Saturday, November 6, 2010

Alcor's Glaring Self-Contradiction

Alcor Life Extension Foundation calls the residents of the Dewars "patients," yet they collected these patients, under the "Uniform Anatomical Gift Act" (UAGA). If you ask me, those people cannot be both "patients" AND "brain donors." So, which one is it???

Living donors can donate a lot of things, including a kidney, a lobe of their liver, a lung, part of the pancreas, part of the intestine, bone marrow, blood, stem cells, and more, but they cannot donate their brains. The people in the Dewars are "donors," not "patients." As donors, I believe they can be pulled out of those Dewars, and any time, and subjected to any slice-and-dice experiment Alcor wants to subject them to, unlike CI's members, who are protected by the same regulations that govern Michgan's cemeteries.

On September 11, 2010 Alcor's Executive Director, Jennfer Chapman, referred to Mr. Orville Richardson, (someone who had been dead and buried, for more than a year, before Alcor dug him up and put him in the Dewar), as
"Alcor's 99th patient." If Mr. Richardson is Alcor's patient, I would like to know who is his physician of record. I'm serious...I want to know. On a humorous note, I'd also be interested in his treatment plan and prognosis! Mr. Richardson is NOT a patient...he is a corpse, and most likely a severely-decayed one, at that.

In the same report, Ms. Chapman also wrote:
"My recent efforts have largely focused on developing a budget and budget balancing strategies to address the nearly $400,000 deficit Alcor will face in 2011 and 2012, should it receive no income from cases. Although it is unlikely that there will be no cases in a given year, it is Alcor’s tradition to prepare for the worst case scenario. Due to the unpredictable nature of cryonics caseloads, we start with a baseline assumption that no cases will occur. The deficit we face is only partially due to expiration of the grant. Even in 2010, Alcor would have experienced a deficit were it not for case income."

In the same report, Ms. Chapman also indicates Alcor has been somewhat dependent on the "LEF/Miller/Thorp Grant," since 2008, (which I believe was $450K a year, for three years), and notes that grant will expire in June 2011.

What happens if Alcor goes bankrupt, and is not be able to care for their cryogenically-suspended members? Certainly local regulatory agencies would have some sort of requirements, for disposing of their deceased residents, but would Alcor have any legal obligation to the families of those people? Some of those people paid $150,000, (and more, in the way of membership dues, etc.), to be preserved there, and I've heard of significant bequests being left to Alcor. Would these Alcor members, and their families, simply be "out in the warm," without any recourse, if Alcor were to fail?

Has Alcor accomplished anything, with their rash of recent, protracted legal battles, other than garnering a lot of negative publicity, and placing a huge financial drain on their already-tenuous budget? Who will protect the brain donors, Alcor calls "patients," if Alcor cannot, in the future?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alcor's Spin Doctors

Alcor recently issued a public statement, regarding the deposition of Larry Johnson. In response, an anonymous person on the Cold Filter forum claimed Mr. Johnson is "digging himself in deeper," because he asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, during the deposition. Is he? Hopefully, Mr. Johnson was following an attorney's advice, when he invoked the Fifth, (during a deposition, not a court hearing). The same person, writes "so much for the huge embarrassment, speculated by some here in the past, to Alcor, if these matters were aired in court." I still think Alcor will suffer a HUGE, perhaps devastating, embarrassment, if "these matters," (the conversations on those tapes), are aired in a court of law, (which they have not been).

I'm perplexed as to why Alcor continues to make public statements about this matter, before the NY case is over, and even more amazed they published questions and answers from the recent deposition. If I was Johnson's attorney, (I'm not an attorney, at all), I would respond by deposing the people who are alleged to be speaking on the tapes Johnson has, and publish their answers. Just think of it...

Question to Alcor Staff Member X: "Mr. X, is that your voice saying to Larry Johnson, "He killed her?"" And if the answer is "Yes,"... "To whom were you referring to, in regard to both the alleged murderer and the alleged victim?"

I could come up with thousands of embarrassing questions, for Alcor staff members, (both past and present), but I'm not interested in playing that game. Johnson et. al.'s attorneys should keep in mind that at least one person who allegedly discussed being involved in at least one illegal euthanasia still works at Alcor. If those tapes are legitimate, (and I, personally, believe they are), Alcor has had staff members who were either actually present when a certain cryonics superstar is said to have performed an illegal euthanasia, or who are psychologically-disturbed individuals who want to pretend they were involved in an illegal euthanasia.

Alcor gloats, "During deposition, Larry Johnson invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 300 times to avoid incriminating himself."

I'm just curious...Who, in that room, did not figure out that Mr. Johnson was not going to answer any questions, after the first 40, or 50? Seriously. Were Alcor's attorneys in control of the length of the deposition? How much do they get paid per hour? How much did Mr. Johnson have to pay his attorney, per hour? Is the goal of this legal battle to get to the truth, or to see who runs out of money, first? (And, for those of you who still think Johnson did this for the money, the court document reports that "over 33,000 copies of the book have been distributed." The cost of his legal battles probably exceeded any money he made, from the book, in the first few months!)

I think Alcor is hoping people will overlook the fact that Alcor cannot really "win" anything, in a hearing regarding Johnson et. al.'s "Motions to Dismiss," other than the right to proceed to trial with their claims. On the other hand, Johnson et. al. did succeed in having some of Alcor's claims thrown out of court.

My favorite part of the Alcor news brief was:

"On October 29, 2010, the New York court denied a motion to dismiss filed by Mr. Johnson. The court would only dismiss for now the "conversion" claim against Mr. Johnson for technical reasons, leaving claims for defamation and other causes of action intact."

The "technical reason" was that Alcor's allegations were "insufficient to state a claim for conversion as a matter of law," so their claim was dismissed.

Here are some highlights from the recent NY ruling, on Johnson et. al.'s "Motions to Dismiss:"

"In its opposition, Alcor appears to have abandoned its breach of contract claim with respect to the NDA."

"Accordingly, as a matter of law, Alcor has no ground to assert a breach of contract claim based on the Employee Handbook."

The judge leaves Alcor's claims for "Breach of Agreements and Judgment" in regard to the handwritten agreement, and their claim for "Breach of Fiduciary Duty" intact. (That doesn't mean Alcor "wins," only that those claims may proceed to trial.)

"Accordingly, Alcor fails to state a tortious interference with contract against Baldyga."

"According, Alcor's claim for aiding and abetting misappropriation of trade secrets must be dismissed."

The court did not rule on Alcor's status, as a public figure, something that may determine the outcome of a lot of the claims against Johnson et. al.

(From Alcor's statement: "Claims for defamation and other causes of action, including aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty, against Vanguard Press and Scott Baldyga will also continue forward in New York.")

I have been busy with other things, and may not have even noticed the court documents, if not for Alcor's public statement. If Alcor is going to publish self-serving statements, appearing to be "cherry-picking" favorable court decisions, while leaving their members, and potential members, mostly in the dark, regarding their defeats, I feel compelled to comment.

The court documents can be found here: (Do an index search for case # 113938/2009.)

***This post may be updated (added to) in the near future. I've wasted enough time blogging about cryonics, this morning.***