Naturopath Sues Twitter After It Bans Her Account For Spreading Medical Misinformation

from the lololololololsuit dept

We recently discussed the case of a man who thought Facebook owed him $10 million per day in damages for moderating his posts in which he deployed the n-word. According to this person, Facebook violated about half of the Constitutional amendments when it decided — as a private company — that it would not serve as the plaintiff’s bullhorn while he shouted racist terms in a crowded social media platform.

But that was a pro se lawsuit, one the plaintiff — with no legal training or expertise (despite listing himself as “attorney-in-fact” on his Facebook profile) — thought would net him millions of dollars a day for being nothing more than his hateful self.

This lawsuit [PDF], however, has an actual lawyer behind it. And by actual lawyer, I mean a lawyer whose representation may be less useful than no representation at all. The lawyer helping the plaintiff bring this constitutional violation lawsuit against Twitter is David Yerushalmi, perhaps best know for being a bit bigoted himself.

David Yerushalmi (born 1956) is an American lawyer and political activist who is the driving counsel behind the anti-sharia movement in the United States.

Wikipedia helpfully notes this Jewish lawyer is highly critical of “liberal Jews, progressive elites, and black people.” So, those are his credentials. He is the co-founder of the “American Freedom Law Center,” which is really more about pushing its particular take on America than it is about protecting American freedoms. Here’s part of its mission statement:

AFLC is first and foremost a public interest litigation firm. It aggressively seeks to advance and defend our Nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage in courts all across our Nation.

Not sure what that has to do with suing Twitter on behalf of someone helping spread disinformation about COVID, but that’s where we are. Yerushalmi’s client is none other than confirmed quack Colleen Huber, last seen here trying to sue a reformed naturopath for informing readers that Huber’s anti-cancer advice (I hesitate to call it “medical”) would probably kill any cancer patient who took it.

Colleen Huber does not use conventional chemotherapy or radiation. She treats cancer with intravenous baking soda, vitamin C, and other “natural” substances, while instructing patients to cut out sugar from their diets.

Huber is a “certified” naturopath. The scare quotes are there for this reason:

Nowhere in any of her “research” that I could find did she write that she obtained written, informed consent from her patients/research subjects. Nor did she write that her “research” was approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov. These are fundamental ethical requirements for research on human subjects.

But don’t worry, Colleen Huber is a founding member of a naturopathic Institutional Review Board that has apparently approved her research.

Those are some of the words Huber sued about. She filed a defamation lawsuit in Germany targeting reformed naturopath/current skeptic Britt Hermes. The good news is Hermes won, despite being sued in a country where defamation can be (and very often is!) considered a criminal act.

Unsurprisingly, Huber is, shall we say… a vaccine skeptic. During the course of her Twitter affairs, she shared articles and made posts that were considered misinformation by Twitter. Twitter moderated her posts. Then it banned her permanently. That forms the basis for this hilarious lawsuit. For the moment the lawsuit resides in an Arizona federal court. (It will likely be moved to California once Twitter gets involved and invokes the terms it imposes on Twitter users, which include Twitter being able to move all federal legal action to its home state.)

Let us gaze upon this comical masterpiece of stupidity and wtf-ness… perhaps not in all of its glory, but at least the best parts.

You don’t have to be a lawyer (at least one not employed by the American Freedom Law Center) to realize what’s wrong with this opening statement.

Defendants Twitter and Dorsey, operating jointly and conspiring with Defendants Biden and other federal government officials in the Biden Administration (Defendant John Doe(s)), is engaging in viewpoint discrimination—the most egregious form of content discrimination—in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Hint: it’s not just the verb conjugation.

While it’s true that Joe Biden could violate rights by getting personally involved in moderating Twitter accounts, it’s impossible for Twitter to violate rights, no matter how much viewpoint discrimination it engages in. The First and Fifth are safe when Twitter’s involved. Moderation efforts aren’t constitutional violations.

The lawsuit moves on to name the defendants and discuss the internet and its current position as the greatest communication tool ever invented. Then it attempts to pin constitutional violations on Twitter by completely (and conveniently) misreading the Supreme Court’s Packingham decision.

Consequently, social media, particularly including Twitter, is exceedingly important for worldwide human communication and thus provides important forums for that communication.

As, as stated by the U.S. Supreme Court: While in the past there may have been difficulty in identifying the most important places (in a spatial sense) for the exchange of views, today the answer is clear. It is cyberspace—the “vast democratic forums of the Internet” in general, and social media in particular. . . . In short, social media users employ these websites to engage in a wide array of protected First Amendment activity on topics “as diverse as human thought.”

Packingham v. N.C., 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1735-36 (2017) (citations omitted).

While Huber and her lawyer may have misapprehended the gist of the Packingham decision (perhaps deliberately so), it’s unlikely a federal judge will. Packingham said the government couldn’t prevent people from using social media services, declaring a North Carolina statute that prevented sex offenders from using these services unconstitutional. It says nothing about private companies preventing citizens from using their services. And, unless Huber has a whole lot of evidence saying President Biden is directly participating in Twitter moderation decisions, there’s nothing in the Packingham decision that has any bearing on this case.

The idiocy continues directly after the citation of precedent that actually isn’t precedential when applied to this complaint.

Denying a person access to this important social media forum based on the content and viewpoint of the person’s speech on matters of public concern is an effective way of silencing or censoring speech and depriving the person or organization of political influence and business opportunities.

Due to the importance of social media to political, social, and commercial exchanges, the censorship at issue in this Complaint is an unmatched form of censorship.

Consequently, there is no basis for qualifying the level of First Amendment scrutiny that should be applied in this case.

Claiming something is the worst thing that has ever happened doesn’t make it legally actionable. There’s no First Amendment (or Fifth Amendment) right to a Twitter account, no matter how dire the phrasing in the complaint.

The lawsuit is also stupid about Section 230, seemingly considering this immunity a “power” social media platforms exercise with the government’s explicit blessing. But before we get to that, let’s pause and admire the heavy lifting the word “belief” is doing in this assertion.

Upon information and belief, Dr. Huber’s suspension from Twitter was a conspiracy and/or joint action between Twitter and unknown officials in the White House, sued herein as John Doe(s), who have engaged in the unlawful conduct alleged herein pursuant to their official government capacities under the direction and, ultimately, control of Defendant President Biden.

Do all the discovery you want, but I doubt you’ll find Huber’s suspension involved any input whatsoever from Joe Biden or his administration. Twitter is perfectly capable of banning people on its own, even sitting presidents. That Biden may have made comments (which are quoted in this suit) that platforms needed to do better containing the spread of disinformation is not even remotely close to the same thing as “conspiring” with Twitter to shut down Huber and other anti-vaxxers.

Now, here’s where Huber and her lawyer say dumb stuff about Section 230.

Section 230 permits content- and viewpoint-based censorship of speech. By its own terms, § 230 permits Twitter “to restrict access to or availability of material that [they] consider[] to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.”

Section 230 confers broad powers of censorship, in the form of a “heckler’s veto,” upon Twitter censors, who can censor constitutionally protected speech and engage in discriminatory business practices with impunity by virtue of this power conferred by the federal government.

The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any benefit of censorship conferred upon Twitter by the federal government.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Just absolutely wrong. Section 230 immunity is not a “power.” It simply shields platforms from being sued over moderation decisions or for content created by users. People who run into this immunity — which Huber certainly will — may think it’s a “power,” but it isn’t. It doesn’t give platforms new rights. It simply shields them from being used as an easy-to-sue proxy when users are angry about things other users have said or, in this case, when they’re angry about being shown the door by the owner of private establishments. In this case, it’s Twitter, rather than, say, the local bar, getting sick and tired of someone’s endless bullshit.

When you fail to understand the Constitution, the rights of private companies, Section 230 of the CDA, and prior Supreme Court decisions, you end up with word salad for section headers.

FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF (Twitter COVID-19 Policy—First Amendment Freedom of Speech)

Salad spinners engage!

Section 230 of the CDA, facially and as applied, permits Defendant Twitter to restrict Plaintiff’s speech, and the speech of those similarly situated, based on the content and viewpoint expressed by Plaintiff’s message, and the respective messages of those similarly situated, in violation of the First Amendment.

Section 230 has caused, and will continue to cause, Plaintiff and those similarly situated to suffer undue hardship and irreparable injury, entitling Plaintiff and those similarly situated to declaratory and injunctive relief.

This will go nowhere. Well, to be fair, it will probably go to a California federal court and then go nowhere. There’s nothing in this that can be sued about. If Huber doesn’t like being booted from Twitter — and she clearly doesn’t — she’s welcome to take her naturopath business elsewhere. But, sooner or later, she’s going to run out of receptive hosts. This isn’t Twitter violating rights or Joe Biden personally deciding Huber needs to STFU. It’s just business. And Twitter doesn’t want hers, for a number of reasons it’s under no legal obligation to justify.

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Comments on “Naturopath Sues Twitter After It Bans Her Account For Spreading Medical Misinformation”

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43 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What’s a poor lawyer to do, when an idiot walks through the door during an initial consultation and, despite being warned that the lawsuit was remarkably unlikely to succeed, that the prospective client will almost certainly need to hire an additional lawyer in a different state, AND quotes three times his normal price, the idiot says "okay, you’re hired"?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m not exactly moved to empathy visavi Yeruskalmi whose open racism is at the point where a 1950’s grand wizard of the KKK might have to ask him to tone it down a little;

"Yerushalmi is against what he views as a politically correct culture that doesn’t openly discuss the reasons "the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.""

That a lawyer in the 21st century thinks it important to discuss why 18th century white people saw fit to bar women and black people from the vote as if that time’s mindset had relevance…really says it all. Their reasons aren’t relevant as the disenfranchisement based on race and gender was racist by definition.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Once a nut always a nut I guess

Well if you can say one ‘positive’ thing about her it’s that she seems to be consistently crazy, no half-assing it for her with moments of sanity getting in the way just unrelenting batshit insanity and it sounds like she found a lawyer that’s a perfect fit for her.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Title Translated

So, you’re saying that Twitter exercised its own freedom of speech?

No matter how much you lie about the motivations, they’re free to do this, despite your communist attempt to have the government seize it and prevent it from exercising its speech on its own property.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Title Translated

Citizen with Different Beliefs than Medical Establishment Sues Fascistic Twitter After It Bans Her Account For Spreading Free Speech

Nutjob Quack with Different Beliefs than Medical Establishment Sues Fascistic Twitter After Meeting Lawyer In Search of a Sucker

Fixed your fix.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Title Translated

Feel free to pump you blood full of NaHCO3!
Assuming you somehow survive come back and tell us how it went.
Lol.

If you think pumping a thinning agent via IV is a good thing for treating cancer I’m not likely to trust anything else you say “medically”.

Do you have a clue how this works in blood?
It starts as a thinner. Breaking down the blood’s makeup. Bonding to the metals and creating metallic salts while releasing electrolytic materials into surrounding tissue.
The thinned blood will allow the metallic salts to travel more freely. Unfortunately this has two major, potentially deadly side effects!

The first is the large dose of non-soluble metals that pass through the kidneys.

The second is the potential for bound clots.

Ouch.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Title Translated

It’s also the best option we have for many things. At some point medical science will come up with something that achieves the same result as chemo or radiation with less odious risks and side effects, and nobody in their right mind will continue to push the latter. Until then, we’re stuck between the harsh realities of life saving medicine, and kooks who actively kill people by convincing them to use voodoo instead.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

"Judeo-Christian heritage"

stares

Is this the new version of heritage not hate?
cause like the founding fathers might have been all jeebus likers, but made a point of not including jeebus in the law so they course force their religious views on others with the force of law.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Is this the new version of heritage not hate?"

This is what the wiki has on Yerushalmi.

"Yerushalmi is against what he views as a politically correct culture that doesn’t openly discuss the reasons "the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.""

Bluntly put he argues there may have been good reason to ban black people and women from voting and thinks it’s "politically correct" to assume there isn’t.

That’s about as openly racist as the proclamations from white trailer trash hollering they’re being victims of black racism since bars toss them out when they start using the N-word.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re:

People who say that are just ignorant fools.
Let’s keep in mind a few things.
A) there were no Jewish colonies. So your already flat out wrong. adding judaeo- is just a way to say not Islam.
B), the founders, the colonies, were Protestants. Fleeing catholic tyranny.
C) many of those colonies willing accepted agnostics and atheists as they were enemies of “the church” a many great times were written against the Catholic Church in these colonies. While the books are clearly atheistic they use “the church” as a generic; allowing an out for the Christian publishing companies.
D) god exists in the constitution for one single reason, appeasing the Delaware representation who refused to, like with the declaration, sign a document without “god”.

There is no Judaeo-Islamo-Christian heritage. The founders went out of their way to keep religion OUT of government.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"adding judaeo- is just a way to say not Islam. "

Yeas, but it does so without bringing old testament scripture to the table and debating the "sons of abraham".

"the founders, the colonies, were Protestants. Fleeing catholic tyranny. "

In some cases, yes. Lest we forget, however, a number of colonies weren’t fleeing "tyranny" so much as they were fleeing ethics. No scarcity of colonies founded by the 17th century equivalent of a modern televangelist or actual cult. You can say a lot about british law but it did not take kindly to communities keeping their neighbors on the straight and narrow with pitchforks and burnings.
The actual tyranny being fled came later when old King George decided to turn his powerless colonies into cash cows.

"…god exists in the constitution for one single reason, appeasing the Delaware representation who refused to, like with the declaration, sign a document without “god”."

And to this day hapless americans keep paying for the founders not being able to stick to their guns, as the various sects and cults keep quibbling about how "under God" means every child needs to be taught to be a good christian.

Lostinlodos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“And to this day hapless americans keep paying for the founders not being able to stick to their guns“
I agree. But there’s a missing aspect to that reasoning.
From the founding unit the civil war states were, generally, self governing.
The “religion of Delaware”, as T Max described it, was highly localised.

Prior to 1832 the federal government rarely passed laws intentionally overruling state laws.
Which also started the split between north and south in legal fighting.
What expanded to todays vie of god is, was the major contribution to the slave ‘issue’. Which really was an understatement.

But the split in the Baptist Church over slavery and the joint movement of northern religious groups to protest slavery pushed religion to the top of the list as a solidarity movement.

Once they got in, in the aftermath of the civil war, they hung on to that power permanently.
Unfortunately Delaware was strategically placed and thus needed for the revolution.

Not including them in the new Union would have undermined the premise of the Union.

At the time it was considered a simple thing that was to be addressed, and was such; in freedom of religion.

“weren’t fleeing "tyranny" so much as they were fleeing ethics”
Maybe.
The premise was the right to worship as they wished.
America’s bold, often backstabbing, ideals on religion are a hard subject to explain to Americans, let alone outsiders.
Massachusetts welcomed pagans before they slaughtered them as witches.

Georgia was a prime state for Vudan before the state found ways to legislate out parts of their rituals.

Christian groups had used living (animal) sacrifices well into the 1900s.

Utah, and polygamy?
That’s an issue with immigration today for Muslims. As well as some Indian sub-sects of religions.

Ethics, morality, is in the eye of the beholder.

Anonymous Coward says:

I really detest the fact that Washington licenses naturopaths and lets them call themselves doctors. But even worse, the naturopaths have demanded the right to prescribe certain opiates. Allegedly they are against big pharma, yet they seek to slang big pharma’s dope. It was no coincidence that when recreational weed didn’t exist there was an endless supply of naturopaths willing to write medical recommendations in a cash only environment.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Who’s gonna tell her she can have a huge audience on Parler, Gab, Frankspeech (someday), 4chan, or 8kun where freedom of speech thrives? She can freely post her natural baking soda & paprika enemas where they will be seen by thousands nay, MILLIONS of people while they’re browsing through Neo-Nazi hate groups, SPAM, and furry porn.

It’s an untapped gold mine she’s just passing by, if you ask me. She can market her wares to a similar audience that Alex Jones markets his super-dooper anti-libtard, ultra-conservative taint spray.

She needs a marketing person, not a lawyer.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"It’s an untapped gold mine she’s just passing by, if you ask me. She can market her wares to a similar audience that Alex Jones markets his super-dooper anti-libtard, ultra-conservative taint spray. "

That’s the wrong audience though. The demographic she’s after are the conscientious and open-minded average joes and janes looking for a second opinion after some quack prescribed chemotherapy for cancer. You can’t just insult her by implying she’s going to sell her services to the feckless morons and low-browed thugs on Parler, right?

And that’s the problem with every quack of this kind. Too often they actually believe their own spiel and feel mighty offended when you try to lump their products of avant gárde science along with the likes of Alex Jones’s sooper-dooper anti-libtard spray.

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