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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
DUPAGE COUNTY, ILLINOIS

STEPHEN BARRETT, M.D.,
Plaintiff,
v.
OWEN R. FONOROW, and INTELISOFT MULTIMEDIA, INC. a Texas Corporation registered to do business in Illinois,
Defendants.
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No. 01 L 820

COMPLAINT

Plaintiff Stephen Barrett, M.D., by and through his attorneys, Peter M. Katsaros, Mark A. Cisek, and Baum Sigman Auerbach Pierson Neuman & Katsaros, Ltd., complains against the Defendants Owen R. Fonorow, and Intelisoft Multimedia, Inc., a Texas Corporation, as follows:

COUNT I
(Libel Per Se)

1. Plaintiff Stephen Barrett, M.D. ("Dr. Barrett") is a resident of the State of Pennsylvania. Dr. Barrett is a medical journalist, consultant and consumer advocate who runs a web-site entitled "Quackwatch." Quackwatch is dedicated to serving as a guide to health fraud and unfounded medical claims, and to help its readers make educated and informed consumer decisions about healthcare practices.

2. Defendant Owen R. Fonorow ("Fonorow") is a resident of the State of Illinois with a residence and/or place of business at 2880 Sun Valley Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532. He operates a website registered to the same address.

3. Defendant Intelisoft Multimedia, Inc. ("Intelisoft") is a Texas corporation registered to do business in Illinois. Fonorow is its president and conducts business as Intelisoft from his Lisle, Illinois address.

4. Fonorow and Intelisoft operate a website at www.internetwks.com where they post articles and other commentary. On the site, Fonorow and Intelisoft solicit videotapes and other products.

The First Defamatory Webpage

5. Between January 6, 2001 and May 22, 2001, Fonorow and Intelisoft posted ten articles authored by Patrick "Tim" Bolen ("Bolen") on a webpage located at http://www.internetwks.com/pauling/timbolen. The webpage, which contained links for all of these articles authored by Bolen (collectively "the Bolen Articles"), is attached hereto as Exhibit A, and is incorporated herein by reference. This webpage was entitled "Articles on the Quackpot Menace by Tim Bolen." This webpage contained the following false and defamatory statements:

A. "Stephen Barrett (www.quackwatch.com), who claims to be a retired Psychiatrist, but never actually completed the basic qualifications to be 'Board Certified' as such, today announced the end of his lawsuit against U.S. Health leader Joe Mercola, DO."; and

B. "The lesson learned is that EVERY quackbuster lies. It's their job." [emphasis in original].

6. All of the preceding statements are false, and were false when they were posted to Fonorow and Intelisoft's website, in that:

A. Dr. Barrett is a retired psychiatrist, having completed three years of accredited residency training in psychiatry. It is not necessary to be board-certified to practice psychiatry. Dr. Barrett has not misrepresented his credentials; and

B. Dr. Barrett does not lie as part of his job.

The Second Defamatory Webpage

7. One of the Bolen Articles posted by Fonorow and Intelisoft to their website was entitled "'Quackbuster' Barrett LOSES in California Court. . ." [ellipsis in original ], and was located at http://www.internetwks.com/pauling/timbolen/art052201.html. The page is attached hereto as Exhibit B, and is incorporated herein by reference. This webpage contained the following false and defamatory statements:

A. "I beat delicensed MD Stephen Barrett in Court last week.";

B. "Barrett has become the subject of RIDICULE, and a focal-point for what's wrong with the health care system in America." [emphasis in original]; and

C. "His outright abuse of the American legal system is a simple ploy to deter criticism, and hence stop EXPOSURE, of his activities." [emphasis in original]

8. All of the preceding statements are false, and were false when they were posted to Fonorow and Intelisoft's website, in that:

A. Dr. Barrett has not been "delicensed" and has not had his medical license revoked. Dr. Barrett graduated from an accredited medical school, has been licensed in four states and practiced psychiatry for 35 years before retiring in December 1993. When Dr. Barrett retired, he had his license placed on "inactive" status. Because Dr. Barrett retired in good standing, he could reactivate his license simply by paying the licensing fee and obtaining insurance as required by state law;

B. Dr. Barrett has not become a subject of ridicule or a focal-point "for what's wrong with the health care system in America"; and

C. Dr. Barrett has not abused the legal system in any way to deter criticism of his views, to stop "exposure of his activities," or for any other alleged purpose.

The Third Defamatory Webpage

9. One of the Bolen Articles posted by Fonorow and Intelisoft to their website was entitled "FLASH!! Barrett's personal attorney ABANDONS(?) lawsuit. . ." [ellipsis in original], and was located at http://www.internetwks.com/pauling/timbolen/art050401.html. The page is attached hereto as Exhibit C, and is incorporated herein by reference. This webpage contained the following false and defamatory statements:

A."De-licensed MD Stephen Barrett's (www.quackwatch.com) ship is sinking. . ." [ellipsis in original];

B. "BARRETT'S DIRTY FINGERPRINTS... I have suspected all along that the entire Figueroa vs. Clark case was manufactured in a basement in Allentown, Pennsylvania by de-licensed MD Stephen Barrett, for the sole purpose of damaging Hulda Clark. Barrett and his minions, bandied this case all over the Internet, using the original unproven accusations to de-fame Clark's books, her followers, and her work. I also suspect that the Plaintiffs, Esther and Jose Figueroa, were recruited into the lawsuit with false statements, and promises, by Barrett and/or his minions. I suspect that Grell was representing Barrett's interest in the case, not the Figueroa's. I suspect the Figueroas figured out they were being used, and were reluctant to continue the charade. Especially since the substituted much-lauded 'conventional' cancer therapy wasn't, and isn't, working. . . I also suspect that the Figueroas were horribly misled by Barrett, and perhaps other self-styled quackbusters, into believing that Clark's theories were 'fraud and quackery' and of no benefit. CLARK, THE FIGUEROAS, AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, ARE THE VICTIMS HERE. . ." [emphasis and ellipsis in original];

10. All of the preceding statements are false, and were false when they were posted to Fonorow and Intelisoft's website, in that Dr. Barrett:

A. Has not been "de-licensed" and has not had his medical license revoked;

B. Did not "manufacture" the entire Figueroa vs. Clark case, let alone do so for the sole purpose of damaging Hulda Clark;

C. Did not "recruit" the plaintiffs of the Figueroa vs. Clark case, Esther and Jose Figueroa, into the lawsuit, let alone with false statements and promises;

D. Did not have his interests in the case represented by attorney Christopher Grell instead of Mr. Grell representing the Figueroa's interests in the case.

E. Did not "use" the Figueroas in a lawsuit;

F. Did not "mislead" the Figueroas into believing that Clark's theories were "fraud and quackery" and of no benefit - the Figueroas believed this before they had any contact with Dr. Barrett, and the treatment is without benefit in any event; and

G. Did not victimize Hulda Clark, the Figueroas, or the American people.

The Fourth Defamatory Webpage

11. One of the Bolen Articles posted by Fonorow and Intelisoft to their website was entitled "Stephen Barrett's CRACKPOT lawsuits. . ." [emphasis and ellipsis in original], and was located at http://www.internetwks.com/pauling/timbolen/art040801.html. The page is attached hereto as Exhibit D, and is incorporated herein by reference. This webpage contained the following false and defamatory statements

A. "De-licensed MD Stephen Barrett (www.quackwatch.com) tells anyone who will listen to him that he has sued me.";

B. "Barrett is lying - he has not sued me. The statements about the so-called lawsuit on his website are a hoax - a typical quackbuster scam."; and

C. "ABUSING THE LEGAL SYSTEM TO HARASS AND INTIMIDATE... Barrett brags about how he sues people. He sends threatening letters demanding money of those that disagree with him publicly, claiming he 'will flatten them.' He gloats in his communications about how much money he has cost those that disagree with him. To me, there is no substance to any of Barrett's legal actions - it's ALL 'harassment and intimidation.' It is the way Barrett operates." [emphasis and ellipsis in original].

12. All of the preceding statements are false, and were false when they were posted to Fonorow and Intelisoft's website, in that:

A. Dr. Barrett has not been "de-licensed" and has not had his medical license revoked;

B. Dr. Barrett did not lie when he claimed to have sued Bolen. He had sued Bolen. The statements about Dr. Barrett's lawsuit on his website were not a hoax or a scam; and

C. Dr. Barrett does not abuse the legal system, let alone do so to harass or intimidate others. The legal actions brought by Dr. Barrett in the past were substantive causes of action.

The Fifth Defamatory Webpage

13. One of the Bolen Articles posted by Fonorow and Intelisoft to their website was entitled "Florida Judge orders GRILLING of Quackbuster PERJURER(?). . ." [emphasis and ellipsis in original], and was located at http://www.internetwks.com/pauling/timbolen/art033001.html. The page is attached hereto as Exhibit E, and is incorporated herein by reference. This webpage contained the following false and defamatory statements:

A. "Aging quackbuster propagandist de-licensed MD Stephen Barrett, who operates the dubious website www.quackwatch.com out of his basement in Allentown, Pennsylvania DELUDES HIMSELF into believing he sways the health industry towards a direction he wants them to go. Crackpots seldom recognize their own delusions."; and

B. "The lesson learned here is that one must expect that EVERY quackbuster lies. It's their job." [emphasis in original].

14. All of the preceding statements are false, and were false when they were posted to Fonorow and Intelisoft's website, in that:

A. Dr. Barrett has not been "de-licensed" or had his medical license revoked. Dr. Barrett also is not delusional; and

B. Dr. Barrett does not lie as part of his job.

The Sixth Defamatory Webpage

15. One of the Bolen Articles posted by Fonorow and Intelisoft to their website was entitled "Quackpot Menace MASHED in California. . ." [emphasis and ellipsis in original], and was located at http://www.internetwks.com/pauling/timbolen/art032001.html. The page is attached hereto as Exhibit F, and is incorporated herein by reference. This webpage contained the following false and defamatory statement:
De-licensed MD Stephen Barrett, chief propagandist for the 'quackbuster' movement in North America, operates his ludicrous website www.quackwatch.com, hoping that there are still members of the public dumb enough to believe, and take his message seriously.

16. The preceding statement is false, and was false when it was posted to Fonorow and Intelisoft's website, in that Dr. Barrett has not been "de-licensed" and has not had his medical license revoked.

The Seventh Defamatory Webpage

17. One of the Bolen Articles posted by Fonorow and Intelisoft to their website was entitled "The 'Quackpot Menace' in the United States is floundering.", and was located at http://www.internetwks.com/pauling/timbolen/art020201.html. The page is attached hereto as Exhibit G, and is incorporated herein by reference. This webpage contained the following false and defamatory statements:

A. "Barrett's internet business consists primarily of painting American leading-edge health humanitarians with the brush of 'quackery.' I believe him to be funded by some of the sleazier operators within the Medical-Industrial Complex.";

B. "I think so, because I believe that the decisions on whom to prosecute, and for what, by the Florida Dental Board, are being made by quackbuster king-pin; de-licensed MD Stephen Barrett, in his basement in Allentown, PA. Phillips' support network is ready for such an action. Such an action on the part of the board is just exactly what Health Freedom Fighters throughout the US want this board to do - so they can use the case to remove ALL trials of leading-edge health practitioners from the hands of the quackbuster manipulated licensing boards - permanently - and, perhaps, demonstrate a RICO conspiracy. Duplicating what's already happening, right now, in New York. . . " [emphasis and ellipsis in original];

C. "Barrett's dirty little fingerprints are all over the Phillips' case. More so since the final prosecution 'rebuttal' came to pass.";

D. "Douglas Phillips DDS holds a unique position in American society. He has been brought to trial on charges for something he did not do, and the prosecution knows he didn't do it, but they're prosecuting him anyway. Not only that, but the prosecution knows who really did do the deed, and has no jurisdiction over the person that did do it. Even more, the person who did do what Phillips is accused of, did it legally in the State where it was actually done. Confused? Don't be. It's another 'quackpot menace' persecution directed out of a basement in Allentown PA. It isn't supposed to make sense..." [ellipsis in original];

E. "The prosecutor's case is apparently based on the dubious claims of one Stephen Barrett, a de-licensed MD who operates an Internet website called www.quackwatch.com out of his basement in Allentown, PA.";

F. "It is no surprise to me that de-licensed MD Stephen Barrett claims to know more than the Mayo Clinic, or the University Hospitals of Cleveland. His lies, misrepresentations, and distorted reality views are his source of income.";

G. "A Florida State Attorney, in the original Probable Cause Hearing (which Phillips was not invited to) had downloaded Barrett's writings on Autonomic Response Testing, and submitted them as evidence. Barrett has no professional qualifications that would make him an expert on this subject. In fact, Barrett, who claims to be a retired Psychiatrist, in a recent a [sic] court case, was forced to admit under oath, that he had never completed the requirements to become Board Certified as a Psychiatrist."; and

H. "www.quackwatch.com - Search this website to find Barrett's claims at expertise in areas he has no training or qualifications to discuss."

18. The preceding statements are false, and were false when they were posted to Fonorow and Intelisoft's website, in that:

A. Dr. Barrett's does not accuse American health humanitarians of 'quackery,' nor is Dr. Barrett funded by the "Medical-Industrial Complex.";

B. Barrett is not involved in a conspiracy with the Florida Dental Board to prosecute people. He is not making the decisions on whom the Florida Dental Board prosecutes. Dr. Barrett also does not "manipulate" state licensing boards;

C. Dr. Barrett is not involved in a conspiracy to prosecute Douglas Phillips, D.D.S., let alone to do so wrongfully. Dr. Barrett also has not "directed" any such prosecution;

D. Dr. Barrett is not "de-licensed," nor has he had his medical license revoked;

E. Dr. Barrett does not lie, make misrepresentations or "distort reality" in his profession or as a source of income;

F. Dr. Barrett's credentials and training qualify him to comment with authority on the topics which he addresses, and he uses expert consultants when needed; and

G. Dr. Barrett is a retired psychiatrist, and he does not misrepresent his credentials. Dr. Barrett never was "forced to admit" under oath that he had never completed the requirements to become Board Certified as a psychiatrist, let alone in a recent court case.

The Eighth Defamatory Webpage

19. One of the Bolen Articles posted by Fonorow and Intelisoft to their website was entitled "Who will succeed Stephen Barrett on the North American 'Quackbuster' throne." [punctuation sic], and was located at http://www.internetwks.com/pauling/timbolen/ art010601.html. The page is attached hereto as Exhibit H, and is incorporated herein by reference. This webpage contained the following false and defamatory statements:

A. "The government of New Zealand officially labeled Barrett's writings as 'propaganda, and of no evidentiary value.'" ;

B. "Health leaders call Barrett, and company, 'quackpots,' and their organization'The Quackpot Menace.'";

C. "Barrett's credibility has suffered a major downturn when certain facts were brought to light about his alleged qualifications. It turns out that Barrett has been de-licensed, and has not had a license to practice medicine in any State since 1993. Also, Barrett made claims to being 'a retired Psychiatrist,' without benefit of ever having been board certified as a Psychiatrist in the first place.";

D. "The acknowledged 'quackbuster' kingpin, Stephen Barrett, a de-licensed MD operating out his basement in Allentown, PA, has had a very embarrassing time over the last year or so. Major questions have come to light about Barrett's credibility, honesty, integrity, and his ability to lead.";

E. "For instance, Barrett, it has been revealed, claims to be a retired Psychiatrist without ever having been qualified to claim board certification in that specialty. He has not had a license to practice medicine, in any State, since 1993.";

F. "A recently uncovered study compiled by the government of New Zealand shows that the government there officially declared Barrett's writings 'propaganda, and of no evidentiary value.' ";

G. "A glimpse at Barrett's Curriculum Vitae (publIshed [sic] on his website) leaves one with the distinct impression that Barrett, over his entire career, was unable to hold a job for any length of time.";

H. "But the biggest blow to Barrett's professional status as a leader in the 'quackbuster' movement is an unconfirmed rumor circulating about Barrett's status as an 'expert witness.' It is already known that Barrett was officially disqualified as an 'expert witness' in a case in New York when he was forced to admit, under oath, that he was never board certified as a Psychiatrist."; and

I. "But the 'rumor,' is even more devastating, and if true, will shut down Barrett for all time. If the rumor is true, and I believe that it probably is, using Barrett as an 'expert witness' could be VERY HAZARDOUS to someone's financial health. The rumor, which I reiterate, is unconfirmed, is that Barrett was engaged as an 'expert witness' to defend in a lawsuit against a major diet/nutrition organization which had allegedly defamed a major 'nutrition author.' Barrett was shown in a deposition 'not to be an expert' (in much of anything), and the organization decided to settle the case prior to trial, in a confidential settlement. Rumor also has it that Barrett is (or was) on the board of that organization, and may have guided their act, or was responsible for the actual act, of defamation. Speculators who watched the situation from it's [sic] inception are guessing that the settlement was probably around seven million dollars."

20. The preceding statements are false, and were false when they were posted to Fonorow and Intelisoft's website, in that:

A. The government of New Zealand never "officially labeled Barrett's writings as 'propaganda, and of no evidentiary value'";

B. "Health leaders do not call Dr. Barrett a "quackpot," or call his organization "The Quackpot Menace";

C. Dr. Barrett is not "de-licensed" and has not had his medical license revoked. Dr. Barrett also has not misrepresented his credentials by claiming to be a retired psychiatrist. Psychiatrists do not need to be board certified to practice psychiatry;

D. Major questions have not "come to light" about Dr. Barrett's credibility, honesty, integrity, or his ability to lead;

E. Dr. Barrett, throughout his career, was able to hold jobs for considerable lengths of time;

F. Dr. Barrett never was officially disqualified as an expert witness in any case in New York, let alone for having been forced to admit, under oath, that he was never board certified as a psychiatrist. Dr. Barrett has served as an expert witness in legal cases, testifying at various times on both psychiatric and non-psychiatric issues. He never has been disqualified as an expert witness in any case involving psychiatry;

G. It is not financially "hazardous" for parties to use Dr. Barrett as an expert witness; and

H. Dr. Barrett never was shown in any deposition to "not to be an expert in much of anything."

21. Accusations in all of the webpages described above that refer to Quackwatch or the "Quackbusters" indicate in context that Dr. Barrett is a member of, and plays a prominent role within, these entities.

22. Fonorow and Intelisoft published numerous false statements concerning Dr. Barrett to third parties, namely, the readers of their website. Fonorow and Intelisoft were not protected by any privilege when they so acted.

23. The false statements were defamatory per se in that they impute to Dr. Barrett:

A. the commission of criminal acts, including, inter alia, conspiracy, fomenting litigation and filing baseless lawsuits to intimidate and harass;

B. a lack of ability in the performance of his profession or business, running a health consumer website and serving as an expert witness, in that they assert Dr. Barrett to be, inter alia, a liar, a poor expert, "de-licensed" as a doctor, unqualified to speak on the topics which he addresses, misrepresenting his credentials, a conspirator involved in improper prosecutions, a job-hopper, a poor expert witness and whose activities are funded by medical interests; and

C. a want of integrity in the discharge of his employment, in that they assert Dr. Barrett to be, inter alia, a liar, a poor expert, "de-licensed" as a doctor, unqualified to speak on the topics which he addresses, misrepresenting his credentials, a conspirator involved in improper prosecutions, a job-hopper, a poor expert witness and whose activities are funded by medical interests.

24. Fonorow and Intelisoft's publication of the statements was with actual malice in that Fonorow and Intelisoft either knew the statements were false when they published them, or they published the statements with a reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. This is evidenced by, inter alia,:

A. The lack of research done as to the truth or falsity of the facts in the defamatory webpages by Fonorow and Intelisoft before the webpages were placed the Defendants' website; and

B. Other webpages and articles that Fonorow and Intelisoft have posted to their websites have had false and defamatory material about Dr. Barrett in them, and this has been brought to their attention. One of these articles, not at issue in the instant action, even resulted in a default judgment being levied against Fonorow in Dr. Barrett's favor. Nevertheless, Fonorow and Intelisoft published new articles defaming Dr. Barrett without researching the truth or falsity of the allegations.

25. Dr. Barrett has suffered damage and injury to his reputation as a result of the false and defamatory statements published by Fonorow and Intelisoft.

26. Given that Fonorow and Intelisoft acted with malice in publishing the defamatory statements about Dr. Barrett, Dr. Barrett is entitled to punitive damages in this action.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Stephen Barrett, M.D. prays for judgment against Defendants Owen R. Fonorow and Intelisoft Multimedia, Inc. in excess of $50,000, plus costs of suit, plus punitive damages and such other relief as this court deems appropriate.

COUNT II
(False Light)

27. Plaintiff Stephen Barrett, M.D. realleges and incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 21 of his Complaint against Defendants Owen R. Fonorow and Intelisoft Multimedia, Inc. as if fully restated herein.

28. Dr. Barrett was placed in a false light before the public as a result of Fonorow and Intelisoft's publication of the false statements on his website in that Dr. Barrett:

A. has not committed any criminal acts, including, inter alia, conspiracy, fomenting litigation or filing baseless lawsuits to intimidate and harass; and

B. is not, inter alia, a liar, a poor expert, "de-licensed" as a doctor, unqualified to speak on the topics which he addresses, misrepresenting his credentials, a conspirator involved in improper prosecutions, a job-hopper, a poor expert witness and whose activities are not funded by medical interests.

29. The false light in which Dr. Barrett was placed would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

30. Fonorow and Intelisoft's publication of the statements was with actual malice in that Fonorow and Intelisoft either knew the statements were false when he published them, or he published the statements with a reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. This is evidenced by, inter alia:

A. The lack of research done as to the truth or falsity of the facts in the defamatory webpages by Fonorow and Intelisoft before the webpages were placed the Defendants' website; and

B. Other webpages and articles that Fonorow and Intelisoft have posted to their websites have had false and defamatory material about Dr. Barrett in them, and this has been brought to their attention. One of these articles, not at issue in the instant action, even resulted in a default judgment being levied against Fonorow in Dr. Barrett's favor. Nevertheless, Fonorow and Intelisoft published new articles defaming Dr. Barrett without researching the truth or falsity of the allegations.

31. Dr. Barrett has suffered damage and injury to his reputation as a result of the false light in which he was placed by Fonorow and Intelisoft's actions.

32. Given that Fonorow and Intelisoft acted with malice in publishing the statements that placed Dr. Barrett in a false light, Dr. Barrett is entitled to punitive damages in this action.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Stephen Barrett, M.D. prays for judgment against Defendants Owen R. Fonorow and Intelisoft Multimedia, Inc. in excess of $50,000, plus costs of suit, plus punitive damages and such other relief as this court deems appropriate.

PLAINTIFF DEMANDS TRIAL BY JURY ON ALL COUNTS.

Peter M. Katsaros
Mark A. Cisek
Attorneys for Plaintiff Stephen Barrett, M.D.

July 30, 2001

Peter M. Katsaros
Mark A. Cisek
BAUM SIGMAN AUERBACH PIERSON
NEUMAN & KATSAROS, LTD.
200 W. Adams Street, Suite 2200
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 236-4316
Attorney No. 20917

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This page was posted on August 8, 2001.