Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

Archive for March, 2011

Federici v Pignotti et al: Order Granting Motion to Dismiss

It is now official. For the lawsuit of Ronald S. Federici v Monica Pignotti, Jean Mercer, Charly Miller, Advocates for Children in Therapy, Larry Sarner and Linda Rosa, the order by the Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee in the Eastern District Court of Alexandria, VA (aka the rocket docket), granting all of the defendants’ motions to dismiss has been published and granted. Click on the following link, to read the document (this order has been updated and amended March 28 to correct an error (the motion was granted for failure to state a claim for Pignotti and Mercer (not Miller as the previous version stated):

Order Granting Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss.pdf (03-28-2011)

The Dismissal was granted for me on the grounds of both Jurisdiction and Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted:

ORDERED that Defendants Monica Pignotti, Jean Mercer, Charly Miller, Larry Sarner, Advocates for Children in Therapy, and Linda Rosa’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) is GRANTED.

It is further
ORDERED that Pignotti and Mercer’s Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can be Granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is GRANTED.

So it is now official. For Jean Mercer and Monica Pignotti, the case was dismissed on both the grounds of jurisdiction and Ronald Federici’s failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The reason not all defendants had it dismissed on failure to state a claim was that the defendants had different lawyers from different law firms and although I believe both did an excellent, competent job, some of the defendants did not include asking for dismissal for failure to state a claim in their pleadings. I mention this so people reading this will understand that this should in no way be interpreted as any kind of denial for the other defendants. They just didn’t plead it that way in the first place as we did. I note this because this has already been mischaracterized by certain anonymous posters as a “split decision” when it was nothing of the sort. There was no decision on failure to state a claim for the other defendants because they didn’t plead it in the first place. Therefore it was neither granted nor denied for those defendants.

This finding of failure to state a claim is also interesting, since in Dr. Federici’s recent “response” to his critics, he stated that my blogs were filled with lies, fabrications and malicious content. I have repeatedly asked him to identify specifics, but the only place he has even attempted to do so is in his now-dismissed complaint to the courts. I would think that the statements he named would be his very best efforts to identify statements I made that he thinks fell into that category. However, according to the findings stated in the dismissal hearing of March 4, 2011, he failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and the judge stated that the statements attributed to me did not fall into a category that would constitute defamation and pointed specifically to Exhibit H, stating that these were opinions, hence not actionable (that would be the case regardless of whether or not Federici is a public figure, a separate issue that the judge elected not to formally rule on although he did state his opinion — the case was already dismissed on other grounds so the public figure issue at least for this particular case would be moot).

Bottom line is that it is my understanding that Federici still has not named any specific statements from my blogs that would qualify as anything even remotely constituting lies, fabrications or malice. He asserts this vague allegation in his response to his critics in the section where he attacks me specifically, but does not back it up with any specific quotes that can be attributed to me.

Again, I remind people that I am only responsible for the Exhibits in the complaint that have my name on them. I am not responsible for any of the other material, even though Federici attempted to make us all responsible for everything in the complaint as a “conspiracy” which was one of the charges. That too, was rejected by the court because he failed to say who, specifically, said what.

It is also interesting to note that some of Federici’s and/or his legal counsel’s responses to the court seemed to me to imply that people working together to write planned criticism constituted a conspiracy. I am not saying this is the case with these particular defendants, but if it were the case that planned criticism were actionable, many peer reviewed journal critiques by multiple authors would be in danger of being sued.

Of course, this is not the case. I am not a lawyer, but the legal definition of conspiracy is really not difficult for the average layperson to grasp. In order to be a conspiracy, the individuals had to have come together to commit an illegal act or an act that is legally actionable in a civil court. For example, if a group of people conspired to deliberately lie about someone, that would qualify. If people conspired to lie that I was fired from FSU or did sexual favors for people for endorsements, for example, that would be actionable because that is clearly a malicious lie that has no basis in fact. However, if people come together to conduct a critical analysis of claims being made by a mental health professional and that analysis constitutes the sincerely held position of the critics that the person is recommending parents practice potentially harmful procedures on children such as prone restraint, then the conspiracy charge would fail.

The bottom line is that people have the freedom to come together to protest and criticize and that would not qualify as conspiracy as long as they refrain from illegal acts and do not deliberately lie. Were that not the case, where would the civil rights movement be today? People come together to criticize and protest all kinds of things and that is perfectly legal. It only stops being legal when people come together to deliberately lie about someone or commit illegal acts against someone.

It is interesting to note that since the dismissal of this case, the number of false, obscene and I believe malicious internet smear postings about me have greatly increased. Not pointing the finger at anyone in particular — just making a note of this most interesting correlation which appears to be a naturally occurring form of the A-B-A design.

The dismissal hearing transcript of March 4, 2011 will become public record following the 90-day waiting period, on June 23, 2011. I would like to add the court reporter, Renecia Wilson, to my list of people I have acknowledged and thanked for their work on this case. In many ways, as the court reporter who provided an objective, verbatim transcript of what occurred at that meeting, she was the most important person in that courtroom because without that, much of the important detail of what transpired that day would have been lost forever and subject to endless misinterpretations to suit various agendas. It was especially important for me to have such a transcript, since I was unable to be present in the courtroom, but even if I were, no human being is capable of having a 100% accurate memory of what transpired and the verbatim transcript is already showing differences between what some people who were there have reported and what transpired. Having such a record is priceless.

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Defamatory Internet Postings about Monica Pignotti: A Typical Day

Here is a typical day of defamatory internet postings about me just to give people an idea of how outrageous this smear campaign has become.

Today, March 27, 2011, following the appearance of Daniel Ibn Zayd’s commentary on the dismissal of Federici v Pignotti et al and Federici’s “response” to critics and my subsequent commentary on this blog about it, anonymous postings were made about me to the following newsgroups by someone who was obviously very upset about this:

http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.lebanon/topics

Monica Pignotti and the Black Hand of Jhadist Terror:

Makes completely false and obviously malicious defamatory statements about me with regard to terrorist activities that are not even remotely true.

Daniel Ibn Zayd and Monica Pignotti:

Falsely states that I am appearing in court on charges of association with a terrorist and that I worked for a flight school in Florida prior to 9/11. Again, both malicious lies that can be completely refuted with a search on PACER that shows the only court case I have been involved in is Federici v Pignotti et al which is now dismissed and has nothing to do with terrorism. The only other lawsuit I was even named in was a very short-lived counter suit by Hulda Clark’s organization 10 years ago, but I was never served with papers for that one so I was never actually sued and the suit was withdrawn. This one is especially ugly since in fact, I was living in New York City at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and watched the towers collapse which I could see from the hospital where I was working at the time. I had lived there for 21 years prior to that and did not move to Florida until the summer of 2006.

Monica Pignotti and Ibn Zayd: Mass Murder Plot:

Again, obviously false and defamatory. Qualifies as libel per se if the anonymous coward who posted this can be identified.

alt.religion.scientology:

Monica Pignotti: Personality Disorder?

Falsely states that I have a personality disorder and “abandoned” Advocates for Children in Therapy when I have done nothing of the kind and obviously online diagnosis by an anonymous coward is not valid. Newsflash: In non-cultic organizations, people are free to come and go as they so choose for reasons that have nothing to do with abandonment.

Additionally, whoever wrote this (I hope not a licensed mental health professional!) appears to have a misunderstanding of how abandonment relates to borderline personality disorder. The issue with people with BPD is that they feel they have been abandoned and fear being abandoned, not that they abandoned others although they do tend to have ambivalent relationships with others. This does not mean, however that anyone who leaves an organization or severs ties with people has BPD. That’s the kind of assumption an amateur would make.

http://groups.google.com/group/misc.legal/topics

Inside the Monica Pignotti — ACT Split

More lies by an anonymous coward who knows nothing about this matter, which had nothing to do with legal fees or voting machine cases that have no relevance whatsoever to my life. The public records show that I had a completely different law firm represent me from AC T so that completely refutes the lie that there was a dispute over legal fees.  I recommend that the anonymous coward, if he has any ability to read, look at the legal documents and which law firms were representing each of us. Obviously someone is fishing for info that they are not going to get.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.radio.shortwave/topics

Yet another posting lying that I was fired from FSU when I was not (a lie about me that has been repeated endlessly for over a year, although the postings abated during the 3-month period of Federici v Pignotti et al.) I graduated from FSU and left in good standing in every way and have references to prove it that I supply to legitimate people requesting them.

That posting linked to another posting two days earlier on the same newsgroup that made defamatory statements about me with regard to FSU and divorce cases when I have never been involved in any divorce cases, ever in my life.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.food.cooking/

Monica Pignotti is a TRAITOR

More lies about my relationship with ACT saying I abandon things and “write sensational articles”. I have written no such articles about ACT nor do I have any intention of doing so and the statement I am “known” as a “social work sex toy” is patently absurd.  Actually the only ones to use this term to describe me as this are the anonymous cowards who have been endlessly repeating that phrase. Anyone who knows me would be rolling on the floor laughing, as anyone who knows me knows how not like me that description is.

Monica Pignotti: Domestic Violence

Also from rec.food.cooking, lies that I was fired from FSU and have convictions for witness tampering and fraud. In fact, I have never been fired from any professional job I have ever held and a search of any criminal database or court database such as PACER will show that they will come up squeaky clean — no criminal convictions or charges of any kind, ever.

http://groups.google.com/group/sci.skeptic/browse_thread/thread/a3e0f8707aeb769c#

Monica Pignotti: Be Afraid, Very Afraid

In addition to the usual defamation and misleading portrayals (e.g. Bruce Thyer although like many people has in the past been divorced, he has not divorced recently and has been happily married for 20 years). The subject header of this posting is bordering on crossing the line into a threat.

Also from Sci.Skptic:

Monica Pignotti: Hot for Teacher

More of the usual obscene defamatation.

I post these just to reveal to readers what a typical day defamatory internet postings about me has been like, ever since the dismissal of Federici v Pignotti et al and I’m not even sure that I have listed all the postings that have appeared about me today. Coincidence? You be the judge.

And again, for people who think I should just ignore these and they will go away, they won’t. I have tried that and it didn’t work. The only thing that made the postings mostly go away was the existence of legal action — they greatly decreased with no overtly libelous postings during the period Federici v Pignotti was active. Following its dismissal, the smear campaign resumed in full force. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Please keep in mind that cyber abuse is a relatively new phenomenon and so don’t be so certain that the prevailing wisdom to ignore cyber abusers is correct. Remember when the common wisdom for rape victims was not to fight back and just go along with it so they wouldn’t get killed? Well, that one turned out to be very wrong and the current advice is for rape victims to scream as loudly as they can and fight back. In my opinion, the same goes for victims of cyber abuse and I refuse to stand silently by while my reputation is being trashed by malicious liars.

I just noticed in my site stats for this blog (which gives terms people searched on to get here) that someone searched on the question “what kind of information do i need on a poster for a smear campaign?”

To respond to that question, if the smear campaign against me is any indication, my answer would be no information whatsoever. Entire smear campaigns can be based upon nothing more than fabrications, especially if the people posting are able to remain anonymous and not accountable for their actions.

Daniel Ibn Zayd Comments on Federici v Pignotti et al and Ronald Federici’s Subsequent Responses

Daniel Ibn Zayd, whose blog was listed as Appendix I in Ronald Federici’s complaint in the now-dismissed Federici v Pignotti et al,  has now commented on his own blog on this case and on Ronald Federici’s response. [update September 21, 2011: Daniel Ibn Zayd recently listed Jean Mercer as an “adoption criminal” which should remove any remaining doubt as to whether he was in a “conspiracy” with defendants. This charge was ludicrous to begin with and the entire conspiracy charge was dismissed, but this is conclusive proof that there was no conspiracy. Most ironically, he appears to have placed Ronald Federici and Jean Mercer in the same category!].

He makes the very valid point that rather than being in the conspiracy alleged, the people Dr. Ronald Federici named as his “critics” are individuals, each with our own perspective on various issues who happen to have, independently, criticized the work of  Dr. Federici and any correspondence we had was only in reaction to Federici’s attempt to lump us all together.

On a smaller scale this is not unlike what has happened with the evolution of criticism of Scientology on the internet. Critics, not associated with one another, each with their own perspective, had reason to criticize Scientology. Although not in a conspiracy with one another, the criticism of Scientology has gained increasing momentum over the years. While some individuals have fallen by the wayside and have been defeated by Scientology, ultimately giving in and settling in various lawsuits, when we look at the big picture, any attempts to suppress criticism has only motivated even more critics to speak out against abuses, fight for their rights to free speech and continue to speak out.

Some critics of Scientology are motivated to do so because they themselves are former members of Scientology, others have had family members involved in Scientology and still others are very concerned about attempts to limit free speech on the internet by unwarranted copyright violation complaints and other attempts to curtail internet free speech. At times, the critics themselves had heated disagreements and argued and fought with one another — this is all very healthy and shows that this is not some kind of cult, but rather a movement of independent-minded individuals, each with their own views. Critics of Scientology represent all age groups, many different nations and come from diverse backgrounds, some still believe in Scientology itself whereas others consider it utter bunk, but what they have in common is their desire to put an end to what in their opinion are abuses within Scientology’s organization. This is not a “conspiracy” but rather, the evolution of a movement consisting of people who are exercising their rights to free speech on the internet. Those who try to stop this only end up making themselves look worse.

As recent discussions on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology (ARS) suggest, some of the advocates of internet free speech who are critics of Scientology have also become interested in Federici v Pignotti et al. and Ronald Federici’s subsequent responses to his critics. These are people who were never his clients or even initially critics of his therapy, but became aware of him only because of postings to ARS and other usenet groups — not my postings or the postings of any critics, but postings made by unidentified individuals under various pseudonyms that were glorifying Federici and trashing his critics. This appears to have been the beginning of the anonymous smear campaign against Advocates for Children Therapy and several of Federici’s critics. Interest seems to have increased even more, following Federici v Pignotti et al. Disclaimer: Before clicking on any of the links to ARS, please be advised that the culture within these public newsgroups can include some people who use colorful language including some of the smear postings against me, so if you are offended by this type of speech, don’t click on the links.

Monica Pignotti Taught Multiple Perspectives on Feminism

I just can’t imagine who has the time to go through everything I have written online with a fine toothed comb and grasp at any straw they can to slam me. My guess is that someone with no other life is either devoting their life to finding anything they can to malign me or it is someone’s job. In any case, the latest in the smear campaign against me is an anonymous posting slamming me as “harassing students” for making the  following statement:

I am probably the only one in my department who exposed students in my diversity class to both the writings of radical feminists and the writings of more conservative feminists, such as Christina Hoff-Sommers (who I actually agree with
on a number of points) because I wanted them to have both points of view.

I committed what one of my cyber stalkers apparently considers the sin of actually exposing students to multiple perspectives on feminism in a diversity class. Imagine that! Not sure if this individual feels it is horrible I taught about radical feminism or horrible I taught about Christina Hoff-Sommers’ work (who is highly critical of radical feminism) or horrible that I gave students multiple perspectives and encouraged them to think critically about whatever they read. That’s the whole point. I don’t just teach perspectives that I agree with because the whole purpose of education, by my philosophy, is to teach students how to think, not what to think. In other words:

Teaching students how to think in a rational, critical manner, is education.

Teaching students what to think is not teaching or education at all; it’s indoctrination. If students just absorb material like sponges and then just uncritically regurgitate it back on some test to please the instructor, that is a complete waste of time and of the good money they are paying to get an education. Of course there are certain facts and skill sets that need to be taught and learned, but at the end of the day, it is how they think, not what they think, that counts and makes them a professional rather than a mere technician.

The final assignment I gave that class, by the way, was to have them pick a controversial issue, identify what their position is on it and then turn around and play devil’s advocate, producing the very best arguments they can find for the opposing position and then write about their conclusions and what they learned from doing so [I did this very thing on my potentially harmful therapies blog, by the way, when I gave the very best arguments I could possibly find for prone restraint and thoughtfully examined them]. I always graded students on the quality of their arguments and students who produced well-written, sound arguments got high marks, regardless of whether I agreed with their position.

It this is their best shot against me, someone must be getting pretty desperate. Talk about grasping at straws. And of course the post is continued with the usual untrue and completely unsupported assertions that I was fired from FSU and that I “ranted” to the class about various topics I did not. This is easily refuted by references I am happy to provide from people who actually worked with me at FSU. Who will people believe? Those who worked with me and know me or an anonymous coward? A real head scratcher — not.

Although I have yet to identify the anonymous individual is or individuals are who has been posting libelous material about me and yet lacks the courage to put his name to what he or she posts, it is interesting to note that whoever they are, have been literally flooding the internet with libelous and defamatory postings of all kinds about me since the dismissal of Federici v Pignotti. Perhaps whoever it is was unhappy with the outcome?

Just a guess on my part but it is interesting to note that during the three months this case was active, there were very few derogatory postings about me and even those were quite mild, compared to the overtly libelous ones that have been posted since March 4, 2011. And before anyone attempts to put words in my mouth, again, please note that I am not accusing Dr. Federici of making these postings, but whoever the anonymous individuals are seem to have stepped up their activities posting untrue statements about me since the dismissal. While a few might just be internet trolls jumping in on the action, it is a big stretch to think that all of the posters are just trolls, given the timing and the nature of the postings and that some had knowledge of things that were not in the public domain that a so-called “troll” could not have found out about by being online.

Proof that Monica Pignotti Graduated from Florida State University with a PhD

To refute the latest lie that is part of an ongoing, anonymous and highly defamatory smear campaign which appears to have greatly escalated since Federici v Pignotti was dismissed even though note that I am not accusing Federici himself of personally posting this, lies are being posted by an unidentified anonymous person about me that I “flunked” out of FSU and got my diploma from a website. Click here for proof that I did, in fact graduate with my PhD:

Graduates of the FSU College of Social Work Doctoral Program

On that page, it shows that I did indeed, successfully defend my dissertation and graduated from Florida State University.  Graduates are listed in chronological order from earliest to latest, so scroll down to near the bottom of this page where the most recent graduates are listed and my name will be found as follows:

Monica Pignotti

The Use of Novel Unsupported and Empirically Supported Therapies by Licensed Clinical Social Workers.

I was not “fired” from FSU. I left in good standing in every way and only because I graduated and have the references to prove it and my dissertation committee chair, Professor Bruce Thyer (a family man who is very much in love with his wife, contrary to the defamatory filth has been posted about us) and others will vouch for me.

Although Ronald Federici and some of his colleagues, none of whom have ever met or worked with me, attempted to complain to my Dean in July of 2009, his attempts to complain about me were to no avail and my Dean chose not to take any action on this “complaint” because he considered the allegations to be completely irrelevant to my work at FSU, where in addition to successfully passing every step of the process and being the first one in my cohort to graduate, I earned a 3.9 GPA. Note that even Dr. Federici admits that I do have this PhD in an otherwise highly derogatory piece he wrote about me that is linked to his website so I am not accusing him of posting the anonymous posting, but the anonymous poster, whoever that may be is posting lies about me saying I “flunked” out when FSU’s own website shows that I did, in fact graduate.

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