Monday, April 21, 2008

Flamm Wins Latest Round Against Korean Stem Cell Researcher

Remember the case of Korean stem cell scientist Kwang Yul Cha versus a California physician?

Cha sued Bruce Flamm, a Kaiser physician and faculty member at UC Irvine, for libel, contending that Flamm was engaged in a personal vendetta. The lawsuit involved published criticism by Flamm of a 2001 article by Cha and two others in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine concerning "distant" prayer and IVF success rates.

Today a Los Angeles superior court judge dismissed Cha's lawsuit. Flamm said in a news release:
"Today's ruling is a victory for science and freedom of speech. Scientists must be allowed to question bizarre claims and correct errors.

"Cha's mysterious study was designed and allegedly conducted by a man who turned out to be a criminal with a 20-year history of fraud. A criminal who steals the identities of dead children to obtain bank loans and passports is not a trustworthy source of research data. Cha could have simply admitted this obvious fact but instead he hired Beverly Hills lawyers to punish me for voicing my opinions."
Cha also surfaced in connection with the California stem cell agency when a nonprofit subsidiary of his organization won a research grant from CIRM. After the grant was approved, the media reported its links to Cha along with news about the controversy surrounding some of Cha's research. Last October, Cha's group withdrew its application for the CIRM grant.

It was not known whether Cha plans to appeal the latest ruling. Sphere: Related Content

3 comments:

  1. Tony Knight, Spokesman for Dr. Cha4:57 PM

    Statement of Dr. Kwang-yul Cha's attorney, Anthony Glassman -- April 21, 2008 --

    April 21, 2008 For Immediate Release

    Dr. Kwang-Yul Cha’s attorney, Anthony Glassman, issued this statement today on the Court’s decision in Dr. Cha’s defamation suit against Dr. Bruce Flamm

    As we argued to the Court, a statement that accuses Dr. Cha of "hav[ing] been found guilty…of plagiarism," cannot as a matter of law be substantially true when the record is undeniable that the editor of Fertility & Sterility apologized and retracted the charge. Since there is no truth whatsoever in the false charge of plagiarism as the F&S editor has now acknowledged, we are seriously considering an appeal.

    Both Dr. Flamm’s statement that he relied on the L.A. Times article and his sworn declaration filed with the Court that: "My statement did not communicate – and was not intended to communicate – that plaintiff had already been found guilty of plagiarism" demonstrate that he was aware of facts sufficient to doubt the truth of F&S editor Dr. DeCherney’s plagiarism allegation, and he could not reasonably believe that the editor was the ultimate authority.

    We firmly believe that the Court’s findings that Dr. Flamm’s article was “substantially true” and that the F&S editor was the “ultimate authority” on the plagiarism allegation, are directly contradicted by the facts presented in the L.A. Times article upon which Dr. Flamm relied.

    • Dr. DeCherney told The Times he would take the matter to the Fertility & Sterility editorial board, clearly indicating that the board, not he, was the ultimate authority.

    • The Times quoted the editor of the Korean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology saying he was certain it was “a case of multiple publication,” which is not plagiarism, and casts doubt on the truth of the plagiarism allegation.

    • Further casting doubt on the truth of the allegation, The Times reported the comments of an author listed on both published articles explaining why Dr. Kim’s name was left off of the Fertility & Sterility article and why Dr. Cha’s name was left off of the Korean journal article.

    • Even Dr. DeCherney apparently had doubts, because, as The Times article stated, he first suggested that Fertility & Sterility publish an erratum saying Dr. Kim “should have been included among the authors of the F&S article,” and then he took no further action for nearly one year.

    As we all now know, these causes for doubt in the L.A. Times article were borne out by the F&S editor’s subsequent retraction and apology in which he stated publicly: “Considering the facts of the matter, I consider my references to ‘plagiarism’ and ‘perjury’ to be inaccurate and regrettable.” #

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  2. Marcy Darnovsky1:09 PM

    There were a number of serious concerns that are much more relevant to the grant that CIRM awarded to Cha's organization, Cha RMI. From comments by the Center for Genetics and Society at the time (April 2007:

    - The Cha Fertility Center and Cha RMI are located in the same Los Angeles office building, raising further questions about where and how Cha RMI will procure eggs for its CIRM-funded research on cloning techniques. As CGS's press statement put it, "Women's health advocates have warned about the health risks of egg retrieval, as well as about likely conflicts of interest between fertility doctors conducting egg retrieval and researchers who want the eggs for their experiments."

    - The medical director of the Cha Fertility Center, another Cha Health Systems subsidiary, has been named in a lawsuit filed by a woman who says that he lied about the number of eggs he collected from her and other aspects of her medical care.

    http://geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=3171
    http://geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=3123
    http://www.biopoliticaltimes.org/article.php?id=3702

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  3. Dr. Jeong Hwan Kim (the author of the Korean article)8:22 AM

    - ... an author listed on both published articles explaining why Dr. Kim’s name was left off of the Fertility & Sterility article and why Dr. Cha’s name was left off of the Korean journal article.

    The author, Lee SH, has been sentenced to 6-month jail term with 1 year of suspension of execution for Copyright infringement in Korea. Her above "explanation" was obviously not accepted by the criminal court.

    - ...he first suggested that Fertility & Sterility publish an erratum saying Dr. Kim “should have been included among the authors of the F&S article,” and then he took no further action for nearly one year.

    His such suggestion was irrelevant and therefore turned down by me right away. I rejected that offer as I was sure that it had not been merely an error. When asked to present, so-called, the first manuscript with my name listed on, he couldn't. Why? No answer from him so far.

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