Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

Posts tagged ‘lawsuits’

Federici v Pignotti et al: What the Judge Actually Said

It has come to my attention that the misinformation about this case is being repeated.

To set the record straight, click here for a link to the entire dismissal document which people can read to get the full context for this case, to read exactly what the judge, the Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee stated in his ruling in the March 4, 2011 dismissal hearing when he dismissed Dr. Ronald Federici’s case against multiple defendants. This is a prime example of why it has been said that the transcriber has the most important job in the courtroom, so that there is an objective record of what occurred that cannot be distorted later. Contrary to assertions by Dr. Federici that he was “designated an international public figure”, the transcript shows there was no such declaration. The transcript (quoted below) clearly shows that judge declined to rule on whether Dr. Federici was a public figure because he dismissed the case on other grounds (jurisdiction and for Pignotti & Mercer, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted – our words did not quality as defamation and Federici failed to demonstrate any conspiracy or tortious interference). He did not “declare” Federici a public figure, nor did he declare any of his colleagues as public figures, as they were completely irrelevant to this case. As the quotations I will reproduce below explicitly demonstrate, the judge was very clear that my comments, contrary to Federici’s repeated insistent assertions, did not constitute defamation. Here are some relevant quotes from the judge’s ruling, where he pointed out multiple deficiencies in Federici’s complaint:

Let me say at the outset that the complaint suffers from several deficiencies. The first is group pleading, and we really can’t tell what allegations are made against each individual defendant. And that is a problem that the whole complaint suffers from. And because of that, it is really not clear what the plaintiff asserts each defendant did and when and what false statements were made that are libelous, what was the statement, what was the date of it.


With respect to conspiracy, there’s not enough here in terms of facts to demonstrate a conspiracy. And again, the fact that the plaintiff here is engaged in group pleading makes it impossible to tell what agreement plaintiff claims was entered into by which defendants at what time to do what against Dr. Federici.

The fact that they all have criticized Dr. Federici does not mean they’ve entered into an agreement sufficient to support a claim for conspiracy.

and here’s why he granted the motion of Pignotti and Mercer to dismiss for failure to state a claim:

 The defamation claim, there’s a motion to dismiss filed by Pignotti and Mercer that does not state a claim for defamation or tortious interference with contract rights or business expectancy.

I’m going to grant that motion for several reasons. First of all, as it relates to the statements themselves, I do not think that plaintiff has set forth sufficient facts connecting Mercer with any actionable statements.

And as it relates to Pignotti, I do not think that plaintiff has set forth sufficient facts to demonstrate a claim that would meet the requirements of libel underVirginia law and the Chapin versus Knight-Ridder case.

The words specifically claimed are not set forth. They’re not set forth with any specificity. The dates are not set forth. They’re insufficient to state a claim. And looking at them as a matter of substance, some of them — Exhibit H, appears to be Dr. Pignotti responding what she believes to be actions taken by Dr. Federici on her website. These matters would not be –they would be opinion. They would not be sufficient to state a claim for libel.

And here is where he declined to rule on the public figure issue (contrary to what Federici has repeatedly asserted, he was not “declared” a public figure by Judge Lee, nor were any of his colleagues, who are irrelevant to this case although Judge Lee does point out that the possibility exists beause he advertises on the internet and TV – he made no evaluation about whether or not he was a valid expert since that would not be relevant and the case was dismissed on other grounds):

And I think without making a judgment now that plaintiff’s counsel would have to agree that there’s a question here to be decided at some point, maybe not today, about whether or not — what standard would apply to plead a libel or slander against Dr. Federici and whether or not he’s a public figure or limited public figure given that he advertises on the Internet and on television and all these others.

But I don’t have to decide that now. But if that issue were to come up, it does appear that there would be some challenge presented to Dr. Federici to credibly assert he’s not a public figure or at least a limited public figure.

I’m going to grant the motion to dismiss as it relates to tortious interference with contract rights and expectancy because he’s not proffered sufficient facts to demonstrate that Mercer or Pignotti intentionally interfered with any contracts.

The fact that he is a practicing psychologist does not in and of itself give notice to anyone else that he has contracts with particular clients or that he communicated with those particular clients. And the complaint as set forth alleges that two — I believe it was two potential clients canceled their appointments because of things that they read on the internet, not necessarily matters that were set forth by Dr. Pignotti or Dr. Mercer.

And finally, with respect to conspiracy to injure in trade business reputation under 18.2499, this complaint does not come close to meeting the requirements of Ashcroft versus Iqbal in terms of setting forth facts that plead conspiracy in more than just conclusory terms. So for those reasons, the motion to dismiss will be granted for the reasons just stated.

So there you have it. These are the reasons the case was dismissed, as stated in the public record. Not all the twisting and shouting and attempts to resurrect ancient history by Dr. Federici, Ms. Heather Forbes and their supporters is going to change that. Not all the ranting about irrelevant voting machine cases and a 35+ year ago involvement I had in Scientology that I have long since repudiated and misportrayals of Jean Mercer’s blogging (she was not “fired” by Psychology Today – she quit after they forbade her to write about Federici because they failed to show up in court when he sued them and he won by default, although he lost against Mercer, who did show up and successfully defended herself and continues to blog about him), are going to obfuscate this public record of what transpired. That being said, Psychology Today never hired Jean Mercer for pay in the first place, hence the term “fired” is completely moot.

I have not defamed Dr. Federici. I have exercised my Constitutional right to express my criticisms and sincerely held concerns about his interventions as described in his self-published book and media appearances. And no, challenging authoritarian, non-empirically supported practices and refusing to fall into lock step with self-proclaimed “experts” who make claims in self-published books and promote themselves via testimonials is not “hate” speech. It is done out of a caring and concern for mental health clients who licensed mental health professionals are there to serve. Expression of such opinions does not constitute defamation, nor does it constitute interference with business, nor does the fact that the defendants agree with one another about this, constitute conspiracy. Instead of responding to the substance of my concerns, he continues to choose to attempt to resurrect irrelevant ancient history and engage in personal attacks. People can judge for themselves what that may indicate. Where is the evidence that prone restraints and the intervention he promotes is safe and effective? When and where specifically did he train in the administration of the restraint procedure he recommends? More authority-based assertions that his holds are completely safe just do not cut it, in my opinion, especially after so much of the published literature I have consulted on the dangers of prone restraint, even when administered correctly. Even the literature I consulted that is in favor of prone restraints, outlines very strict precautions that must be in place and checks and balances, monitoring, record keeping and safety equipment (e.g. resuscitation) that would not be difficult, if not impossible to have in a private home. At best, prone restraint is a highly controversial procedure that I have every right to express my opinions on. These are very real issues and substantive response does not appear to be forthcoming. Instead the ad hominem (personal) attacks on critics continue.

I would be more than happy to put this matter to rest and never mention it again, but since the anonymous WordPress bloggers and others are continuing to post and repost misportrayals of what occurred, I will defend myself, as I have the right to, by posting public records. Bottom line: Keep posting misportrayals of what occurred and I will keep reposting links to and quotes from the actual public records from this and possibly other cases.

Misportrayals of my Views on Libel Law

Contrary to more misportrayals, as usual, of my views on that other WordPress blog by saying I am on the “wrong side of a legal debate”, anyone even remotely familiar with my views would immediately recognize that I am completely opposed to the proposed criminal libel law in North Carolina and am very glad to hear it got struck down and agree, it would have been the worst libel law, ever, my worst nightmare when it comes to suppression of internet free speech.  In my prior posting about criminal libel law in Florida, that law is not nearly as sweeping and applies only to very specific forms of speech and was not specifically about the internet, not all internet speech and I never said I was in favor of it. I was simply noting that it existed, leaving the door open for prosecution, should the anonymous posters who are posting obscene lies about me be identified. I was noting that as an item of interest and also noted that I wasn’t even sure if it had been recently enforced, as it appears to be one of those antiquated laws. In Florida, it is also still illegal for unmarried people of the opposite sex who are couples to live together but of course, hundreds of thousands of couples in Florida do and it is not enforced and this obviously outdated law should be taken off the books.

Only someone who is either extremely deficient in thinking skills or who is deliberately attempting to mislead people about my views would conclude I would support such a law. If anyone is on the wrong side of that debate, it would be Ronald S. Federici, who tried (and ultimately failed) to gain jurisdiction over several defendants from out of state in his internet defamation lawsuits, so it would seem to me that the NC proposed law would be right up his alley. Plus, since it would criminalize defamation, it would spear him the expense of having to hire a lawyer, although the disadvantage would be that he’d have to convince the State to press charges, which would be highly unlikely since so far he has been unable to state a claim that was acceptable to the court (e.g. his Federal case against me was dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted). Nevertheless, if that law had been in existence in Virginia, Ronald Federici could have gained jurisdiction over all of his defendants, had he been able to state a claim. Go here for documents which show that it is Ronald S. Federici who repeatedly tried to get defendants brought in from out of state so he could sue them for internet defamation, conspiracy and tortious interference. However, a Federal judge put an end to that by overruling the decision of a small claims court judge (Federici also lost the small claims cases against Mercer, Miller and Advocates for Children in Therapy, but the judge in that case had stated that he believed Virginia had jurisdiction over them — however when case law was presented to the Federal judge in his later lawsuit, it was ruled that Virginia does not have jurisdiction over any of the defendants and that the mere fact that people in Virginia read the postings was not sufficient reason for Virginia to have jurisdiction. A law like the one proposed in NC, however, would have changed that).

In any case, I completely agree that the NC law would have completely killed Constitutional rights to free speech and I am adamantly opposed to it and overjoyed that it was defeated. Is that clear enough for you, anonymous cyber smear campaigners? It is well known that I publicly support anti-SLAPP legislation and the kind of law that was proposed in NC could have encouraged all kinds of frivolous lawsuits and had horrific unintended consequences.

What I do think is that something needs to be done about is extreme cases of obviously malicious fabrications being posted on the internet that can wreck a person’s life. Now that is draconian. That is something our Constitution does not guarantee and that, under law, is subject to usually civil defamation statutes. What still needs to be worked out is how to deal with anonymous people on the internet who are getting away with this. The fact that such postings can come from outside the US makes this issue particularly complicated and problematic and I, for one, am not so arrogant as to presume that I have the answer for how to deal with this. There are no easy answers to this and since the internet is still relatively new, this is something that probably won’t be worked out for years. Also, wording of such a law needs to be worked out so that it would clearly distinguish between people who are posting malicious lies designed to wreck a person’s life and people who are exercising their legitimate constitutional rights to free speech by expressing opinions and the facts, as they sincerely understand them.

On the one hand, people do need to remain free to exercise their right to free speech, which includes the right to express opinions, including criticism that people might not like and well documented facts. What free speech does not include, however, is malicious lies and outright fabrications of the sort that have been posted about me, for example, copying a posting from a website, altering it and then putting my name in it, something I recently caught the internet smear campaigners doing, red handed. That is a clear demonstration of malice and deliberately posting falsehoods that would even win a case against a public figure. However, in this particular case, I didn’t even need to go to the law. The website owner, once I presented him/her with the evidence, much to their credit, had the decency to remove the posting. However, he/she didn’t have to and not all website owners would have done so. So thank you, Liars and  Cheaters RS, for being decent and honest human beings. Sadly, not every website owner is and hence, the need for some kind of carefully and clearly worded law, not the proposed and now-defeated NC law.

So yes, the State of North Carolina went way overboard and their proposed legislation, I am very happy to report, was defeated. However, that does not mean that anything should go when it comes to malicious fabrications being posted on the internet. Ultimate, however, I believe the solution lies not with the passage of legislation, which will always have its limitations, but with teaching people to critically evaluate statements that are made, rather than believe everything they read on the internet. Were people capable of doing this, it wouldn’t matter what was posted and Google would have to re-evaluate its search algorithms if it wanted to be credible.

Once again, the anonymous smear campaigners appear incapable of telling the difference between legitimate free speech and malicious defamation.

My Position on WordPress

The Anonymous WordPress bloggers are at it again. Their postings are taking a more hysterical than ever tone, denouncing me as a “hypocrite” because two years ago I criticized WordPress for suspending a blog, even though a year later I began blogging on WordPress. No, that does not make me a hypocrite because they ignore the fact that things have changed on WordPress over the last few years and they now take a much more pro free speech position than they previously did, in my opinion.

The implication, which provides us with an interesting window into the way these folks (the anonymous folks who trash me, that is) think, seems to be that if someone belongs to an organization or even accepts a certain blog host, they need to be completely positive and never question or criticize anything about it. They imply that if someone criticizes something, they should not be a part of it. That is very cult-like thinking. Non-cultic organizations as well as blog hosts welcome criticism from their own members and do not oust or exclude critics from being part of the organization or in this case, the blog host.

I stand by my criticism that the suspension of Wayward Radish’s Search for Survivors blog was unjust because they gave into the demands of people who wanted to silence a whistleblower. This, however, does not mean that I shouldn’t blog on WordPress myself. In fact, sometimes the best way to counteract such a smear campaign is to set up a blog that counters the smear campaign which is something WordPress recommends people do if they have a disagreement with what another blogger has written and that is what I have done.

In fact, there seem to have been some changes in WordPress policy over the last year or so that are encouraging. Currently, according to what Mark wrote me back in November 2010, their policy is that they will not remove blogs that are complained about as “defamatory” without a court order. That policy was apparently not in place when Wayward Radish’s blog was suspended as it was removed in response to threats but as far as I know, there was no court order to have it removed. Later, in November, 2010 Ronald Federici named the Search For Survivors blog which was suspended by WordPress but now hosted by Project DoD,  in a lawsuit. However, there were never any court orders to have it removed and in March 2011, the suit was dismissed, the case never even went into depositions or a trial and no connection between the Search for Survivors blog and any of the defendants he named was ever demonstrated.

The fact is that like most blog hosts, WordPress is not perfect, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also have positives, especially now that they have changed their policy to be more pro free speech. Of course, that kind of nuanced thinking and flexibility is foreign the black and white cultic thinkers who denounce me and believe that everything has to be all good or all bad and that people should rigidly and inflexibly hold to one position or else they are a “hypocrite”. No, there is a difference between being a hypocrite and being open and flexible to changes.

It is most interesting that they denounce my change of mind about TFT, which occurred more than seven years ago, but not so surprising since these are the same people who defend therapy gurus I have criticized and no amount of evidence I present to the contrary will change their minds. It is not hypocritical for me to criticize TFT at all. Apparently someone seems to have a confusion about a legitimate and thoughtful change of mind about a practice, which is what occurred with me, and hypocrisy. According to such people, anything less than slavish, inflexible, unquestioning devotion, ignoring of any evidence that comes to light and continuing to stay with something in spite of the evidence against it, is “hypocrisy” — a very strange definition but one that one might expect from cult like mentalities. Apparently they have not read Robert Cialdini’s work on how people are manipulated to stay in highly damaging situations and relationships by appeals to commitment and consistency, ignoring the fact that changing ones mind about something can sometimes be the wisest thing to do.

And no, the academic community has not had a bad reaction to my change of mind about TFT and other things at all. On the contrary, every time I have been asked about it by faculty, they have applauded my actions, openness to actual evidence and changes I have made and if anything, it has helped, not harmed me.

Altered Posting from a Private Yahoo Group Adoption List Serv

How many times have I written that the anonymous posters have sunk to a new low, or words to that effect? Now I am saying it again.

Observe how once again, my cyberstalker tries to flip things and make me out to be someone with “bizarre” delusions. What I am giving here is a factual, provable account of the bizarre actions of my cyberstalker. Big difference. Since already, misportrayals of this are being posted, I want to make it crystal clear that I am not making any claims that I know how the following incident happened. I only know that it did happen because I saw both the original and the altered posting and have retained copies of both as evidence.

A few days ago, one of the usual defamatory smear postings about me appeared on alt.religion.scientology. This one named a man I had never even heard of, claiming that he and I were lovers and the usual obscene lies that are posted about me that are characteristic of the anonymous posters conducting this smear campaign. I don’t usually post these links, but in this case I choose to, so it can go on the record how ugly this smear campaign has become:\

The claim was made that this person had made a posting to a Yahoo “chat room” (late I found out it was a Yahoo group list serv on Russian Adoption) and the posting said that I was being funded by a foundation for my critical work and for the (now-dismissed) lawsuit against me. This, of course is absolutely false. The posting also claimed that I had called an adoptive mother a “crack whore” which of course is another absurd lie. I challenged the anonymous poster to show me proof of what had been posted.

Shortly thereafter, another anonymous posting was made to alt.religion.scientology with a posting said to be from the Russian Adoption Yahoo list serv and also gave the name and e-mail address of the individual who they claimed posted it. I contacted that individual. He responded that he had no idea who I was (not surprising as I had no idea who he was either). I saw his actual posting and found that the anonymous posters had substantially altered it with their own bizarre fabrications including the “crack whore” statement which the individual in question did not make, nor did he make any statement about me, since he doesn’t even know me and has never heard of me.

Another interesting difference is that the actual, original postings were highly critical of Heather Forbes and also indirectly mentioned Ronald Federici (reference to Angelina Jolie adoption), but in the altered version, Forbes name was removed and the name of another therapist, Bryan Post, was substituted. It looks to me as if whoever the anonymous poster is,  wanted to make sure to leave Federici and Forbes’ names out of it and wanted me to believe that Bryan Post was responsible. Sorry, I’m not buying that. Although I am obviously no fan of Brian Post’s work, I do not believe Bryan Post is responsible because he was barely even mentioned in the actual posting, which focused on Heather Forbes. It looks to me like a posting from a private Yahoo Group list serv somehow got into the hands of the people conducting the smear campaign against me and the list serv has some passionate supporters of none other than Ronald Federici and Heather Forbes. Since the list serv is not public and cannot be viewed by non-members online, someone from the list serv obviously had to have forwarded the posting to someone else and at some point, it must have fallen into the hands of the anonymous cyber stalker who has been posting malicious lies about me. People can draw their own conclusions as to who the top suspects are. I’m not accusing any of the adoptive parents of this. Quite possibly they innocently forwarded this to someone who then got it into the hands of the anonymous posters, but there parents might want to take note of what is being done with those postings.

This is a new low and it once again, makes me ask how it is that such malicious lies are rationalized by these people. If the therapists they are defending are so wonderful, why the need to stoop so low and attack critics in this way? People who have valid arguments have no need to lie about people with whom they disagree.

It is also interesting that the posting once again implies that I am in a conspiracy with any critic of Federici or Forbes when in fact, as happened previously with Daniel Ibn Zayd (who I also had never heard of before we were accused of working together). What is really happening is that people who have never even met or heard of one another are coming to their own independent conclusions about the work of Ronald Federici, Heather Forbes, Bryan Post and certain other therapists. There is no conspiracy.

Ronald Federici attempted to sue five individuals and an organization for conspiracy, but the case was dismissed by a Virginia Federal judge on March 4, 2011 and the time to appeal has now passed, so the case is now closed.  The case was dismissed, for me, for jurisdiction and also, more importantly, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. One of the Exhibits was a blog by Daniel Ibn Zayd, someone who none of the defendants had any ties to. Thankfully, the right to free speech has prevailed. It is also interesting to note that the smear campaign quieted down considerably for the duration of the lawsuit and within days of its dismissal, the smear campaign on the internet resumed in full force and even escalated during the month of March. There were postings on an almost daily basis with all kinds of defamatory lies about me including a complete fabrication about me on a “cheaters” website claiming I broke up a marriage in New York and then the link was posted repeatedly, so this complete fabrication was Google bombed to come up on the first page of a Google search in my name.

So to state the obvious, for the record, I have never called anyone a “crack whore” and I certainly do not receive any funding for my critical work exposing what I consider to be potentially harmful and bogus therapies and no foundation funded my defense in Federici v Pignotti.

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.

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: Bogus Lawsuit Thrown Out in 2002

To set the record straight about outright libelous postings that misrepresent this case, which are springing up on blog after blog here on WordPress, I, Monica Pignotti, was not sued for defamation. There was a bogus lawsuit that was completely dismissed in 2002 where I was named as a cross-complainant. I did not even have to hire a lawyer or appear in court — that’s how obviously frivolous and bogus it was. However, defamation was not on the list of their charges. I was never even served with any papers and no one attempted to do so. Therefore, legally, although I was named in a document that was filed in a court of law in the State of California, I was not sued. Thankfully, California has very strong anti-SLAPP legislation, on of the few US states that does. The ludicrous charges were:

Unlawful, Unfair, and Fraudulent Business Practices,
Violation of Civil Rights,
Intentional Interference With Prospective Advantage,
Negligent Interference With Prospective Advantage,
Civil Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO),
Abuse of Process,
Civil Conspiracy,
Injunctive Relief

The word defamation appearing in the text of the complaint does not mean that I was sued for defamation, as is being misrepresented in a highly misleading way on these other WordPress blogs. Words appearing in the text of a complaint are not the charges. The charges are listed in the complaint on p. 3.

The suit was filed by the company of Hulda Clark, who was well known for her books that claimed in the title to have the “Cure for All Diseases”.

More about Hulda Clark can be found by clicking here.

As one of the other cross-defendants, Peter Bowditch, puts it, the quacks “caved in” very quickly because it was obvious the kooks charging conspiracy of 30 people, most of whom had never even met one another, had no real case. Here is the document that dismissed the cross-complaint. I did not even have to hire a lawyer or appear in court, nor was I (or any of the other cross-defendants, some of whom were completely outside US jurisdiction) served with any papers.

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