On March 24, 2008, Shoemaker, an attorney for the Sykes, served Seidel with a subpoena
in connection with the Sykes v. Bayer lawsuit. The subpoena demanded
that Seidel appear for a deposition on April 30, 2008, and that she
produce a shockingly broad collection of information, including her bank statements, tax returns,
communications with religious organizations, and personal
correspondence with other bloggers.
On April 21, magistrate judge Muirhead granted Seidel's well argued motion to quash the subpoena. The judge also ordered Shoemaker to show cause why he should not be sanctioned under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 for issuing the subpoena. In response, Shoemaker filed a rambling opposition
to potential sanctions in which he asserted that Seidel was engaged in
a conspiracy with Bayer and others to harass him, his client, and
various witnesses. (With the help of Paul Levy from Public Citizen, Seidel filed a restrained response that made Shoemaker's outlandish claims seem all the more, well, outlandish.)
Not surprisingly, the judge didn't buy any of Shoemaker's conspiracy theories and in a strongly worded opinion, made it clear that the subpoena was an abuse of the legal process:
'Mr. Shoemaker made no attempt to avoid
imposing an undue burden or expense on Ms. Seidel. To the contrary, I
find that he sought to burden her by requiring production of every
scrap of paper related to autism, her web site, her tax returns, and
her communications with the government...'