Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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Judy Mikovits has been arrested

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by santi, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

    Okay we'll just agree to differ:)
  2. jace

    jace Off the fence

    They are on Public Record. I give the Science Insider links as well as XrX and Oslers Web. I note you omit the dates, which I find very telling.

    22nd Sep BWG published
    29th Sep. Judy fired by phone and locked out of Lab in the evening at or outside her Reno pied-a-terre - this was reported at the time. The date is in the Science Insider report. At that time, we were told that Judy did not have her personal notebooks, and that the locks were changed on the lab.
    30th Sep Judy arrives back in Ventura at 11:30, having driven all night
    30th Sep ERV blog

    26th Oct Annette Whittemore on Nevada Newsmakers

    4th Nov Writ issued
    18th Nov Judy arrested in Ventura County
    20th Nov Mount Sinai Conference, that Judy was to attend.

    As far as I know, Max Pfost is still missing.
    taniaaust1, Wildcat and Enid like this.
  3. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    I think Mary is missing some facts here.

    The WPI has nothing to do with the arrest. They filed a police report when the documents were missing and brought a lawsuit to get their data back. Based on the facts of that lawsuit and I guess the police investigation it was the Judge who issued the warrant for her arrest - not the WPI. .
  4. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    It seems strange to me as well.
    Waverunner likes this.
  5. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    I don't if the Whittemores have any influence in the court system or not but I imagine that, as a matter of course, if some leaves the state after being told to stay in the state then a warrant will be issued for their arrest.
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Obviously in hindsight they should have done this and I imagine that larger corporations and Research Institutes are sure to secure all information in someones office BEFORE they fire them - but the WPI is a very small organization and they probably didn't even think that this could happen. They were naive....

    I imagine it won't happen again!
    Dolphin, Waverunner and wdb like this.
  7. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    How about possibly absconding with years of research data thus potentially causing the WPI to abandon fruitful work on CFS? How about taking off with proprietary research information that your contract clearly states you have no claim to? Do you agree with that? Have your opinions changed about Dr. Mikovits as well?
    Dolphin, taniaaust1, Sean and 3 others like this.
  8. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

    Los Angeles, CA
    "Judy is allegedly stolen [sic] her own stuff"

    No, it really isn't her own stuff. Work made for hire is contractually the property of your employer. It is not your own property.
  9. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    That's a very good question. Why not simply copy the notes and flashdrives and return the originals to the WPI? Then you don't ahve to retain an expensive lawyer, you're not liable for damages, the lawsuit is dropped and you can leave the state and go to your home in (relative) peace.

    The issue may not be what the WPI doesn't want out but what Judy Mikovits doesn't want the WPI to see. Given that the documents have not been returned - and the consequences of not returning them appear to be pretty harsh - why not just copy and return them? What would be so important that you would risk jail time, heavy financial penalities, a court fight etc.? THere must be a reason for that - but what is it?
    Sean, kurt, jenbooks and 2 others like this.
  10. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

    Couchland, USA
    Cort, it appears she was *already* in another state when the retraining order was issued. In the version we have seen, anyway, it says nothing about leaving the state. Either way, her lawyers would surely have advised her of the urgency of returning to NV if the felony count of fugitive was in play.

    This appears to be an added criminal charge, that cam out of nowhere. There appear to be separate hearings for the two charges, both scheduled for the same day, in different states. I am confused by why, when arrested on a friday, she has to wait until tuesday to see a judge for a bail hearing.

    Who would just sit at home if they were "fleeing from justice". Give the woman, and her legal team some credit :)
    ukxmrv, justy, jace and 3 others like this.
  11. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Thanks for the timeline - it was very helpful. Why wait such a long time? Because they were trying to work this out with Judy before they filed an expensive lawsuit that they knew would turn out to be a public relations nightmare for them.

    Judy can (or could :)) pick up the phone and talk to any of those people any time and she will be able to in the future.

    I want to point out that if that timeline is correct the WPI actually showed a good of restraint by waiting for a month before they filed a lawsuit. They obviously tried to work it out some other way.

    Imagine if you were a researcher working on a project for a long period of time and you came to work one day and all your data was gone!

    I would be boiling mad! I think they showed some restraint by waiting a month. There's a lot of sentiment about Judy being the victim and that's understandable given that she's spending a few days in jail - but the WPI has been victimized as well. They spent alot of money and time and I'm sure had a huge emotional investment in that data. That is what, after all, they hoped could cure their daughter - and to come to work one day and find it gone......and then to be unable to get it back.

    That would be terribly upsetting.
  12. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

    Couchland, USA
    What mary said.
  13. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

    This is absolute speculation, 'how about' 'possibly'? what on earth does that mean? I am not speculating about Dr Mikovits character, she has proven her worth to me in every way, in all her work and at every conference she has attended over the past 2 years. Am I wrong in thinking that people are innocent until proven guilty in the USA? No my opinions about her haven't changed, if anything I respect her more now for having gone through this situation, that has been brought about by the actions of the WPI.
    jace, Wildcat, dipic and 1 other person like this.
  14. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

    Couchland, USA
    Excuse me, but the data was, prior to its going missing, available to anyone authorised in the lab or facility to see.
    How could it be that suddenly there's something secret in there? It has never been under lock and key with respect to authorised personnel.
    ukxmrv, justy, jace and 5 others like this.
  15. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

    It's funny that everything you say is NOT based on speculation while everything other people say IS based on speculation. The fact that you have met Dr Mikovits is no proof whatsoever that she is innocent nor that the WPI did something wrong nor that she never knew about the court orders. We will see where things go from here on Tuesday.
    Dolphin and barbc56 like this.
  16. Joopiter76

    Joopiter76 Senior Member

    I cant believe that if the data was so important noone did a regulary backup an kept it at another place. The risk of a hard disk failure is always there just drop the notebook and it may occur, there is for sure a cloud and hard disk backup at another place.

    to have one notebook incl. drives with all the science information and nothing else is quite unbelievable and careless.
  17. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

    Waverunner, speculation, facts and opinions mean very different things, I am not speculating about Dr Mikovits, that is my opinion of her, and of the WPI, you of course are entitled to your opinions and speculations.
    jace and dipic like this.
  18. usedtobeperkytina

    usedtobeperkytina Senior Member

    Clay, Alabama
    I am going to speak on the libel issue.

    I have some personal experience in this matter as I was sued for libel and slander when I was editor and publisher of a local newspaper. The lawsuit included claims of libel based on comments made on the newspaper discussion forum also. Additionally, it included verbal comments I was alleged to have said to a source and information printed in the newspaper. (He didn't leave anything out, huh?)

    Also, the biggest libel case that went to the US Supreme Court came from my state, Alabama. That case is New York Times v. Sullivan. That case set a standard for libel in the case of reporters and the publishers.

    Just as a sidenote, I did not commit libel or slander and the attorney who filed the $2 million lawsuit against me is now sitting in prison for running a Ponzi scheme, which is what I was reporting on. (Wonder why I closed the paper? Well, that, and I was sick.)

    Also, an Internet forum libel case came from Alabama. This is Griffins v. Luban. In that case, the decision was that an Alabama court that ruled a Minnesota defendant failed to show and thus gave a default judgement was right. In other words, the Alabama court had jurisdiction even though the defendant did the posting on the Internet from Minnesota.

    One other noted case concerning Internet libel defined "publisher." Before Internet, a publisher (normally of printed material or T.V. or radio) had responsibility for libelous statements through their company because they had editorial control. In other words, they acted as a filter. They decided what went in the publication or over the airwaves. Thus, even if the info came from a third party, they were responsible because they did not filter it out.

    However, a library or book store is not considered a publisher as they have no editorial control over the material. They are distributors.

    This principle was applied in the Stratton, Oakmont, Inc. et al v. Prodigy Services Company. This was defamatory information put over an Internet forum from a third party. In that case, Prodigy claimed to be distributors, thus immune to the libel charge. The court said that since Prodigy moderated the forum, they are publishers exercising editorial control.

    So, if this forum is moderated, then whatever legal entity owns the site can be held responsible for libelous statements made here that are not quickly removed, even if the information came from an anonymous person posting as a third party.

    Now, what is libel? Interestingly, it depends on the person who is the subject of the information.
    The basics: The information must be put out for public viewing / listening or readership, identify the person, be false, be defamatory and cause injury or likely to cause injury.

    Now we get to an extra requirement depending on whether the person who is the subject of the published information is a public figure, limited purpose public figure or a private citizen.

    If the subject is a public figure then he/she must prove there was malice on the part of the publisher. The malice can be in what the publisher came up with on their own, like a reporter's story, or what was allowed by the publisher, as in a letter to the editor, an advertisement, etc. (And by the way, the Sullivan case was concerning an ad from a third party, but The New York Times was still responsible, the U.S. Supreme Court decided. But, Sullivan was a public figure, a police chief in Alabama, and thus had to prove malice on the part of The New York Times. On that basis, Sullivan lost. Court decided The New York Times had no malice.)
    If the person is a limited purpose public figure, then the requirement to prove malice comes in on information regarding the part of that person's activities that are appropriate for public concern.
    A private citizen or information about a limited purpose public figure that is about the part of their lives that is private does not require that malice be proved.
    And by the way, the burden is on the claimant, not the defendant, to prove these things.

    Some examples of public figures are politicians and movie stars. Anything and everything about them is appropriate for public discourse, and thus any defamatory information published must also meet the requirement that the person / company responsible had malice.
    Some examples of limited purpose public figures are doctors, business leaders and in my lawsuit, an attorney. We claimed he was a limited purpose public figure so claims of betrayal of his clients was a matter of public concern as he was state licensed and was an "officer of the court" and had an ethical obligation to his clients. Also, the lawsuits against him were public record. He was well known and had responsibilities of booster club money. Because the lawsuits were about his business dealings and finances, that was matter of public concern. But what his children do, where his wife worked, his past relationships, etc. had nothing to do with the matter of the lawsuits or his responsibilities as an attorney.
    And, its pretty clear what a private citizen is.

    Now, what is malice? Malice is motive to harm. But, the Sullivan case broadened that to include "showed reckless disregard" in publishing the matter. So, if they had reason to believe it could be false and made no effort to find out if it is true before publishing it, then malice could be proved.

    We had another case here in Bham where a reporter told politicians after a meeting, "I've got you now." Some of her information was inaccurate. They claimed malice because of her statement showing she was "after them."

    Another note, malice can be shown if the person defamed contacts the publisher with a request that the defamatory information be removed or that a correction be published and the publisher refuses to do so. It is not required to show malice. But the burden of proof is on the defamed person and he can prove malice if he let the publisher know the info was inaccurate and it was not removed. Refusing to remove or correct inaccurate information when you have been told it is inaccurate would show malice.

    The reason for the malice requirement on matters of public concern is so that publishers / reporters will not self-censor out of fear. Basically, the court said it is more important that free debate occur and allow mistakes than to have people afraid to put out information of public concern because they are afraid a detail is inaccurate and they will be sued. But, they should show diligence in trying to find out if is true.

    Of course, as in my case, anyone can sue anyone for anything. It's in the court where it is decided whether they met the burden of all the elements. Overall, though, making the burden higher discourages lawsuits just to keep people from putting out information that the public has a right to know. But as in my case, some people are still sued for libel even if though they didn't do it. So don't think that you won't have a lawsuit because you didn't commit libel. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. Then you have to get a lawyer to defend yourself. And that costs money. In my case, I lost $5,000 because that was the deductible on my insurance.

    Another point is "identifying the person." I notice something put on the Internet that spoke about claims made against a person but was obviously avoiding naming the person. Just to let you know, identifying the person does not require the name. If the person reading it can discern who it is by other information in the public domain, then the person is identified and if it is libel, then the burden is met. In other words, if people can figure out who it is, then the person has been identified.

    The main problem I notice on forums is that people do not understand the difference between an opinion and a fact.
    Facts are of particular actions or things said, usually. He did this. Mike broke into her house and stole her money. Politician John Smith paid his mistress with donated money for his campaign. He said, "I hate dogs."
    It does not change it into an opinion just be declaring it so. i.e. "In my opinion, Mike broke into her house and stole her money.." Or, "In my opinion, Politician John Smith paid his mistress with donated money for his campaign." "I think he likely said, 'I hate dogs.'"
    All of these are statements of fact. If untrue and defamatory and matter of public concern, then it doesn't matter whether "in my opinion" is put in as a qualifier or not.

    However, while from a journalistic standpoint and unfairness I don't like it, guessing as to motives is opinion and if a matter of public concern, not libelous. Why someone did something is unprovable. So it is a matter that can be debated, if it is a matter of public concern. As long as the actions / statements are accurate, what people think about them is protected as free speech.

    Sorry it is so long. But some were asking. Here is a reference:

    Also, while states may have some differing laws, the primary law on this is federal. So courts look to the federal cases. Reason is because defending oneself from libel always involves free speech or freedom of the press, which is federal law. So, defining and applying that is always involved in the cases.

    ahimsa, JAH, Mark and 5 others like this.
  19. livingwithcfids


    1. Sorry in advance for my language because I am very frustrated, but what a load of shit this all is. Talk about controversial; only in CFS would something like this occur. The very last thing we sufferers need is more grief and stress. This will put CFS back another year.

    2. I'm with Cort, let's stop arguing about who is right and who is wrong and instead focus on the central issue: What do these mysterious, secret lab notes contain regarding our illness? They are obviously very valuable to WPI. Unfortunately, we currently have more unknowns than knowns, and we deserve to know the truth. Only time will tell.
  20. max



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