Brian Deer explains and speculates over this current legal mess:
This anti-SLAPP motion was filed in Austin on 9 March 2012 bythe BMJ, journalist Brian Deer and editor Dr Fiona Godlee, againstex-doctor Andrew Wakefield and his latest “gagging writ” ploy
Two months ago, Dr. Andrew Wakefield was named by Time magazine as one of the “Great Science Frauds” of modern history. Last April, the New York Times described him as “one of the most reviled doctors of his generation.” In 2009, a Special Master presiding over vaccine litigation in the United States Court of Federal Claims recognized that Wakefield’s 1998 paper in The Lancet medical journal, which suggested a possible link between the lifesaving Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (“MMR”) vaccine and the development of autism in children, was considered a “scientific fraud.”
Now the plaintiff in this frivolous libel case, Dr. Wakefield has sued one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, the BMJ, its editor-in-chief, Dr. Godlee, and one of the most respected investigative journalists in the United Kingdom, Brian Deer. Wakefield’s claims challenge a series of articles and editorials in the BMJ in January 2011, entitled “Secrets of the MMR Scare.”
Tip: @lecarnardnoir on Twitter
As was mentioned by others when it was announced that Wakefield was suing the BMJ and Deer, the anti-SLAPP provisions would be tested in Texas. And, here we go. Click on Deer’s original story linked above to see the original documents filed in this case. Frankly, it doesn’t appear ex-Dr. Wakefield has any chance of coming out of this looking good.
This is the kicker:
Because Dr. Wakefield cannot satisfy his burden under the anti-SLAPP statute, his claims must be dismissed and he must be ordered to pay Defendants’ their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs in defending this action [emphasis added]. Moreover, given Dr. Wakefield’s long history of frivolous libel litigation, including against Deer in the United Kingdom, the Court should award additional sanctions to deter Dr. Wakefield from attempting to use the legal system to harass and intimidate journalists covering this matter of paramount public concern.