Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
I monitor and provoke, sometimes openly, sometimes secretly, the discussion activity of the organization calling itself the “quackbusters.” It is not easy, for, in a way, it is like listening in on a group of pedophiles discussing their plans for our neighborhood children. Keep this comparison in mind.
Recently, of course, I have been monitoring quackbuster discussions about the Doctor’s Data v Stephen Barrett Federal Court case.
In my early days of adulthood I was recruited by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to become a Deputy Sheriff. Since there was a waiting list for the Sheriff’s Academy certain candidates, myself included, were offered temporary positions as Corrections Officers (prison guards) at local minimum security prisons. Boy, was that an eye opener. There is no better way to adjust a young white upper middle class male’s view of humanity then to assign him to guard, six days a week, sans weapons, America’s criminal population.
Minimum security prisons are not just for car thieves, and other petty criminals. They were at the time, and probably still are, a half-way house for those hard time boys, with tattoos on their faces, coming into their last twelve months at the maximum security facilities – the people who, within months of their release, will kill, rape, rob, maim, bludgeon some unsuspecting citizens, and be heading back into the system. They are not a lot of trouble in this situation because they want to get back out on the street. But, you can imagine the tension among the prisoners and the guards.
The one thing I will never forget is the smell of a prison. As we all know, people with a disease, as it progresses, begin to smell a certain way. It is a combination of things that causes that. In prison stress levels are VERY high, and fear is a big issue. People in prison are afraid to sleep. It is absolutely true that you can smell fear.
Fear, in prison, is palpable.
When I say that the “quackbuster’s” fear is palpable, I mean exactly that.
So, what would cause such an increase in their fear factor? One simple thing – The recent words, October 13th, 2010, of the Doctor’s Data v Stephen Barrett Federal Court regarding the case. The Court said:
“Proposed discovery schedule to be submitted to the court by 12/6/2010. Status hearing set for 12/8/2010 at 9:30 AM.”
Huh? Why would these, seemingly innocuous words, generate gut-wrenching, instant, diarrhea in the quackbuster ranks? Two reasons:
(1) The entire quackbuster operation is a misinformation system where real information is spun and tightly controlled. Quackbuster upper ranks give the soldiers only the info they want them to have, with only the spin they want them to have. Quackbuster soldiers, for instance, found out about the lawsuit from my article. Then five days later the “spin” began with Orac the Nipple Ripper’s article. The primary “spin” was that “the case has no merit. The Judge will throw it out as soon as he reads it, Doctor’s Data will have to pay fines, and Barrett will sue them for malicious prosecution. Blah, blah, blah…”
Of course, none of that happened, so now they are very nervous.
(2) The worst possible scenario for the quackbusters is developing. In the court statement above, what “Proposed discovery schedule to be submitted to the court by 12/6/2010”means is that soon the unraveling of the quackbuster conspiracy will begin using the “discovery” provisions of a Federal Court case. In short, Doctor’s Data will demand of Barrett, and Barrett will be forced to answer, providing documents, questions about all of his activities at issue in the lawsuit.
Under Federal Rules:
“Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense — including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. All discovery is subject to the limitations imposed by Rule 26(b)(2)(C).”
More, not just Stephen Barrett will be forced to provide information. Those accused in the lawsuit of acting conspiratorially will also be forced to provide information. It is this action that will be used to gather data regarding the complicity of others in Barrett’s activities. For instance, Doctor’s Data will no doubt demand:
(a) the names on Barrett’s Consumer’s Digest newsletter email list.
(b) the names of any and all contributors, including amounts, to Barrett’s Legal Defense Fund.
(c) The names of everyone, and every discussion group, website, or blog, linked to Barrett’s websites.
(d) the names of everyone who assists Barrett, in any way, to write, edit, post, and position Barrett’s articles on search engines, including the identities of Barrett’s SEO, SMM, experts.
(e) the names of Barrett’s Wikipedia information management team.
(f) all communications, including telephone records, that would show communications (recruitment) with potential or actual plaintiffs suing Doctor’s Data, or solicited to sue Doctor’s Data using Barrett’s recommended attorneys.
(g) all communications with any local, state, or Federal agency where Barrett may have purported to claim expertise, or where a complaint was filed by Barrett and his co-conspirators, in regard to Doctor’s Data.
(h) videotaped Depositions of Barrett and his co-conspirators.
(i) and much, much more.
What will be accomplished with this Discovery…
Discovery, in this case, I think, will focus on two major areas:
(1) proving up the case on the original Complaint, and
(2) gathering the information to be used to justify another Amended Complaint against NEW Defendants.
Federal Court rules allow one Amended Complaint with no restrictions. Beyond that the Plaintiff must ask for permission from the Court to file another. Those requests must come with justifying information. Discovery will ask Barrett and the others just how Barrett’s article float to the top of the search engines. The answers to those questions will flush out the additional, currently hidden, conspirators.
As I pointed out before no one would much care if a rancid old fart like Barrett wrote his hateful articles if he ended up on page 82 of Google. But, he doesn’t. He is always on page one – and that means co-conspirators.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t just about writing an article and publishing it on your website. A lot of professional work needs to be done to move that article, every time, to the first pages of Google and the other search engines. The people that do that for Stephen Barrett are just as guilty as Barrett – and, hopefully, they have VERY DEEP pockets so they can help pay the 20 million dollar claim.
Now comes a really FUN part of the Doctor’s Data v Stephen Barrett Federal Court case. Barrett’s minions and sycophants were certain that this issue would never touch them. So much so that they were convinced, after the lawsuit was filed, to attempt to permanently destroy Doctor’s Data using an Intentional malice “Googlebomb,” and more.
Now, their time is coming. And, they are squeaking and trembling in disbelief. It is really fun to watch.
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate