Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Aunt's Story

My cousin has a type of Autism, and since the diagnosis my aunt has become an avid researcher and advocate on the subject. She's an incredibly intelligent, and well educated woman, and has built a website and blog,, to provide resources on the subject, and communicate her research and opinions.

In addition to her philosophy and her research into the science, she has spent a significant amount of time exposing questionable (possibly unethical) research and litigation in the autism world. She is an excellent writer - all of her posts are very well researched with the appropriate citations (and often quite long as well), and many are quite critical of some doctors, "doctors," and lawyers.

Shortly after publishing a post quite critical of one lawyer in particular who seems to have made a quite a bit of money representing plantiffs in Vaccine Injury Compensation Program claims (a majority of which were found to be without merit), my aunt was served with a subpeona. The lawyer that she had been critical of seemed to want to scare her off. He clearly didn't realize what he was starting. After her Motion to Quash, the subpeona was not only quashed, but the attorney involved was Ordered to Show Cause as to why he should not be sanctioned for abuse of power. The attorney did eventually submit a Response (after requesting an extension), and although my aunt was not required to respond, she did so.

Her original post is quite damning (and as a taxpayer, very frustrating, since it is the government that pays the legal fees in VICP claims), and one could only assume the subpeona was out of retaliation. The lawyer in question argues that my aunt is part of a conspiracy on the part of the defendant in his case, or the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. If this were the case, it seems his defendant should have been the subpeona, and it should have been more pointed.

My aunt has, of course, documented the entire ordeal on her weblog so we can all follow along. If you have the time to read through it, I highly recommend the post that started it all, The Commerce in Causation. I also particularly enjoyed reading the lawyer's response to the Order to Show Cause, since my aunt added in her own links throughout, poking fun at her supposed conspiracy.

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