingency is a huge investment of effort, time, and money for a law firm.

    Another issue we have is that in a class action suit, we would be filing suit against the government. Government officials are generally shielded from civil prosecution. There is no standard of care, or competence, that bureaucrats have to meet. However, government officials are not immune to prosecution for every, single type of misconduct or error. So we do need a very talented litigator to find the holes in that shield, eventually.
  10. Rafael

    Rafael XMRV+ Member

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    I went to a talk by lawyer Russell Howe - he does a lot of CFS related work in Canada. But no class action type experience in U.S.. (I'll send a link to his slides and audio recording later in appropriate forum folder)
    I asked him afterwards if something like this had a chance and he gave a few interesting opinions:
    1) Consider as an example the class actions against tobacco and asbestos. Good science was suppressed at the expense of many individuals' health.
    2) Find a specialist in US in this kind of action and get them to take it on for a % of successful outcome.
    3) Worst thing to do is gather $$ in a fund. Some lawyer will just spend it before you get anywhere - If someone takes it on, believes they can win it, they will do it for %.

    I won't quote him but I got the feeling that its normal business that Govt and insurance companies are well aware of the cost if ME was suddenly more legitimate, more easily diagnosed - and will act accordingly

    So I agree with previous poster Kdeneris on next steps
  11. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    I think it needs to be worldwide and against the governments as well, they are the ones allowing medical abuse to continue on. Through hospitals, the ambulance service, pysch wards, gps, pyschiatrists etc.

    I still wake up every morning and think i'm having a bad dream, that how on earth could we all be treated so badly by a so called "caring" industry and society. It's inconceivable.
  12. kdeneris

    kdeneris

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    Rafael, comparing our situation with those who brought class actions against Big Tobacco and abestos. If you haven't read "A Civil Action," you should -- it's a legal thriller that helps those of us who aren't attorneys understand the difficulty and complexity of a class action law suit. It's also a very sad book, because these families were suing in many cases because their children had died of cancer, the result of companies illegally dumping chemicals into their drinking water. Proving causation in this case was quite the task -- as it currently is for us.

    A significant difference is that we believe we have been harmed by the actions of our government. That makes our task more difficult in some ways.

    I also don't think our community could or should try to fund a class action lawsuit. Our pockets aren't deep enough.

    Kim
  13. kdeneris

    kdeneris

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    It is inconceivable. It's worth doing anything we have to do, to make it stop.

    I would also like to see an ME/CFS legal fund set up to help individual sufferers with their specific legal issues. There are existing laws that can help protect us from discrimination in employment, healthcare, and education.
  14. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

  15. Mya Symons

    Mya Symons Mya Symons

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    Has anyone else tried to contact any lawyers in the United States? I contacted a few medical malpractice attorneys and attempted to explain the history of CFS, the CDC, and XMRV. They all said no. Maybe I am contacting the wrong type of lawyer or perhaps it is that CFS name again. It has been a long time and I can't remember much about law. Is there anyone on this forum who has worked in law and can remember it, would know which lawyers to contact, knows alot about the history of CFS and can tell a compelling story. If so, could you contact some attorneys? Is it not the right time? Will it ever be the right time?

    (Used to be a legal assistant/paralegal a long time ago in what seems like another life. I don't remember much, unfortunately)
  16. xrayspex

    xrayspex Senior Member

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    yes, sounds right on
  17. kdeneris

    kdeneris

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    As long as doctors are following the recommendations of the CDC or other "best practices" kind of guidance that currently recommends CBT or GET, I don't think they can be successfully sued for malpractice. Unless a doctor does something that constitutes malpractice under current law and guidelines -- like miss a medical diagnosis that should have been obvious. At this point, even if it can later be proved that what your doctor did for you was wrong, the fact he or she was acting in good faith, and according to the current standard of care. protects him or her from liability for malpractice.

    I think we may be approaching the time when class action or public interest lawyers might be interested in us, however. This will depend upon two things: 1) has scientific consensus(or some semblance of it) been reached about the role of infection by a retrovirus in ME/CFS? 2) Is there money to be made, or some compelling civil rights issue to be resolved? (Depending upon the answer to the second question, class action attorneys or civil rights attorneys/public interest law firms could be contacted.)

    Sueing the government or individuals who work for it is known to be difficult, and not always lucrative even when successful. However, I have recently seen some interest in the XMRV virus on disability rights attorneys' pages -- this is of immediate importance for them in helping to establish that people with ME/CFS qualify as disabled under the law.

    Thanks for posting the wiki link, Cloud. I'm not a lawyer, (and none of the above constitutes legal advice) but I do think a smart attorney could fnd more than one cause of action in that long, sordid, history of government malfeasance and nonfeasance.

    Kim
  18. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    "Thanks for posting the wiki link, Cloud. I'm not a lawyer, (and none of the above constitutes legal advice) but I do think a smart attorney could fnd more than one cause of action in that long, sordid, history of government malfeasance and nonfeasance".



    Welcome Kim.....The list shows a pattern of attempts (over many years) by our government health agencies to denigrate every new valid discovery made in regards to a biological etiology for this disease.
  19. kdeneris

    kdeneris

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    Thanks, Cloud! I'm originally from Oregon, but grew up partly in Mendocino, and partly in the Bay area.

    Yes, we should all be very concerned about the lengthy pattern of successful attempts to denigrate every valid discovery pointing to a biological, not psychosomatic, etiology for the disease. Because they appear to be continuing at the CFSAC right now, and those tactics have worked really well for them in the past.
  20. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    Shouldn't we be able to sue the gov't for misfeasance? or at least for misuse of taxpayer dollars? I don't care if we get any settlement or not. Preferably legal fees only (actual amount of fees incurred), because the funds would be coming right out of money available for research (unless we can somehow reach the pockets of actual individuals responsible or their liability insurance).

    I care about establishing precedent that this is not an acceptable way to respond to "MUS" and not ok to ignore good science and not ok to malign, patronize, and ignore patients.

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