Andrew Wakefield wants another appeal

20 Nov

Andrew Wakefield, the ex academic gastroenterologist who as much as anyone has promoted the failed autism/MMR link, has asked for an extension to file a petition for review.

To briefly summarize the events:
1) the BMJ and Brian Deer wrote a series of articles on Mr. Wakefield’s research.
2) Mr. Wakefield took issue with being called a fraud.
3) Mr. Wakefield filed suit in Texas claiming defamation
4) Mr. Wakefield was found to not have the standing to bring his case in Texas.
5) Mr. Wakefield appealed (4) and lost

Apparently, Mr. Wakefield needs to find yet another attorney to help with continuing his case.

As for my view:

What a pathetic waste of time. Mr. Wakefield has more gifts that my kid will likely ever understand and he’s thrown it all down the tubes. It’s difficult to not scream–just do something with your remaining years. You, Mr. Wakefield, are the reason why your accomplishments to date amount to nothing. Rather than throw your (or whoever’s) money down this rat hole of litigation, why not apply yourself to anything that will actually affect change in this world. You don’t have to change the whole world, just do something, anything, to justify all the skills you have and the resources that have been spent on you.

Clearly you didn’t excel at research. Nor writing. Nor film making. Nor autism advocacy. Perhaps a new career? It may not be as lucrative as getting my community to support you, but perhaps you could regain your self respect.

By Matt Carey

18 Responses to “Andrew Wakefield wants another appeal”

  1. Sullivan (Matt Carey) November 20, 2014 at 18:49 #

    To be precise–we don’t know if Mr. Wakefield wishes to replace counsel or add someone to his team.

    • lilady November 20, 2014 at 19:14 #

      I’d like to know if Wakefield has paid his appeals attorneys. IIRC, the first attorney William Parrish is a neighbor of Wakefield and may have prepared the original Travis County lawsuit for a modified fee or pro bono.

      When you appeal a decision, you employ a team of appeals attorneys and their fees are quite expensive.

      Has Wakefield paid the court fees, as directed by the appeals court decision?

  2. lilady November 20, 2014 at 19:07 #

    How many cases has this odious man lost against Brian Deer? The disgraced and discredited Andrew Wakefield is a lost cause. In fact, the only “talent” he has is convincing his wealthy benefactors to fund his frivolous and vexatious lawsuits and provide him and his clan a lush lifestyle in Austin Texas

  3. brian November 20, 2014 at 19:07 #

    If I understand this correctly:

    1. The deadline for filing a Petition to Review was November 3
    2. Two weeks after the missed deadline, Wakefield filed for an extension
    3. If his petition is denied, it will prove that the courts are conspiring with Big Pharma, and that people should donate money to help the Brave Maverick Doctor Who Listened to the Parents continue his fight for justice, or something.

    • Narad November 20, 2014 at 20:09 #

      The actual deadline is 14 days after the nominal one; as usual, he just waited until the last minute.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) November 20, 2014 at 20:21 #

        Well, he’s been busy getting dozens of people to watch his video.

        Perhaps he should just accept his own advice–“sooner or later, we must all sit down to a feast of consequences”

    • reissd November 20, 2014 at 22:36 #

      An extension can be requested within 15 days after that deadline. Usually, they are granted, but I think your response makes a good case against that.

      • Narad November 20, 2014 at 22:49 #

        Right, 15, not 14.

  4. Brian Deer November 20, 2014 at 20:22 #

    And here is our response.

  5. Brian Deer November 20, 2014 at 20:44 #

    To put this event into context, it’s instructive first to look at the outcome of such petitions. The Texas court publishes pages after pages after pages of petitions denied. So even if he can get the court to allow his out-of-time application, the chances of the case being accepted for review are around 2% or so.

    His chances of prevailing on the substantive are nil.

    Then look at the history of Wakefield’s complaints:

    1996: To UK broadcasting regulator concerning a film about his theory that measles virus causes Crohn’s disease. Result: rejected.
    2000-2001: Threats against his employer regarding its decision to remove him after he refused to attempt to replicate his findings. Result: he left.
    2004: Complaint to broadcasting regulator concerning my film exposing his patents, business interests and failed measles virus tests. Result: abandoned.
    2005: Lawsuit against The Sunday Times. Result: discontinued.
    2005: Lawsuit against my website. Result: discontinued with costs.
    2005: Lawsuit against Channel 4 over my film. Result: discontinued with costs.
    2005: Threatened lawsuit against Cambridge Evening News. Result: not pursued after criticism by a High Court judge.
    2009: Complaint to UK press complaints commission. Result: abandoned.
    2012: Lawsuit against BMJ and me. Result: case dismissed.
    2012: Appeal against dismissal. Result: dismissal upheld.

    Then, coming at him, you have:

    2003: English court of appeal condemns anti-vaccine creed as “junk science”
    2007: US Court of Federal Claims dismisses Wakefield’s theories, accusing him of misleading vulnerable family. Upheld on appeal.
    2010: UK General Medical Council strikes Wakefield off medical register for research dishonesty and abuse of children.
    2012: English High Court strikes down Wakefield’s claim that his research investigations were ethically approved.

    • Narad November 20, 2014 at 21:30 #

      The Texas court publishes pages after pages after pages of petitions denied. So even if he can get the court to allow his out-of-time application, the chances of the case being accepted for review are around 2% or so.

      His chances of prevailing on the substantive are nil.

      When I was looking at this yesterday, it was 10%–14% of petitions for review being granted. Once that happens, though, the odds of prevailing are pretty damn good, as set out here (PDF).

      The key issues are set out at pages 5–6; I’d say that there’s next to no chance of the petition being granted. In particular, this case squarely has the “a unique result that is unlikely to recur” strike against it.

      • Narad November 20, 2014 at 21:42 #

        Note also that his inability to secure additional SCOTX representation after 45 days strongly suggests that the relevant practitioners are taking a dim opinion of the decision’s reviewability.

  6. lilady November 20, 2014 at 21:42 #

    Have you all forgotten about another of Wakefield’s fundraising groups, “The Academic Integrity Fund”? It’s now history and the internet domain is available as of October 24, 2014.

    How about the D.A.I.R. Foundation, which runs secret fundraising soirees for Andy to defend himself?

    What a sleazebag he is, duping his credulous followers out of money so that he can continue to harass his critics.

  7. Brian Deer November 20, 2014 at 22:40 #

    Not surprising that he’s looking for a replacement lawyer. He was twice dumped by his own counsel in the UK. First, he was shown the door in his libel action against Channel 4, within about four days of The Sunday Times reporting the huge sum of money he was paid to attack MMR (after suing because we reported a vastly lower sum). Then he was shafted by his own barrister at the end of his GMC case, who notified the funders that he would be unlikely to succeed on appeal.

    The interesting thing is these people spent a lot of time looking at his case.

    I just hope that this wealthy charlatan hasn’t hoaxed more vulnerable parents of disabled kids to give him money. Him and people around him are just wallowing in the spoils of autism. People write to me all the time about them.

    • reissd November 20, 2014 at 22:42 #

      I guess he must be very, very charismatic. I’d expect some of his lawyers are true believers, though from what you are saying, even they are not completely willing to throw themselves on their swords for him.

  8. Narad November 21, 2014 at 21:26 #

    I found it worthwhile to revisit this post from the Skeptical Lawyer breaking down just how pointless the suit was from the outset.

  9. Narad November 24, 2014 at 22:22 #

    Extension granted.

    • reissd November 24, 2014 at 22:24 #

      Thank you. Can you also put it on the Skeptical Raptor post?

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