Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
Keep in mind that there are three Defendants in the Doctor’s Data v Barrett, et al Federal Court case in Northern Illinois – and all three have to lawyer up and Respond within the Court’s required time.
Only Stephen Barrett, himself, as an individual, was given 60 days, instead of 21, to formally Respond to a lawsuit. Neither of the other two Defendants, Quackwatch, Inc, nor the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) was given any extra time. They have 21 days from the time of service to hire legal counsel and formally Respond.
Well guess what?
Quackwatch, Inc. was served on July 6th, 2010. Twenty-one days later was July 28th, 2010. So – Quackwatch, Inc now has a big problem.
In the service filed formally against Quackwatch, Inc. it clearly states that:
YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED and required to serve upon PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY
Augustine, Kern, and Levens, Ltd, 218 North Jefferson St., Suite 102, Chicago, IL 60661
an answer to the complaint which is herewith served upon you, within 21 days after service of this summons upon you, exclusive of the day of service. If you fail to do so, judgment by default will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the complaint. You must also file your answer with the Clerk of this Court within a reasonable period of time after this service.
Would would a “Judgment by Default ” mean to the case?
Well, it would mean a lot. In a “Judgment by Default” the Court automatically awards EXACTLY what the Plaintiff asked for. And the Plaintiff then has the absolute right to go and get that award by any legal means it can arrange. In the case it said:
“Doctor’s Data seeks injunctive relief, and compensatory and exemplary damages arising out of Defendant’s wrongful conduct.”
Specifically, Doctor’s Data is asking for:
(1) Award Plaintiff compensatory damages of $500,000 (per count – and there are 10 counts), (2) Award Plaintiff damages of three times compensatory damages; (3) Award Plaintiff’s attorney fees and cost of suit; (4) and Award such other and further relief as just and fair in equity or law.
So, in short, that’s twenty million in cash owed, plus attorney fees, and injunctive relief.
So, is the case basically over?
No, it is not. Why? Because Barrett let the corporation lapse, so there is quite a bit if legal maneuvering going to happen. Why? Because the corporation was where the gold was kept – so to speak.
The gold? Yes, the gold. Before Barrett let the Quackwatch, Inc. corporation lapse he claimed, on his websites, that the websites (quackwatch, casewatch, etc.) were all owned by quackwatch, Inc.
After a “Judgment by Default,” Doctor’s Data can go to the Judge and file a Motion for ownership of all of those websites. The Judge will no doubt give them to Doctor’s Data, especially if Barrett is not represented in Court.
Once that happens Barrett’s world will change.
But, there is still the matter of Defendants Barrett and the NCAHF. Barrett only has until August 30th to formally Respond. My information sources tell me Barrett is BEGGING for legal and financial help and is simply not getting it anywhere (no surprise to me).
My pacer account shows me that the NCAHF has not yet been served at their legal address of “841 Santa Rita Avenue, Los Altos, CA, 94022” – the 1.5 million dollar home of Wallace Sampson MD, NCAHF Board Member.
My guess is that nasty-mouthed old Wally stopped answering the front door on June 18th, 2010 – the day the case was filed. That’s the way quackbusters are…
They can dish it out, but…
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate