5 January 20012
Dr Andrew Wakefield - Is this a rich Texan publicity stunt?
Never far from controversy and its antecedent publicity, Dr Andrew Wakefield has launched a defamation action against the British Medical Journal, Brian Deer and BMJ Editor, Dr Fiona Godlee in the Travis Court, Texas. See Full Text below.
Andrew Wakefield was struck off the UK Register in 2010 by the General Medical Council (GMC) that essentially claimed his behaviour was dishonest.
Dr Andrew Wakefield
The new Texas complaint filed by Wakefield and his lawyers states in part:
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 form 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 “Lancet Paper”). Defendants’ false and defamatory allegations have been widely disseminated by Defendants through the BMJ and other sources since their original publication.
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.
No specified amount for damages is being claimed. As all will recall, Britain has the most plaintiff friendly libel laws in the world so quite why Wakefield has chosen Texas is a mystery to most. Residency doesn't count for much when money's at stake.
Since Wakefield has failed to Appeal the GMC decision that found him dishonest in 2010, it seems extraordinary that he is now taking this litigious step in Texas. Is this merely a highly ill-advised mickey mouse Wakefield publicity stunt or has this doctor lost the plot we ask?
The One Click Group
Dr Andrew Wakefield vs. BMJ, Brian Deer and Dr Fiona Godlee
* Lancet Retracts Wakefield Et Al Paper After GMC Dishonesty Findings
Andrew Jack, The Financial Times
* Findings Of Fact - Summary, Wakefield et al
General Medical Council
* Findngs Of Fact - Full, Wakefield et al
General Medical Council