Dr. Bharat Aggarwal's Attorneys Make Bumptious Legal Threats Against "Retraction Watch" Blog

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97 Responses

  1. David says:

    Govern yourselves incredibly.

  2. Nilsson says:

    Sensible and careful lawyers writing

    may also be careful what names they choose and use. Seriously — Mahdass, Lawragga? Perhaps someone's medication is out of a joint?

  3. Joe says:

    Thank you Rajesh Mahadass, I would have never known about Retraction Watch if not for your silly legal threats.

  4. Jeff says:

    Query: what law firm is so desperate for clients and money that they take this crap on?

  5. Bear says:

    Are you sute that isn't the law firm Paranjpe, Mahadass, Ahattur?

  6. John Ammon says:

    You are libel.

    Welcome to the big leagues.

    Conduct yourselves accordingly.

    Burma Shave!

  7. Jay says:

    After reading about this from Retraction Watch yesterday, I'm so happy the full text of the email was posted. It reads like a Nigerian scam message! Classic!

  8. ricker says:

    While reading this I was thinking about what Satirical Charles did against Mr. Carreon's threats. It would be interesting if someone like the EFF created a fund to provide legal support that would allow a threatened blogger to sue for a declaratory judgement against baseless legal threats. This may nip some of these in the bud and maybe teach some lessons.

  9. Kat says:

    This is the same sort of behavior that's plaguing Dr Stephen Barrett over at Quackwatch.com.

    http://www.quackwatch.com/14Legal/dd_suit.html

    Kudos to you, Ken, for standing up to bullies on the interwebz!

  10. MattS says:

    Nosslin,

    Perhaps it is your meds that are out of joint. The potential plaintiff's name is Aggarwal not Lawragga.

  11. Mike says:

    "free speech"

  12. naught_for_naught says:

    >Dave

    Nice. We can turn that into an oxymoron too: Govern yourself in incorrigibly. That's what I aim for.

  13. Nilsson says:

    MattS: Ah, but you see that all depends on your sense of writing! And, I said 'out of a joint'. Not that I would know anything at all about such, as such, of course.

  14. Marc says:

    "It is known" – Heh.

  15. Trebuchet says:

    @Nilsson: From their names, it's apparent that both the plaintiff and the lawyers are of South Asian/Indian extraction. Likely the law firm draws much, if not all, of its business from that community. They may also know the doctor socially, and think they're helping out a friend and fellow countryman. They're not, of course.

  16. Nilsson says:

    Yeah, I guessed so too. Still: Mahadass? Haha.

  17. Ken says:

    I don't get what their names have to do with anything.

  18. Lucy says:

    Referring to free speech in quotes is straight up patronizing. What a dick. His response to your email proves he's well practiced at dancing around a point too. It was very clear you were not introducing yourself as opposing council. Nice way to milk clients out of money billing for time spent clarifying obvious issues.

  19. DP says:

    Texas does not recognize "false light" claims.

  20. Delvan Neville says:

    I have been keeping up to date with the posts and the "free speech" posts regarding this case

    Perhaps he'd like to "read" some relevant parts in the "Constitution", specifically the "First Amendment" therein.

    Welcome to the yourself accordingly.

  21. MattS says:

    Delvan Neville,

    "Perhaps he'd like to "read" some relevant parts in the "Constitution", specifically the "First Amendment" therein."

    I don't think that that would help. Given the email exchange between Mr. Mahadass and Ken, Mr Mahadass would seem to have some reading comprehension issues.

  22. Nilsson says:

    Ken: nothing, obviously, except for some extra silly hilarity. Which is, as you point out, redundant.

  23. Michael Mock says:

    "Send me a confirmation letter of your representation and we can begin," to Enter the Big Leagues!

  24. Bob Brown says:

    There may be some other meaning to the names, unknown to me, but at first glance, I read the name of the threatening thug as "Madass."

    I guess I may note, with no connection to to anyone's name, that the term "thug" originated in India. It is known.

  25. Frank Reid says:

    Awesome post. To paraphrase Forrest Gump: "I don't know anything about the law, but I know what stupid is."

  26. Dr.Tom says:

    I continue to be amazed at the use of the English language by attorneys of all stripes. Usually it is the use of alien jargon and obscure (to me) words.

    This time, in his last email, Mr. Mahadass tells Ken to 'f' off in a much more pleasant tone than would typically be expected.

    Maybe I've been hanging out with the wrong type of bhad-ass.

  27. apauld says:

    Ken, major props on going to their site to let them know about your hobby of helping bloggers find pro bono reps. Awesome as always. Paul.

  28. Jay says:

    I don't understand how their names and (assumed) ethnic backgrounds have any bearing on the subject legal threats.

    Making baseless legal threats is one type of thuggery; mocking someone because their name sounds "funny" is another. I'm not saying there's 1:1 parity in the level of thuggery, but it really detracts from the discussion here.

  29. Merissa says:

    I used to transcribe for this guy. Too bad he isn't as good at research as he is at dictating.

  30. Nobody says:

    > I don't get what their names have to do with anything.

    I sounds like they're Mahadass hell and aren't going to take it any more.

  31. Nate says:

    And sciFinder searching I go! Yay! I'm pretty sure I can count this as work.

    I read Retraction Watch from time to time, and from everything I've read, they seem to stick to verifiable facts. Retractions and corrections are reported by the journal. I think they would be considered public record. I believe the science community needs something like Retraction Watch to keep everyone honest and to help people be skeptical of certain articles and labs. (I think the moral of the story is: If you are worried about your scientific reputation, don't do sloppy science and check your grad students' work.)

  32. Xenocles says:

    "This time, in his last email, Mr. Mahadass tells Ken to 'f' off in a much more pleasant tone than would typically be expected."

    I'll give the guy this much, it was a classy brush-off. Sort of a "I have nothing to say to you, so have a nice life." Smart, too, since he really shouldn't say all that much to Ken in the first place.

  33. eh says:

    LOLFOREIGNERS, AMIRITE?

  34. Aaron S. says:

    Some of my favorite cases have been against attorneys that don't understand either the facts or the law, especially in technology. I don't think it's a competence issue, I think it's a billing issue (assuming the two don't always go hand-in-hand).

  35. Justin says:

    How does one respond to Popehat signals? I'm not in TX, but I'm willing to help.

  36. Lois Turner says:

    An unlikely piece of British legal history occurred in what is now referred to as the "case" of Arkell v. Pressdram (1971). The plaintiff was the subject of an article relating to illicit payments, and the magazine had ample evidence to back up the article. Arkell's lawyers wrote a letter which concluded: "His attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of your reply." The magazine's response was, in full: "We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell. We note that Mr Arkell's attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off."

    From Wikipedia article on 'Private Eye' magazine.

  37. Bob Brown says:

    @Jay: I apologize if I have detracted from the level of discussion. There was a question about names, and a mis-fired neuron really did cause me to read it as "Madass" the first time I saw it, and before the question was asked. That may be because I once worked with something called the Mayo-Altmeyer Data Acquisition Service System, and known by its initials. Truly.

    I know all about mocking and names. Sing an couple of bars of Barbara-Ann, then look just above my picture. I am so sensitized that recently I was able to prevent a mother from giving her son a name with the initials MOM. (The kid will be an OMM instead, and still called Mike.

    It is true that I can't quite claim the random firing of synapses for my observation of the origin of the word "thug," but close, because the word had been used at least a couple of times in the article.

  38. azteclady says:

    On topic: "free speech" posts–seriously? And I'm with those who said that Mr Madhass misunderstood Ken's first email mostly for billable hours reasons.

    Off topic: as a legal resident, the play on the names of the people involved makes me very uncomfortable. Censorious douchebaggery has fuck all to do with ethnicity, nationality, first language, sexuality, age–haven't we seen plenty of proof of that so far?

  39. Trebuchet says:

    @Jay:
    I don't understand how their names and (assumed) ethnic backgrounds have any bearing on the subject legal threats.

    Making baseless legal threats is one type of thuggery; mocking someone because their name sounds "funny" is another. I'm not saying there's 1:1 parity in the level of thuggery, but it really detracts from the discussion here.

    Exactly right. Especially coming from someone with one to many "s" in his name.

  40. Frank Rizzo says:

    This can't be the possibly be the same guy? I'm getting ready to make some calls about this just as soon as I finish my fava beans.

  41. apauld says:

    Ken, is this Rajesh Mahadass is also the Rajesh Mahadass who is an Assistant District Attorney for Harris County Texas?

  42. Ken says:

    @apauld: I assume not. I don't know.

    Someone using the same IP address used to send me the emails from Mr. Mahadass has been visiting the site repeatedly in the last few hours. They've clicked the links to learn about Section 230 and the Texas Anti-SLAPP statute. Better late than never, I suppose.

  43. Rob says:

    @Lois Turner: That's a good one. It's on the same level as the "I feel you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters" reply.

  44. anne mouse says:

    Frank Rizzo, apauld:

    The data shown in that link are from 2009. A quick check of the Harris County website seems to indicate that they no longer have any employees by that name. So it might be the same guy, gone into private practice after having served a couple years as a poorly-paid ADA. Or it could be somebody else. Not sure I see the point of this investigation. "Our" R. Mahadass is a member of the Texas bar in good standing – has been since 2005, a few months after he got his JD from a well-regarded law school [US News ranks it a few spots above mine, in fact].

  45. Dr.Tom says:

    This technique for writing a nasty-grams to people threatening probably has worked plenty of times in the past. As you mentioned, lawyers have power to act as bullies with threats with little personal risk. Even filing lawsuits is generally a pretty safe action as the likelihood of being hit with a SLAPP suit in response is pretty low. Let's face it – most people don't have the knowledge or deep pockets to challenge this kind of letter. It's easier to just comply.

    That said, every once in a while you grab a live wire and get shocked.

    And, as if Dr. Bharat Aggarwal didn't have enough problems, it now appears that people who look up his name will be redirected to find out that (in my opinion) he has hired attorney Rajesh Mahadass who has either limited knowledge of the law or is choosing to make threats despite knowledge he is wrong. I am not sure what is worse.

    Obviously these are statements of opinion.

  46. anne mouse says:

    Actually, given that the Texas bar association only has a record for one attorney by that name, it's very likely the same person.

  47. Lucy says:

    @Rob, That is a great site. They don't write 'em like they used to. Nowadays that would be reduced to a tweet, even though it would be a great response to the letter in this post.

  48. Well, thanks to the mentioned of Retraction Watch I went over to that website, discovered that they are indeed fighting off more than one legal ambush from bullies, so I donated to them. I hope that others do the same.
    As for the attempt by these lawyers to strike the fear of terrible things into Retraction Watch, I can only shake my head and wonder whether any of these people actually bothered to, you know, do some real research before firing up their BBM (Bullying and Bloviation Machine).

  49. GrimGhost says:

    To Rajesh Mahadass, Esquire:

    Ken White of POPEHAT has taken an interest in your legal threats against a blogger. Govern yourself accordingly. Welcome to the big leagues.

  50. ChugiakTinkerer says:

    @GG

    Thank gods I'm not drinking soda or coffee right now, cleanup would be a mess. Well played!

  51. xbradtc says:

    Dr. Bharat Aggarwal should have hired Prenda Law for all his demand letter needs.

  52. Grifter says:

    VILTITHOMT (Vagueness In Legal Threats Is The Hallmark Of Meritless Thuggery) should be an acronym for all posts like this.

  53. Myk says:

    @grifter – Vague Or Meritless Intimidatory Thuggishness (VOMIT) works for me

  54. Josh C says:

    Many unnecessary quotes aren't actually "scare quotes," they're just "signs" of "bad writing."

  55. Mark Lyon says:

    A counterexample, complete with specificity and exhibits: http://uncrunched.com/2013/04/11/jennifer-allen-false-defamatory/

  56. Grifter says:

    @Josh C:

    Some people use quotes for "emphasis".

  57. Narad says:

    They've clicked the links to learn about Section 230 and the Texas Anti-SLAPP statute. Better late than never, I suppose.

    Perhaps he'll run it past his aunt and uncle.

    (Please ignore the identical one in the mod queue.)

  58. MattS says:

    Dr. Tom,

    " Rajesh Mahadass who has either limited knowledge of the law or is choosing to make threats despite knowledge he is wrong. I am not sure what is worse."

    Why does one have to be worse than the other.

    ID10T or Asshat, pick one.

  59. Delvan says:

    @Grifter

    Exactly. Bad writing. :)

  60. DavidK says:

    I had a few quick questions which I apologise if they been answered in previous blog posts.

    How does pro bono work in relation to claiming Lawyer fees and costs?

    I had noticed that the article says anti-SLAPP allows for recovery of these. Would knowing that Retraction Watch (RW) might be able to get pro bono representation, if they wanted it, act as a deterent to Mr Mahadass (RW are more likely to go to court) or an encouragement to Mr Mahadass (RW might not be able to claim as much in fees and costs)?

  61. Basil Forthrightly says:

    Having skimmed Retraction Watch, I'd say the content they're responsible for has been couched in circumspect professional language focusing on verifiable and non-controversial facts. Some of the comments are potentially problematic, but as Ken points out, Retraction Watch is covered by Section 230 immunity there.

    The most devastating comments for Aggarwal are actually the bare links to a Japanese site hosting a collection of image analysis based on material from Aggarwal's papers. The sheer number of oddities uncovered so far is, um, "nontrivial", and while many of them could plausibly be editorial error or publication sloppiness, some examples can only be described as "purposely constructed" (in other words, "photoshopped").

    To be fair, Aggarwal's papers are collaborations and also include the work of his lab's staff; the existence of any single image can't lead us to logical conclusions about Aggarwal himself.

  62. Another Dan says:

    Ken, You manage to do something, I never thought possible. Making law interesting. After reading the threat I knew it was wrong, but not why it was wrong. Would Mr. Mahadass have a case, even if a small trivial case, if hey had governed himself more carefully? After all, $500 or a $500K legal fees for some bloggers (college students) could both potentially be a big deal.

  63. Blah says:

    I love seeing these awful legal nastygrams. What kind of a lawyer takes on a case like this and then thinks "yes, sending this letter is a good use of my time and my client's money"?

    On the subject of the Popehat signal – any updates on the more recent ones, Ken? I'm thinking specifically of the band fansite and the 'most hated company' ones, since those both attracted a lot of guessing regarding the parties involved.

  64. Dan Weber says:

    They've clicked the links to learn about Section 230 and the Texas Anti-SLAPP statute

    How can you tell what someone clicks on on your website? It's a plain old HTML link, and your server shouldn't be involved in that, unless the other site provides some kind of notification back to you.

  65. John Ammon says:

    @Dan – Services like Google Analytics and other stat-tracking software can catch that stuff easily.

  66. Michael Mock says:

    @ Grifter -"VILTITHOMT (Vagueness In Legal Threats Is The Hallmark Of Meritless Thuggery) should be an acronym for all posts like this."

    Viltithomt should be the name of a villain in a fantasy novel, methinks. Probably with "Lord", "Master", "King", or "Evil High Priest" in front of it.

  67. David Witt says:

    Hmmm, that name looks familiar, like a lawyer I once knew, Otto Mahass, esq.

  68. John Ammon says:

    @Michael Mock – I think it sounds most like an "Evil High Priest"

  69. patilistan says:

    @MattS: Mahadasshat?

  70. Nobody says:

    > How can you tell what someone clicks on on your website? It's a plain old HTML link, and your server shouldn't be involved in that

    It also accesses a new page, which it must request from his webserver. This leaves an entry in the access log with the time, IP, URL and a few other details. If you've noticed, the URLs have the post title in them, so that makes their topic really easy to see. So all he had to do was to look up that IP in his server logs and he'd get a list of everything on the site that the guy had been reading.

    If you're paranoid enough, BTW, this could have been avoided. Simply use Google's cache to read stuff and/or a proxy. Of course, then Google has the information, but they're a lot less likely to single you out unless there's a request from law enforcement or the like.

  71. Lucy says:

    Startpage.com is what I use for searching. Google is creepy.

  72. Neal H says:

    @DavidK

    In regards to fees and costs, pro bono (when handlded properly) should work the same as any other type of attorney-client relationship. The attorney should still keep track of the billable hours on which he or she works on behalf of a client. That way, in a case in which attorney fees are at issue, the attorney could still seek recovery of the fees incurred on behalf of the client even if the client is not paying those fees.

    In order to recover, the attorney would have to offer evidence of the retention agreement with the client indicating the amount of the attorney's billable rate or the agreed upon flat fee, would need to provide the fact-finder with the breakdown of fees and expenses incurred for the representation, and would need to introduce testimony that the fees and expenses incurred were reasonable in that jurisdiction for the work that was done.

  73. Ken says:

    I cant speak to Texas' statute, but California's anti-SLAPP statute allows a pro bono attorney to recover fees.

  74. Josh M. says:

    @Mark Lyon

    That right there is a thing of beauty. That's what I would expect if I asked a lawyer to write a demand letter. Clear, concise, professional. And devastatingly supported by factual information.

    I may have to keep following that story. Looks interesting…

  75. Earle says:

    @DavidK

    For a perfect example, read the recent decision awarding attorney's fees against Charles Carreon.

    http://www.popehat.com/2013/03/20/in-which-charles-carreon-says-mostly-true-things-about-me-in-a-footnote/#comment-1020675

  76. anne mouse says:

    @Nobody:

    It also accesses a new page, which it must request from his webserver.

    No, that's the whole point. The only page to be accessed resides on a different webserver (dmlp.org). Your browser should not and does not report to Popehat that it is accessing some other server.

    Just to make sure Ken wasn't doing something sneaky (a hidden redirect would do the trick) I checked the HTML from Popehat:

    new and strong anti-SLAPP statute

    So, the only remaining way this kind of tracking is possible is with the participation of the linked site. For example, if somebody lazily has their browser set to allow third-party cookies and some third party (like Google) is supplying cookies to the linked site AND correlating that with visits to Popehat (presumably via cookies as well) AND sharing that data with Ken.

  77. anne mouse says:

    whoops, let's try that HTML again:


    <a href="http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/anti-slapp-law-texas" target="_blank">new and strong anti-SLAPP statute</a>

  78. Earle says:

    @anne mouse

    The browser may or may not report the referring web page, depending on implementation and privacy settings. It is part of the HTTP standard that the browser reports what page is was that hosted the link you followed.

    Per Wikipedia:
    "When visiting a webpage, the referrer or referring page is the URL of the previous webpage from which a link was followed."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_referer

  79. anne mouse says:

    Oh, I forgot, there's a variation on the "sneaky redirect" that wouldn't show up from such a casual glance at the HTML. The standards are supposed to make this impossible, but I'm not sure: you might be able to dynamically add an OnClick script to every A tag on a site. (Thus it wouldn't show up in the HTML itself, just in a separate CSS document and/or a separate Javascript file, which could be pretty well obscured by "minification". If anybody has figured it out, Woopra and Shopaholic would have, and Ken uses both.

  80. anne mouse says:

    Earle, that's different. When you go from Popehat to DMLP, your browser (if it obeys the usual conventions) tells DMLP that you were just at Popehat. It does not tell Popehat that you're going to DMLP.

  81. goph1101 says:

    While Dr. Aggarwal appears to be an douche with his litigious behavior, why is more scorn not placed with the law firm which is used as the weapon of the thuggery? As someone who has little knowledge of the law, Dr. Aggarwal should not be as informed of Section 230 or Anti-SLAAP laws. In my opinion Paranjpe & Mahadass LLP and their willingness to be the club to beat down the blogger makes them more reprehensible because they are the ones who should know better. Dr Aggarwal is just the smallest guy who talks shit only when his big friends are around.

    As someone who admittedly knows no lawyers and had very little interaction with them, I am curious to know if its an ethical role of serving whatever the client requests that allows so many of these threats to go on or if its just the general fact that some firms will do whatever for the fee. After reading about Prenda I am assuming the latter.

    While Dr. Asshat would surely be able to eventually find some firm to send these requests, shouldn't these firms be called out equally or even more so?

  82. anne mouse says:

    Yep, found an easy way to do my sneaky thing using jquery. Too lazy to really analyze the code on Ken's site, but I see some smoke.

    To clarify: the part that's supposed to be impossible is to mix CSS and javascript in certain ways – CSS is supposed to be about presentation only, javascript is mostly about behavior. Jquery does it all in Javascript (using the DOM), but provides convenient syntax reminiscent of CSS.

  83. Earle says:

    @anne mouse

    Of course you're right. I clearly didn't think that bit through.

  84. anne mouse says:

    goph1101 – I don't know about Texas, but in most states there's an ethics portion to the bar exam, and a requirement for refresher courses. So yes, lawyers should know better. Embarrass yourself enough, and you can get disbarred.

    One response if you get a letter like this is to report it to the state's board of bar examiners. This is a bit like dealing with a school bully by telling his parents, except that bar boards tend to be like alcoholic parents who simply don't care what sadistic games their kids are up to, unless it involves money or embarrasses them in front of somebody important. You'll get an investigation that can take months or years, and then a slap on the wrist – usually an anonymous reprimand and a warning not to do it again. The Streisand Effect is much more effective.

  85. Basil Forthrightly says:

    @anne mouse
    Texas' professional licensing boards have historically been ludicrously lenient, for example an attorney who commingled a settlement with personal funds and failed to disburse it to the client was recently slapped with a 12-month license suspension.

    However, the attorneys board aren't as bad as the doctors board, historically. There was once a back surgeon, Eric Scheffy, with a grotesque record of malpractice problems. He killed at least 5 patients. In one case in 1985, the patient simply bled out during surgery; five days later, Scheffy was arrested following aberrant behavior in a store and found to have 30 grams of cocaine in his Jaguar. For this, the state board put him on a supervised probation. He eventually lost his license in 2005.
    http://www.texasmonthly.com/content/dr-evil

  86. Kevin says:

    Earlier today, I learned of the Kermit Gosnell case via the Popehat twitter feed. And now, I learn of Eric Scheffy, via @Basil Forthrightly's comment.

    Fuck.

    Are you guys trying do bum me out?

    I need to go look at some pictures of kittens or something now.

  87. Narad says:

    However, the attorneys board aren't as bad as the doctors board, historically.

    Don't even get me started about their latest botched attempt to go after Burzynski.

  88. Kevin says:

    So… continuing reading Basil's linked article on "Doctor Evil", Eric Scheffy, a man who clearly viewed his MD as a license to print money, at the expense of ruining people's lives…. why is it that I keep finding myself picturing John Steele in my mental image of the events described?

  89. Trebuchet says:

    During a period of sleeplessness in the middle of the night, a hypothesis popped into my head:
    Dr. Aggarwal got his BS in 1970, so he's at least 60 years old. Paranjpe & Mahadass were licensed in 2010 and 2005, respectively, so almost certainly much younger. Their firm was only started in 2012. All three are Indian-American.

    So I picture Aggarwal playing golf with his friend, Mahadass Sr. He's bemoaning the fact that he's being smeared, as he sees it, on the internet. Mahadass Sr. says, "Hey, my son's just started a law practice. He could write you a letter on official stationary and they'll go away!" And we see the result.

    This hypothesis, unfortunately, falls apart due to my inability to find any other Mahadass in Texas.

    So I'll modify it: Paranjpe & Mahadass are fairly recent immigrants. (My hypothesis, remember, I don't know this for a fact.) They've started a practice catering to the Indian-American community, perhaps helping with immigration issues or stuff going on back in India. Aggarwal knows their parents back in India, and decides to do them a favor. Same result.

    Plausible?

  90. Trebuchet says:

    A bit more Googling: There's a Dr. Pavani Mahadass in New Jersey, aged 66, graduated in India in 1969. Perhaps our attorney's mother?

    I suppose I'm pretty much grasping at straws here, but it's kind of fun!

  91. Narad says:

    Plausible?

    Mahadass's uncle is Texas talk-show host Michael Berry. Both he and his wife Nandita are laywers, although Berry is not currently practicing. If you want to play connect the dots for some reason, I'd suggest this angle.

  92. Charlotte says:

    "Bumptious". *swoon*

    This particular discussion reminds me of the campaign a certain person of my acquaintance who had actively joined forces with a number of (among others) anti-Muslim hate groups waged against a "watchdog" blog operator – comment wars, legal threats, counter-blogging, a full-on smear campaign. After the blogger died unexpectedly she must have sent a whale of a threat letter, because the family not only took the site down, they gave her access to the guy's email account (which she combed through looking for "sources").

    I had previously got a series of legal threats (starting with an Oh-God-Thirty call to my unlisted cell phone) from someone presenting himself as her lawyer when I republished information from the blog about her arrest.

    The lawyer in question turned out to be licensed to practice in other countries and his command of the written English language was hi-lar-i-ous. (N.B. it was not an ESL issue as he was a British expat. Although one of the other hilarious things was that he considered himself an EXPERT in US law because it was based on the British system and he knew that very well!)

    They did make the mistake of threatening a friend of mine who is a paralegal (and very good at what she does) at the same time so my friend was able to talk me down. I wish I'd known about Popehat then, though!

    This … interesting … person still "visits" my mailbox occasionally (despite, as I found the last time, a request to the lawyer for her to cease private contact), but she's generally moved on to other things, including issuing a DMCA takedown against another site that included her mug shot in a post about her involvement with (another) hate group.

    TL; DR: Seeing these bullies get what they deserve is quite therapeutic.

  93. Trebuchet says:

    Mahadass's uncle is Texas talk-show host Michael Berry. Both he and his wife Nandita are laywers, although Berry is not currently practicing. If you want to play connect the dots for some reason, I'd suggest this angle.

    I bow in awe of your superior Google-fu! Now to look up Berry!

  94. Allen says:

    If one publishes one's work in a journal is it not making your work public? Are you not now by definition a public figure to some extent?

    Perhaps the good doctor and his attorneys are unclear on the concept, and purpose, of publishing scientific results and methodologies.

  1. April 11, 2013

    [...] Update, 2:30 p.m. Eastern, 4/11/13: Here's Popehat's take on this story: "Dr. Bharat Aggarwal's Attorneys Make Bumptious Legal Threats Against "Retraction Watch&#…" [...]

  2. April 30, 2013

    [...] Quoting Ken White at Popehat: [...]

  3. May 14, 2013

    [...] those matters. We are examining the facts to see if there were criminal violations.” To quote Ken White over at Popehat: vagueness in legal threats is the hallmark of meritless [...]