I admit this move by Stephen Barrett took me by surprise. I actually thought this lawyer Barrett hired, to defend him in the Doctor’s Data v Stephen Barrett, et al case, Michael K. Botts, was dead.
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
More, the last case Botts handled for the quackbusters (Victor Herbert v American Quackery Association – 1987) ended so badly for them I would have thought Botts would be the LAST CHOICE they’d ever use.
But here he is…
I actually had a difficult time digging up current information on Botts. It’s like he lives on the fringes of life. The closest thing I could find, attaching Botts to the real legal world, was on a lawyer referral website showing he was with an attorney firm in Alexandria, VA listing him as “Of Counsel.”
Then I found the usual listing for quackusters, of course, as a health or political advisor for the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH.org). But, anyone can get on that page. You don’t even have to be alive.
It looks to me that the ACSH doesn’t keep their lists well updated, and a perusal of those lists will find that a good many of their so-called “health and political advisors” really are dead.
Then too, I found the original legal reference for Botts on one of those lawyer reference sites, but when I went to the listed law firm’s actual up-to-date website, he was not listed as one of the lawyers in any category. When I looked up the definition of “Of Counsel,” I found that it sort of means “we sort of know this guy,,,but he doesn’t actually work here.”
So, who in the world is Michael K. Botts? Strangely, in his application to appear on Stephen Barrett’s behalf in the Northern Illinois Federal Court, Botts claims to have appeared there earlier (February 10th, 2010), in a case called “Fifth Market v CME Group.” Naturally I looked that up and – guess what – there is no no such case listed.
Now, it is going to get interesting…
Michael K. Botts was the attorney who so thoroughly embarrassed the late Victor Herbert in the famous “Herbert v American Quackery Association” case. Botts was Herbert’s attorney, and Herbert was so completely and thoroughly horse-whipped in that case I am surprised he didn’t drop out of public life, entirely.
Herbert and Botts, it appears, decided one day in late 1987 to shut down the alternative medicine movement (It’s OK to laugh here). So they sued everyone they could think of all at once in a Federal court in Northern Iowa.. Over a ten year period they suffered one humiliation after another with the Federal Court, at one point, awarding Frank Weiwel (www.peopleagainstcancer.org) HALF of Herbert’s assets.
Yup – that’s what I said “HALF of Herbert’s assets.”
Of course Herbert was a quackbuster. Which means that he had the personal substance of a flea fart, and HALF of his net worth was three thousand dollars.
One of the things I have always noticed about the attorneys the quackbusters seem to use is a common lack of understanding of some basic legal principles – like, for instance: Jurisdiction, timely filings. basic legal understandings. Either they don’t know these things – or they intentionally ignore them.
For instance, I was in shock when I first took on famous author/health humanitarian Hulda Regehr Clark PhD as a client, after she had been falsely arrested and hauled back to Indiana under the fake claim that she had been “practicing medicine without a license,”during the research period for her best-selling book “The Cure for HIV/Aids” six years before. I soon traced her problems back to the quackbuster operation, and in my usual soft-spoken approach with the quackbuster sleaze brigades (sarcasm intended), I lit off the B-52s and went and found where they lived.
But, my “shock” was not over what was being done to Clark, for there are hundreds of cutting-edge health professionals who have had this sort of treatment. My “shock” was in the fact that my opposition was so POOR, and that they were maintaining an assault with sheer bullshit – no bullets, no real bombs, just a lot of noise.
Soon, a lawsuit appeared against Clark, filed in San Francisco, by Stephen Barrett’s personal attorney, at the time, Christopher Grell. The case was a joke, so poorly assembled that the Judge in the case began to hack away at Grell’s case with what are called OSC hearings (Orders to Show Cause) – eighteen of them, as I recall. In short, Grell sued a bunch of people; Clark, and people who knew her, in a San Francisco Superior Court. About eighty percent of those people lived outside the jurisdiction of that court – so they were dismissed from the suit.
So, I thought this guy Grell was abysmally stupid – for that wasn’t the only thing wrong with his case. Of course, as we all know, the case got dismissed and was terribly humiliating for Barrett and the boys.
But then there’s Michael K. Botts. Frankly, he was before my time in the movement, as was Victor Herbert. I missed out then. Botts, it appears was the quackbuster guru for“wrong jurisdiction” filings, for in the “Herbert v American Quackery Association” case the Court Dismissed 22 of the 25 Defendants for “Jurisdiction” issues early in the case. Two others were thrown out by the Judge (mistrial) because the Plaintiff did not make a case against them – and the Judge ordered those Defendant’s attorney fees to be paid. And the last Defendant simply waited the case out – and it all went away.
Victor Herbert was shown to be the screaming piss ant he really was.
So, it’s time for a little humor – at their expense, of course…
Of course I watch to see what the quackbusters are up to. It is amazingly easy to follow their activities. In a sense, they are like misbehaving children and cannot help but telegraph their intentions. Also, it is a good way to determine whether or not they have any people with brains in their midst – anybody truly dangerous.
A good place to observe wanna-be quackbuster’s behavior is at Orac’s blog. Although Orac the Nipple Ripper himself, David Gorski MD, writes in a whiney, limp-wristed, girly-boy, framework, you’ll still find some gems in his comments section. Gorski, I believe, really is the one hand-picked (so far) to replace failing Stephen Barrett. So, it is a good place to divine the Farm Team’s thinking.
So, over in Orac’s blog this guy appears, calling himself “Igor” (I kid you not) and claims to be an attorney. He then starts to tell everyone how easy it is going to be to win this case, blah, blah, blah… His strategy, he claims, is to immediately file a Motion to Dismiss, before an answer is made to the case, and he talks about how successful he knows these “pre-answer” Motions are.
Well, on that part he is right. Those “pre-answer” Motions are very successful – especially when used against quackbusters. In California, for instance, the most common “pre-answer” Motion is an “Anti-SLAPP Motion,” and Stephen Barrett was made familiar with that legal move the hard way – for he, and his fellow Plaintiffs, in the Barrett v Clark case ended up coughing up, or are in the process of coughing up, over $500,000 of legal fees to the Defendant Ilena Rosenthal’s attorneys.
More, the NCAHF, another Defendant in this Doctor’s Data v Barrett et al case, also knows how bad that kind of Motion can be – for they still owe, as per Court Judgment, $112,000 in legal fees to a group of Homeopathic manufacturers.
But let’s get to the humor part.
Barrett has an Attorney named “Igor?”
What is an Igor? Well, according to Wikipedia (snort):
“Igor (or sometimes Ygor) is the traditional stock character or cliché hunch-backed assistant or butler to many types of villain, such as Count Dracula or a mad scientist, familiar from many horror movies and horror movie parodies, the Frankenstein series and Van Helsing films in particular.”
“Ygor”, played by Bela Lugosi; this character, however, is neither a hunchback nor a lab assistant, but an insane broken-necked blacksmith who reanimates the Monster as an instrument of vengeance against the townspeople who attempted to hang him for graverobbing.”
How fitting is this?
I swear, it is beginning to look like Barrett’s Defense is being organized by the scriptwriters for Saturday Night Live…
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate