Thursday, January 21, 2010
James Gottstein, founder of PsychRights is in trouble. Because he did the right thing.
James B. Gottstein, Esq., President and CEO of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights), is a Harvard Law School alumnus, a 30+ year practicing attorney, and a psychiatric survivor.
And he is in trouble for doing the right thing.
We hope he will not be punished with loss of his law license, massive civil sanctions, and possibly even going to jail. However, the power of wealthy corporations to punish those who dare to oppose them even applies to whistleblowers like Jim Gottstein who have done what any moral person should do.
In a legal proceeding, Jim got hold of some secret Eli Lilly and Company documents, the Zyprexa Papers, that revealed terrible wrongdoing on Lilly’s part. This wrongdoing was destroying many thousands of lives. Drugs with serious side effects were being illegally marketed for the treatment of people for whom they had not demonstrated any effectiveness; and the dangerous side effects were actively downplayed and hidden. Eli Lilly, which, of course, always tries to deny any wrongdoing, has taken some responsibility for their misconduct by settling law suits for the terribly destructive medical complications — including death — that these illegally promoted drugs have caused. So far, they have paid out over two-and-a-half BILLION dollars to settle these suits.
So why is Jim Gottstein being punished?
Because he showed the documents to people. He sent the documents to a newspaper reporter at the The New York Times. Publication in The Times of information from these documents could and did help stop the fraud and helped make Eli Lilly accountable for what they had done. By bringing Lilly’s misconduct to light sooner, Jim has helped stop the destructive misuse of these dangerous drugs. By bringing Lilly’s misconduct to light sooner, Jim’s actions have prevented the destruction of hundreds, if not thousands of lives.
So, again, why is Jim Gottstein being punished?
Because the secret Zyprexa Papers had been obtained from Lilly in a case unrelated to Jim. Jim subpoenaed the documents from an expert who was examining them for that other case. The judge in that case ruled that Jim "conspired to steal" the Zyprexa Papers from Lilly when he subpoenaed them from Dr. Egilman in December of 2006, and then released them to the public, resulting in multiple front page articles in The New York Times.
Jim says, "I believe I did nothing wrong. When Lilly failed to object — after being given a reasonable opportunity to do so — and then Dr. Egilman sent the Zyprexa Papers to me, they had lost their secrecy protection."
But that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. Lilly can punish Jim even if they are wrong and he is right. They can do this by suing Jim Gottstein for releasing their secret documents that revealed THEIR wrongdoing.
So, Jim needs our help.
"Ever since Judge Weinstein ruled against me on February 13, 2007, Lilly has threatened me with civil and criminal contempt sanctions and going after my license to practice law. My legal fees in defending against Lilly's legal onslaught have so far been just under $300,000, including estimated unbilled fees, of which I still owe over $121,000. This has put me financially under water."
You can help by sending a check to the Jim Gottstein Defense Fund, or make a tax deductible charitable contribution online to the Jim Gottstein Legal Defense Fund Facebook Cause.
Jim Gottstein Legal Defense Fund
c/o Dominick Riccio, Ph.D.
1036 Park Avenue, Suite 1B
New York, NY 10028
PS. Please note: Jim is in need, but he did not ask us to post this.
Sometimes, people just have to do the right thing.
Susan's note-Holly and I have contributed, and belong to the group on Facebook. Jim is a real great guy, he doesn't deserve what he is going through. I hope my readers can help.