Andrew Wakefield, who was stripped of his British medical license in 2010 for autism research that ignited a worldwide vaccine scare, cannot sue a U.K. medical journal, its editor and a British reporter for defamation in Texas, a judge in Austin ruled today.
Wakefield, who is 55 and lives in Austin, vowed to pursue it:
“We think we have a very good argument, and we plan to appeal,”
Wakefield has previously sued reporter Brian Deer in the U.K., but he withdrew those suits because, he said, he was dealing with a hearing on his medical license before the U.K.’s General Medical Council, which regulates doctors. The council found Wakefield guilty of serious professional misconduct, citing dishonest, irresponsible research he performed in 1998; actions contrary to the interests of children; conflicts of interests regarding his involvement in a lawsuit against a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine; and failing to disclose his involvement in seeking a patent for a rival vaccine.
Wakefield has said he was innocent of those charges. In January, he sued Deer for a 2011 article in the British Medical Journal and an editorial by Editor Fiona Godlee, claiming they had defamed him by calling his work fraudulent.
Godlee and Deer called the case frivolous and said it fit a pattern of Wakefield trying to silence his critics with lawsuits.