Posted by Sharon Kramer on 6/16/10
June 10, 2010
Dr. Lawrence Pitts Ms. Diane Griffiths Andrew Saxon, MD
Re: University of California’s name on “A Scientific View of the Health Effects of Mold” US Chamber ILR & Manhattan Institute CLP
Dear Dr. Pitts, Ms. Griffiths and Dr. Saxon,
Thank you for your reply letters of May 25th and May 28th regarding my concerns of the University of California’s name being misused by political action committees (“PAC”) to mislead the courts in a manner favorable to commerce and industry; and adverse to those who have been injured, and the families of those who have died, from exposure to microbe contaminants that are sometimes found in water damaged buildings.
As the Regents and Dr. Saxon were informed in a prior communication of April 28, 2010, the National Apartment Association (“NAA PAC”) submitted an amicus curiae brief into a legal proceeding in Arizona, the Abad Case, on behalf of the property management company and their insurer. To eiterate, this litigation involves two new born infant deaths and an apartment building documented to harbor an atypical amount of mold.
The matter is currently before an appellate court. Within the amicus, the NAA PAC cited to the US (“Chamber”) ILR paper that names Dr. Andrew Saxon of UCLA as a coauthor. The NAA PAC attached the Chamber’s “Scientific View..” carrying the University of California’s esteemed name as an exhibit for the court’s eyes. I am not requesting the Regents intercede into this, or any other litigation.
When referring to “A Scientific View..” in their amicus as a definitive scientific reference, the NAA PAC stated on page nine: “In a report entitled, ‘A Scientific View of the Health Effects of Mold’, a panel of scientists, including toxicologists and industrial hygienists stated that years of intense study have failed to produce any causal connection between exposure to indoor mold and adverse health effects.’ U.S. Chamber of Commerce, A Scientific View of the Health Effects of Mold (2003)”
Yet, when not submitting legal documents that bias the courts to believe they should deny insurer liability because science holds that mold does not harm and could not cause infant mortality; and while misusing the University of California’s influential name as implied as being in agreement with this; the NAA PAC tells their members an entirely different story as to why it is important to properly maintain buildings to control potential liability.
On May 19, 2010, the NAA PAC blogged to its members, “Mold, Your Silent Enemy”. The blog makes the following conclusion: “Remember, mold can cause major health problems and even death. Don’t let it get out of control and affect your company or your residents.”
As evidenced in my April 28th letter, Dr. Saxon has stated in sworn testimony that he had no knowledge he was named as a co-author of the Chamber’s “..Scientific View..”. He has stated in sworn testimony that he had neither seen nor read the paper as late as three years after its publication. Neither he nor his affiliated university were compensated for the authorship of Chamber paper like the other stated authors were, who are the owners of the corporation (“VeriTox”), Inc.
VeriTox is serving as the defense experts in the Abad Case. The NAA PAC amicus citing to the Chamber’s “..Scientific View..”, which carries the valuable resource of the credible University of California’s name, is being used in purported validation of the opinions VeriTox has rendered.
Two of the owners of VeriTox are Dr. Saxon’s co-authors of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “Adverse Human Health Effects Associated with Mold in the Indoor Environment”(2002) (“ACOEM Mold Statement”). Dr. Saxon, Veritox and ACOEM were the subjects of a 2007 front page Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”) expose’ for their conflicts of interest over the mold issue.
The questionable at best, purportedly scientific foundation for the toxicity section of the ACOEM Mold Statement has been used extensively to mass market the scientifically void and bias instilling concept to the courts that, “..the notion that toxic mold is an insidious secret killer as so many trial lawyers and media would claim, is Junk Science unsupported by actual scientific study.”. The WSJ expose’ was titled “Amid Suits Over Mold Experts Wear Two Hats, Authors Of Science Papers Often Cited By The Defense Also Help In Litigation.” Dr. Saxon and the Veritox owners were the subject “Experts” of the WSJ expose’.
As such, it is highly unlikely that Dr. Saxon will request that the good name of the University of California be properly disassociated from the Chamber paper. To do so would discredit his ACOEM co-authors, VeriTox, for improperly placing the University of California name on the Chamber paper to lend an air of credibility to their writing, without Dr. Saxon’s knowledge. Discredit his co-authors of the ACOEM Mold Statement, VeriTox, by exposing them for what they did on behalf of the US Chamber of Commerce while abusing the University of California’s good name, and Dr. Saxon discredits himself by discrediting the integrity of men he co-authored a key medico-legal paper he relies upon when expert defense witnessing, the ACOEM Mold Statement.
Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Dr. Saxon will take measures to protect the University of California’s reputation by requesting its good name be properly disassociated from the Chamber publication. Lack of integrity implied by close affiliation of publishing with VeriTox for ACOEM; he cannot expose them for their improper usage of the University of California name without harming his own reputation, the reputation of the ACOEM Mold Statement he co-authored and his own financial best interests as a professional defense witness in mold litigation. Evidence indicates that expert defense witnessing in the mold issue has been a lucrative business venture for Dr. Saxon.
To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Saxon has done nothing wrong in this scenario other than remain silent about the University of California’s good name being wrongfully placed on the Chamber paper and possibly making a poor choice of those with whom he chooses to co-author. However, assurance of proper health advisories accurately portrayed as legitimately coming from the University of California; and protection from misapplication of the State of California owned resource recognized to be of value in litigations, the University of California’s influential name, would assist to curtail the mass dissemination of dis-information that is currently adversely impacting U.S. public health policy.
Whether Dr. Saxon initiates the request or it comes from the Regents themselves, it is imperative for the sake of public health and safety that the stewards of the University of California take corrective action to distance the University’s esteemed name from the Chamber mold issue
publication of political and sectarian influence, regardless of how it got there and why it has remained there.
One good name, University of California, disassociated from one unclean publication, “A Scientific View of the Health Effects of Mold”, is all that is required of the Regents for the sake of the public good. The NAA PAC amicus serves to clearly illustrate why.
Please let me know how Dr. Saxon and the Regents intend to proceed to rectify this serious problem that is adverse to public interest and adverse to public trust of the University of California; and what I may do to assist you.
Mrs. Sharon Kramer
CC: UC President Yudof, Regent Chief Executive Officer Gould, Regent General Counsel Robinson, Regent Vice President of Ethics & Compliance Vacca, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Regent Senior Counsel McDonald
Political Action Committee – National Apartment Association (NAA) files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry