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Attorney Clifford Shoemaker v. bloggers

April 6th, 2008 · 14 Comments · Urban legend

There’s a reason the public holds attorneys in only slightly higher esteem than arms smugglers and crack whores, and his name is Clifford Shoemaker.

Where most people view autism as a developmental delay, Shoemaker sees boat payments. For 20 years, he’s been gaming vaccine court, and making the big bucks, according to an investigation by Kathleen Seidel at

Mr. Shoemaker was one of the first attorneys to specialize in prosecuting claims filed in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Since 1990, he has represented petitioners in 577 cases (282 closed and 295 pending). In many of these cases, Poling v. HHS included, Dr. Geier has served as an expert witness or litigation consultant.

Shoemaker, who is currently representing Rev. and Mr. Lisa Sykes in a vaccine-related action against Bayer, is apparently unhappy with Seidel’s sleuthing, so he subpoenaed her work product, financial records, and even inquired about her religious beliefs.

Reaction from the blogosphere has been swift. “So move over, Bloggers Choice Awards and ABA Top 100 Blawgs. The real badge of honor out here in the blogosphere isn’t some a contrived award – it’s a subpoena!” says Carolyn Elefant at Legal Blog Watch.

Surgeon/scientist Orac says Shoemaker’s subpoena ” is clearly nothing more than a fishing expedition designed to intimidate (Seidel) into silence.” Orac has also challenged junk science apologists David Kirby and Dan Olmsted to tell Shoemaker to back off:

Given that this subpoena is clearly an obvious attempt to silence Kathleen or, at the very least, punish her for her criticisms of Clifford Shoemaker and his activities, I am appealing to both of you to use your influence and position in the autism biomedical movement to protest this shameless action by Mr. Shoemaker. I am urging you to speak out against legal intimidation and thuggery and for the First Amendment right of the media, including bloggers, of freedom of speech.

So far only silence from Kirby and Olmsted. Olmsted is editor of, an online water cooler where dim-witted sociopaths and shrieking Chicken Little’s compare conspiracy theories and cheer on declining vaccination rates. Without First Amendment protections, these fools would have have been lined up and shot around the time thimerosal disappeared from scheduled childhood vaccines, or roughly six years ago.




14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kristina Chew // Apr 6, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Do you mean “shot” or the other kind of “shot” (just to make sure everyone is immunized…….).

  • 2 dkmnow // Apr 7, 2008 at 12:06 am

    The First Amendment was, of course, intended as an inoculation against tyranny, but like any such precaution, it can never be 100% effective. This is only partly owing to the fact that we have never developed an inoculation against Stupid.

    As a stopgap measure, at least, I would suggest a greatly intensified focus in public education on critical thinking and fundamentals of scientific method. Step one: reverse NCLB and get corporate “interests” out of the schoolroom …

    But, of course, teaching people how to think for themselves means that, before long, we’ll have to set up rehab and welfare-to-work programs for people like Shoemaker, G & G, Sykes, Olmsted, Kirby, and for that matter, most of Congress, etc.

    I can live with that.


  • 3 Ms. Clark // Apr 7, 2008 at 2:54 am

    (laughing to tears here in California)

    Yeah, no news from the newbie bloggers Olmsted and Kirby about the rights of citizen journalists…. bunch of scaredy cats…

  • 4 Kathleen Seidel Has Received a Sub-Poena: Streisand, Spartacus, Shoemaker, They Start with S and End the Same Way « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science // Apr 7, 2008 at 8:19 am

    […] Thuggery Against Skeptico (eponymous) Bullying Attorney Thug Autism News Beat Attorney Clifford Shoemaker v. bloggers Health Blawg Blawg Review #154 mentions the kerfuffle and the legal chills for […]

  • 5 Club 166 // Apr 7, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I take exception to your description of lawyers as being slightly above arms smugglers and crack whores.

    I’ve taken care of some crack whores who are basically decent people.


  • 6 Liz Ditz // Apr 7, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I am one of the 100+ bloggers mentioned in item 5 of the subpoena.

    I am keeping a running list of responses to the Seidel subpoena at I Speak of Dreams. I’ve added your blog.

    Oddly, only one blogger has negative things to say about Ms. Seidel.

    and Joe? You made me spit coffee.

  • 7 Justthisguy // Apr 7, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Umm, arms smuggling is, I think, a noble occupation, trying to make sure that people are armed against their (usually criminal) governments.

    That aside, I concur, Sir, absolutely!

  • 8 Interesting // Apr 10, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t understand how you try and make it seem like Mr. Shoemaker is doing something wrong when he obviously is defending himself against Kathleen Seidel… If she wants to look into his personal information and post it for everyone to see, shouldn’t he be allowed the same right?

  • 9 HCN // Apr 10, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    All Ms. Seidel did was look into public records to discover how much Shoemaker makes from his vaccine litigation. Do you understand that this information was not personal information but available in sources accessible to almost everyone?

    How does accessing this public information make her a party to the lawsuit of the Sykes versus a pharmaceutical company?

  • 10 HCN // Apr 10, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Case in point, Mr/Ms Interesting: check out her posting:

    Go to the bottom and click on the US Court of Federal Claims links. Please tell us which one of those are “private” information.

  • 11 autblog // Apr 10, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Mr. Interesting won’t be back.

  • 12 Public Citizen // May 29, 2008 at 9:30 am

    For those who have been following the case of Sykes v. Bayer, we have an update. This is the case in which disagreement over whether mercury in medicines causes autism was turned into a discovery witch hunt. Kathleen Seidel backs her position regarding autism on a Web site devoted to issues involving autism, disability and other topics. Among other things, her Web site criticizes Lisa Sykes, who is suing Bayer and believes mercury does cause autism.

    Recall that on April 21, the court quashed an incredibly broad subpoena from attorney Clifford Shoemaker, who represents Sykes. Shoemaker did not just request that Seidel release her correspondence with Bayer; he also demanded all of her documents pertaining to the issues she has written about on her Web site, as well as all of her correspondence with attorneys, physicians, the federal government, non-governmental political organizations, religious groups, and scientific and academic boards. To make matters worse, Shoemaker tried to defend his discovery demands by accusing Seidel and Bayer of conspiring to defame Sykes.

    On Tuesday evening, Public Citizen, on behalf of Seidel, filed papers arguing that sanctions against Shoemaker were appropriate because the requests in his subpoena were irrelevant to the lawsuit against Bayer and “abusive and burdensome.” In its brief, Public Citizen cites the Supreme Court case Reno v. ACLU to support its argument that anyone can present “findings and conclusions” freely on the Internet if he or she so chooses, and argues that the use of discovery to harass a critic warrants sanctions. For more information, visit

  • 13 Matt // May 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Public Citizen–

    thank you very much for this!

  • 14 Auch wir sind Kathleen. - Autismus-Kultur // Dec 31, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    […] Asperger Square 8, Autism Street, Club 166, The Time Capsule, Action For Autism, Not Mercury, Autism News Beats, The Voyage, Eds Autism Page, dkmnow, The Joy of Autism, Laurentius Rex und weitere. Orac von […]

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