AUSTIN (CN) – A controversial autism researcher cannot sue “The British Medical Journal” for defamation in Texas, a Travis County judge ruled.
Travis County Judge Amy Clark Meachum on Friday threw out Andrew Wakefield’s case for lack of jurisdiction.
Wakefield made headlines by claiming in a scientific paper in 1998 that the widely used measles-mumps-and-rubella (MMR) vaccine could be linked to autism.
After a British government investigation sparked by a report in the Sunday Times, the medical journal “The Lancet” retracted Wakefield’s article and the British Medical Council barred Wakefield from practicing in the United Kingdom, according to contemporary British press reports.
Wakefield sued The British Medical Journal, Sunday Times reporter Brian Deer, and the BMJ’s editor, Dr. Fiona Godlee, in January in Austin, where Wakefield lives now.
Wakefield claimed The British Medical Journal defamed him in its 2011 article, “Secrets of the MMR Scare.”
He claimed the article falsely claimed that his research was “fixed,” based on “bogus data,” that the “‘undisclosed goal’ of the project ‘was to help sue the vaccine’s manufacturers,'” that “the children who were the subjects of the Lancet paper ‘were recruited through anti-MMR campaigners, and the study was commissioned and funded for planned litigation,'” and that “Wakefield, ‘nevertheless, now apparently self-employed and ruined, remains championed by a sad rump of disciples.’
“These statements are false and defamatory,” Wakefield said in his complaint.
But Judge Clark Meachum dismissed “for lack of personal jurisdiction as to each named defendants.”