Andrew Wakefield, one of the doctors who was stricken from the register by the U.K.’s General Medical Council, has filed a complaint in Texas claiming that Brian Deer (Journalist) and Fiona Godlee (Editor of the British Medical Journal). The complaint alleges that the articles, editorials and statements made later about those include “false and defamatory allegations” about Mr. Wakefield.
From the complaint filed:
This defamation lawsuit arises, in part, out of the publication on or about January 5, 2011 and thereafter, in the British Medical Journal, of an article authored for the BMJ by Brian Deer, titled Secrets of the MMR Scare (Exhibit A) and accompanying editorials by the BMJ’s editor, Fiona Godlee (Exhibit B 1-2). Defendants’ article and editorials, distributed to subscribers in Texas and which fonn the basis of Plaintiffs claims, contained unfair, incorrect, inaccurate and unjust criticisms of findings previously reported by Dr. Wakefield and 12 other co-authors. More significantly, Defendants accused Dr. Wakefield of fraud and of fraudulently and intentionally manipulating and falsifying data and diagnoses in connection with a clinical paper he co-authored called Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children, originally published in the medical journal The Lancet in 1998 (the “Lance,t Paper”). Defendants’ false and defamatory allegations have been widely disseminated by Defendants through the BMJ and other sources since their original publication.
Mr. Wakefield sued Mr. Deer in the past, but dropped that suit.
Mr. Wakefield’s legal team consists of William M. Parrish, J.D. Ellwanger, John D. Saba Jr of DiNovo Price Ellwanger & Hardy LLP, a firm which primarily focused on intellectual property and commercial litigation.
Mr. Wakefield does not specify an amount for damages:
Dr. Wakefield hereby prays for a trial by jury as to all disputed issues of fact, and upon findings appropriate, further prays for judgment from this Court against the Defendants for: nominal damages, actual and compensatory damages, special damages, including injury to reputation and character, injury to feelings, humiliation, loss of earning capacity, exemplary damages pursuant to TEX. CIv. PRAC. & REM. CODE §41.001, et. seq., declaratory relief, costs and expenses, prejudgment and post-judgment interest as allowed by law, and for such other and further relief to which he may be justly entitled.
Should this go to court, Mr. Wakefield, In arguing a “injury to reputation and character, injury to feelings, humiliation, loss of earning capacity, will have to quantify the state of his reputation and character, feelings, humiliation and loss of earning capacity at the time. This will have to take into account the fact that he had already been struck off the medical register in the UK after being found to have committed “serious professional misconduct” and had lost his job at Thoughtful House. Were the donors to the “Strategic Autism Initiative” less likely to contribute after the BMJ articles?
Honestly, I thought the Andrew Wakefield saga was over and I was glad of it.