|Professor Patricia Casey, Professor of Psychiatry, UCD and Nora Broderick, product manager psychiatry, Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd|
Last month I wrote about Leonie Fennell, the mother of Cipramil victim Shane Clancy, and how she had received a letter from Brophy Solicitors, a law firm representing Irish psychiatrist, Patricia Casey.
Fennell had posted a series of articles on her blog, Leoniefennell.wordpress.com, that linked Casey to Lundbeck, the pharmaceutical company that manufacture the SSRi Cipramil.
Casey has, in the past, supported the use of SSRi type drugs and, according to Fennell, has publicly stated that there is no evidence to suggest that antidepressants can cause suicide or homicide. Fennell's son, Shane, who was prescribed Cipramil, had took the life of a young man before stabbing himself in the chest [19 times].
For a psychiatrist to contact solicitors over someone who has an opinion is a strange move. Casey either thinks the Leonie Fennell blog reaches out to millions or thinks she is important enough to suppress the opinions of what people have to say about her. Fennell posted the threatening letter from the law firm on her blog HERE.
Fennell removed the offending comment back in June but it appears Casey's solicitor's won't let the matter drop.
Yesterday Brophy solicitors wrote once again to Fennell.
It is extremely disappointing that your reply to this letter consisted of you posting it on your blog along with the comment in bold “I will never be bullied, intimidated or silenced by Lundbeck or Professor Casey”
It's disappointing that the client they represent holds the views that there is no evidence to suggest that antidepressants can cause suicide or homicide...when there is much evidence to suggest that they do. I don't see LeonieFennell employing the services of solicitors to quash Casey's claims.
We need to point out to you that when our client first came to us, we advised her that the comments you have now removed from your blog were seriously defamatory and that she would be quite entitled to issue legal proceedings against you. She did not wish to do so because she has enormous sympathy for the tragedy you have suffered.
I find this very odd. Fennell removed the comments and that should have been it. Even by their own admission, Casey did not wish to issue legal proceedings against Fennell - begs the question why Brophy solicitors felt the need to write again? Maybe the next few paragraphs of the letter will explain why?
You have removed the defamatory comments from your blog but you now accuse our client of bullying you and trying to silence you. This is despite the fact that we specifically stated that our client did not want you to remove your blog but only wanted you to remove the defamatory comments you made about her. What part of this constitutes bullying? What part of this constitutes an attempt to silence you? Are you saying that the simple fact that you received a solicitor’s letter asking you to remove certain defamatory comments which you subsequently removed, constitutes intimidation?
We must now insist that you remove this sentence from your blog as it is absolutely clear that our client is not trying to bully you or intimidate you or silence you. What she is trying to do is to protect her good name and she will not allow herself to be defamed again. We hope you will accept that the allegation that our client is a bully and that she is intimidating you and trying to silence you is both wrong and extremely damaging for her.
It's unusual for a law firm to ask questions in a letter, Brophy's have asked three!
1. What part of this constitutes bullying?
2. What part of this constitutes an attempt to silence you?
3. Are you saying that the simple fact that you received a solicitor’s letter asking you to remove certain defamatory comments which you subsequently removed, constitutes intimidation?
Quite why Brophy's, or indeed Casey, wish to pursue this matter has bamboozled me. If Casey thinks one person's opinion can damage her reputation then she needs to join the long list of psychiatrists whom have been the subject of various opinions over the years, the long list of pharmaceutical companies that have a vast army of critics and even bloggers whom have each had to endure various mud-slinging critics because their opinions don't fit in with the blinkered views of the small minority who support the use of SSRi type drugs in children and adolescents.
What is wrong with any person offering an opinion that he/she feels intimidated and bullied by a letter? Wasn't that the effect that Casey wanted? Send a letter to the blogger and let's hope she removes what she has wrote about me - why else would such a letter be sent out?
The final paragraph answers the three questions above:
We have strongly advised our client that she should issue proceedings to prevent this repetitive defamation but once again our client has said that she does not wish to do so given the background to this case but she absolutely insists that you remove the defamatory comments that are appearing on the website at the moment and confirm that you will not repeat any defamation in the future.
What we have here is the good cop/bad cop scenario. Casey playing the role of the good cop whilst Brophy's appear as the bad cop, at least that's the way I see it.
What does Casey have to gain by taking a grieving mother to court? Does she honestly believe that highlighting the opinion of a blogger will make the matter go away? Does Casey think the letters will do the trick and stop Shane Clancy's mother from offering an opinion?
I can just picture it. The Irish newspapers awash with headlines, 'Irish Psychiatrist to Sue Grieving Mother', Irish Psychiatrist, Patricia Casey, "I Am Not A Bully"'
I'm not a lawyer, nor am I in a position to offer any legal advice but I'd bet my left nut that the last thing Irish psychiatrist, Patricia Casey, wants is her name plastered all over the Irish press, she won't like the journalist's who dig and find and make association to her connections with Lundbeck. They will and I am sure they will print their findings too. If Casey thinks the opinion of a lone blogger is tarnishing her good name then the audience that awaits her if she does decide to pursue a case of defamation will do far more damage.
Are Brophy solicitors going to issue letters to other bloggers that have commented, do they wish to silence the opinion of everyone and anyone?
They may wish to look at the laws of Wordpress.com, where Leonie Fennell's blog is hosted.
Defamation, liability: WordPress.com is an internet service provider. We are based in the US, as are all of our servers. As such we are covered by section 230(c) of the US Communications Decency Act which states that internet service providers are not held liable for content (such as allegedly defamatory, offensive, inaccurate, or harassing content) that is posted on the sites they host for their users. We host millions of web sites for our users and are not able to control or police the hundreds of thousands of blog posts our users create every day. However, if you have a complaint about one of our blogs, please follow our complaints procedure.
Rather than put pressure on a grieving mother with an opinion maybe Brophy's time and money would be better spent following the procedure set out by Wordpress.
Short-cutting this procedure serves only one purpose as far as I can see, I'm of the opinion that Casey/Brophy's are intimidating and trying to stifle.
If my opinion is deemed defamatory then Brophy's, or indeed Casey, may debate with me.
Brophy's latest letter to Leonie Fennell can be read in full, HERE.
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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