Quackwatch Founder Stephen Barrett loses major defamation trial in hometown
MY VIEW OF THE BIGGER PICTURE
Date: October 13, 2005
Location: Allentown, Pa.
Court case: Stephen
Barrett, M.D. vs. Tedd Koren, D.C. and
F. Negrete, Esq.
In a stunning development, Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania Judge J. Brian Johnson on Thursday, October 13, 2005, tossed out nationally known self-proclaimed "consumer medical advocate" Stephen Barrett’s defamation lawsuit just minutes before it was going to be considered by a local jury.
The lawsuit, filed in August 2002, against also nationally known Pennsylvania chiropractor, lecturer, researcher and publisher, Tedd Koren DC sought unspecified damages against Tedd Koren DC and his company, Koren Publications, Inc. for statements that he wrote in his newsletter in 2001 about Barrett. Barrett, a long-time nemesis of chiropractic, filed the lawsuit because of Tedd Koren DC’s publication that Barrett was "de-licensed" and "in trouble because of a $10 million lawsuit," and in addition, because Barrett was called a "Quackpot." In his defense, Tedd Koren DC contended that the statements were true and not defamatory and that he had a First Amendment right to write them in his newsletter.
Thursday’s ruling by Judge Johnson represented a major reversal of the finding of an arbitration panel in August 2004 wherein the panel consisting of three local private attorneys reviewing the case had found in favor of Barrett and awarded Barrett $16,500 in damages and that Tedd Koren DC should publish a retraction. Tedd Koren DC appealed that award.
Tedd Korn, DC was represented by well-known health freedom San Juan Capistrano, CA, attorney Carlos F. Negrete for trial and Washington, D.C. attorney James Turner of Swankin & Turner. Easton, PA, attorney Christopher Reid of Laub, Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid served as local counsel for the legal team and co-counsel for the trial along with Negrete. Turner and Negrete have been well-known for their representation of clients in the health food, supplement and vitamin industries, as well as representing naturopaths, nurses, dentists, physicians, chiropractors and complimentary therapists across the country. Turner’s experience dates back to the 1960s when he joined consumer advocate Ralph Nader and was one of the groundbreaking Nader’s Raiders that made consumer advocacy popular, and which brought significant changes in manufacturing and consumer protection. The Nader’s Raders’ campaigns received worldwide attention.
In making the ruling to throw out the case, Judge Johnson granted a rare directed verdict to the jury finding there was insufficient evidence to support Barrett’s claims. Judge Johnson indicated that this case was one of those "rare times" where such a motion was appropriate.
The victory to chiropractor Tedd Koren DC comes almost 18 years to the date that chiropractors received national attention with their victory against the American Medical Association (AMA) by obtaining an injunction against the AMA from an Illinois federal judge for engaging in illegal boycotting of doctors of chiropractic in Wilk et al vs. AMA. Barrett had been an outspoken supporter of the AMA at the same time that Tedd Koren DC had been a vocal advocate that the AMA has, in recent years, violated the spirit of the federal judge’s order.
After the ruling, Tedd Koren DC proclaimed: "I am overjoyed and enthusiastic that this nightmare is over and that the science, art and philosophy of chiropractic and the work of all of my colleagues have been vindicated. This case took a toll on my life and family, but I knew that I was right in publishing the truth. Dr. Barrett has no right to misinform the public about chiropractic and other natural healing arts or to try to silence anyone who criticizes him or tell consumers that he is not what he purports to be. I believe that it is not right to be silent when there is a duty to inform the public and let the truth be told."
For years, Barrett has touted himself as a "medical expert" on "quackery" in healthcare and has assisted in dozens of court cases as an expert. Also, Barrett has testified that was called upon by the FDA, FTC and other governmental agencies for his purported expertise. He was the subject of many magazine interviews, including Time Magazine and featured on television interviews on ABC’s 20/20, NBC’s Today Show and PBS. He has gained media fame by his outspoken vocal disgust and impatience over natural or non-medical healthcare, including his criticisms of two time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling.
Tedd Koren DC is known for his writings and lectures on chiropractic science, research, philosophy and chiropractic patient adjusting. He is known for his Tedd Koren DC Publications chiropractic patient education brochures, posters, booklets, books and other products that are used in chiropractors’ offices throughout the United States and around the world. Tedd Korn, DC also co-founded a chiropractic college, is on the extension faculty of two chiropractic colleges, is published in chiropractic and bio-medical journals, and has received numerous awards in his field. His web sites include www.korenpublications.com and www.teddkorenseminars.com and www.teddkoren.com
In his 2001 newsletter, Tedd Koren DC published articles that revealed that even though Barrett had touted himself as a medical expert, he had not been a licensed physician since the early 1990s. Tedd Koren DC also published that Barrett had been the subject of a $10 million racketeering lawsuit [that had been withdrawn] and called him a "quackpot" for the contradiction of his web site and lack of credentials.
Tedd Koren DC’s trial attorney, Carlos F. Negrete of San Juan Capistrano, CA, is known for his defense of physicians, chiropractors, dentists, clinics and natural heath providers who practice what is known as integrated, complimentary & alternative medicine and holistic healthcare. Negrete has also handled groundbreaking cases against HMOs in California and has represented many celebrities, corporations and politicians.
At trial, under a heated cross-examination by Negrete, Barrett conceded that he was not a Medical Board Certified psychiatrist because he had failed the certification exam. This was a major revelation since Barrett had provided supposed "expert testimony" as a psychiatrist and had testified in numerous court cases as such. Also, Barrett had said that he was a "legal expert" even though he had no formal legal training.
The most damning testimony before the jury, under the intense cross-examination by Negrete, was that Barrett had filed similar defamation lawsuits against almost 40 people across the country within the past few years and had not won one single one at trial. During the course of his examination, Barrett also had to concede his ties to the AMA, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
This was not the first time that Negrete was a trial attorney in a Barrett case. He also represented anti-fluoridation advocate Darlene Sherrell in a federal lawsuit filed in Eugene, Oregon by Barrett. Barrett also lost in trial of that case. In addition, Negrete represented Dr. Frank J. King, Jr. ND, DC of King Bio Natural Medicine of North Carolina and MediaPower (manufacturers of CalMax and Nu-Zymes) of Maine in cases filed by an organization led by Barrett, which were also lost by Barrett’s organization. Barrett has also filed a lawsuit against Negrete and his client Dr. Hulda Clark (author of The Cure for All Diseases and The Cure for All Cancers), which is now pending and awaiting trial in San Diego, California federal court.
After the Tedd Koren DC trial, Negrete stated: "The de-bunker has been de-bunked. I am pleased and satisfied with this outcome for Tedd Korn, DC and am proud that Tedd Korn, DC did not succumb to the pressures of the intimidation of Barrett’s legal wrangling. Not everyone can stand up to someone as well known as Barrett."
Negrete continued, "It is another great day for health freedom and alternative healthcare around the world. I am especially pleased that this most important victory was in Barrett’s own hometown. It just goes to show you that there is justice anywhere, even when you are a visitor challenging the home team. Barrett acts like a shill for the medical and pharmaceutical cartels and his bully tactics and unjustified discrediting of leading innovators, scientists and health practitioners should not be tolerated."
Negrete proclaimed "You can be assured that our legal team will be wherever health freedom advocates and practitioners are being persecuted. The tide is now turning and people are
no longer accepting that synthetic drugs are the only way to address health concerns. Every day, consumers are becoming more educated about the benefits of holistic and alternative methods. This is something that the medical establishment obviously fears and wants to crush with false propaganda."
Tedd Koren DC said that he would now go back to his home in Pennsylvania to spend more time with his family and continue to write, research and lecture on topics concerning chiropractic and healthcare and the experiences he has gained from this precedent setting legal battle. He plans to give new lectures to chiropractors across the country that are under attack or have been subjected to governmental actions. He also announced that he is forming a new organization aimed at informing and assisting chiropractors across the country.
The trial started on Monday, October 10, 2005 and ended on October 13, 2005. Barrett was represented by local Allentown attorney, Richard Orloski.
For more background on this case, click here.
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