For those who haven’t already heard via other blogs about the subpoena that’s been sent to autism blogger Kathleen Seidel, please, do yourself a favor and read her post on it.
Seriously, this has practically left me speechless at the moment. I’ll definitely be posting more on this later.
But for right now, I just want to touch on some of the aspects of this subpoena that I found most ridiculous:
- A lawyer can’t bother to check the spelling of “LexisNexis”, the famous legal search engine. No, really, it’s spelled “Lexus Nexus” in item 8.
- Item 9 requests records of communication with—I am seriously not making this up—“any religious groups (Muslim or otherwise)”. And yes, that parenthetical note is really there in the original.
- Item 5 contains a half-a-page-long laundry list of every blog in Seidel’s blogroll, with whom she’s expected to have kept a record of every single bit of communication. Oh, and did I mention the little remnant of HTML code in the paragraph, another sign that nobody likely bothered to proofread the thing?
- “2. All documents pertaining to the setup, financing, running, research, maintaining the website http://www.neurodiversity.com/.” Isn’t that just a bit overreaching? Particularly that “research” bit?
- Seidel is not even a party to this lawsuit, not even named in any of the material involved in the suit; merely a random blogger who happened to write about some of the individuals involved. Yet she’s expected to collect this ridiculous amount of information and even show up in court, with barely any reason to have even expected a subpoena in the first place.
- And last, but not least, none of this information seems to have any bearing whatsoever on whether the defendant’s product in fact caused the developmental disabilities on which the complaint hinges.
I seriously hope this subpoena gets quashed.
Because it’s quite scary.
So I, too, stand in allegiance with Kathleen Seidel, even though I’m not even one of the individuals who was named in the subpoena. To not do so would be to put all my fellow autistics in danger, as such a subpoena could strike any of us who dare to speak out in the name of good science and in the name of autism advocacy.
Or, to paraphrase the words of a certain other protest against outrageous legal tactics that’s been in the news lately… we are Kathleen, and we are legion.