Quackwatch Sued For Suggesting Medical Lab Quackery
from the name-what's-wrong dept
Barrett has written a few times about a medical lab named Doctor's Data, that he feels is helping certain medical practitioners defraud patients through misleading results. Here's one example of such a report. You'll notice that it's pretty detailed in explaining why Barrett has problems with the use of these reports.
Doctor's Data, understandably, did not take too kindly to all of this and sent a cease & desist letter at the beginning of June. I have to say, I've seen an awful lot of cease-and-desist letters sent to websites accusing them of defamation, but there's something about this one that just... sounds off. I can't quite place it, but the letter seems a bit less formal than the typical C&D. It also doesn't cite any laws or legal precedent, which is common, but certainly not always present. That said, Barrett was quick to respond politely (even "thanking" the lawyer for the letter), despite the legal threat:
I take great pride in being accurate and carefully consider complaints about what I write. However, your letter does not identify a single statement by me that you believe is inaccurate or "fraudulent." The only thing you mention is my article about how the urine toxic metals test is used to defraud patients: (http://www.quackwatch.org/t). The article's title reflects my opinion, the basis of which the article explains in detail.Rather than provide the details of what Doctor's Data felt was defamatory, another partner at the same law firm sent a shorter cease & desist, that again, has a somewhat less formal style than the usual C&D:
If you want me to consider modifying the article, please identify every sentence to which you object and explain why you believe it is not correct.
You have been making false statements about Doctor's Data and have damaged this company's business and reputation, and you have done so for personal gain and your own self-interest, disguised as performing a public service. ... Your writings and conduct are clearly designed to damage Doctor's Data. ... If you don't retract your false claims and issue a public apology, the lawsuit will be filed.Barrett responded, pointing out that he'd asked for specific evidence and hadn't been provided any. Instead of actually highlighting what Doctor's Data felt was wrong, the firm then filed the lawsuit instead. The lawsuit runs the gamut of the standard claims in these sorts of lawsuits: restraint of trade; trademark dilution; business libel; tortious interference with existing and potential business relationships; fraud or intentional misrepresetation; and violating federal and state laws against deceptive trade practices.