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From: Susan Chandler
Date: December 22, 2011 11:46:35 AM EST
To: “Alan J. Friedman” <AFRIEDMAN@ftc.gov>
Cc: ASKDOJ <ASKDOJ@usdoj.gov>
Subject: Objections to FTC approval of LabCorp’s purchase of Orchid Cellmark [Laboratory Corporation and Orchid Cellmark; File No.111 0155]
Alan J. Friedman, Esquire
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
Dear Mr. Friedman,
Thank you for your response to my letter of December 8th. In answer to your question, yes, I would like you to include the attachments I sent before and after the FTC approved LabCorp’s purchase of Orchid Cellmark as part of my public comment, including additional attachments and commentary from this email.
First, I would like to alter my statement regarding paternity DNA testing, which has been partially, not fully, segregated from LabCorp’s acquisition of Orchid Cellmark. Paternity DNA testing isn’t limited to financial responsibility for raising a child as I’d previously stated; sometimes it concerns the physical custody of a child, which is obviously weighty. And sometimes paternity DNA testing is about children born of rape. As the paternity DNA testing segregated from LabCorp’s acquisition of Orchid Cellmark is limited to a government contract, and as the corporation it was apparently arbitrarily awarded to – DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) – is already dangerously overlarge, too, (link below), it leaves me wondering if DDC has indicated a willingness to play games with paternity DNA tests for the military, which is doing a disgraceful job of addressing our female soldiers being raped by our male soldiers. Our legislators limit their concern for these women – who put their lives on the line in service to our country – to denying them abortions.
While the information in the above paragraph was within my scope of knowledge when writing earlier, I do not have uninterrupted access to my memory. My epilepsy causes nocturnal seizures exacerbated by nightmares over various aspects of addressing conviction and peripheral corruption for a decade, and these seizures affect my memory. My seizure medication also causes memory damage; my physicians have been unsuccessful in transitioning me to a mediation [medication] without that side effect.
The FTC’s rules restrict statements regarding medical conditions, despite medical comments being of obvious import to the FTC’s decision making process in pharmaceuticals mergers, care facilities mergers, and more. The complicated snail mail “confidential” process required by the FTC for including medical information in comments should be immediately replaced by an alternate electronic comment form that allows disclosure of medical information and protects the submitter’s personal identity. An alternate electronic process is necessary because the FTC admits the “confidential” process delays receipt of comments because of security measures, and those with medical conditions they wish to apprise the FTC of would be the least likely to have the physical abilities to respond rapidly enough to get their comments included. Failing to provide an alternate electronic form for submitting sensitive information is therefore discriminatory.
My epilepsy and Gary Stanley Bennett’s epilepsy is already a matter of public record through my correspondence with the Florida Department of Corrections regarding Bennett’s anti-seizure medication being withheld, which could have killed him. With Bennett’s permission through his family, that correspondence was published on my blog, making our shared medical condition more public still. As there are millions of Americans with epilepsy, the FTC would be on very thin ice in claiming that mention of epilepsy was personally identifying medical information.
Of those millions of Americans with epilepsy are thousands of Mideast Vets with IED engendered traumatic brain injury, many of whom are ending up wrongfully incarcerated due to law enforcement, prosecutors and the judiciary’s limited understanding of the condition. Not all seizure involve falling to the ground and convulsing … seizures can involve behaviors like walking in circles while speaking nonsensically, making random pushing motions and/or disrobing in public. Epilepsy is intermittently electrically altered consciousness, not insanity, even when accompanied with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That they are sister conditions is easily comprehended through simply acknowledging that any blow to the head significant enough to disrupt its electrical processes is obviously traumatic.
While not all seizures present in the same manner, stress is an almost universal trigger. Any seizure can be deadly.
Allowing LabCorp to absorb Orchid Cellmark despite unanswered questions about Bennett and William Michael Dillon’s forensic DNA testing is exacerbating my stress and Bennett’s. While the majority of those with epilepsy who are falsely convicted will have little knowledge of the FTC’s dark role in keeping forensic DNA tests overly expensive and of highly questionable quality, many will experience the often deadly stress that the undue expense and quality issues of DNA testing cause. They are already enduring exacerbated stress from the shared knowledge every inmate has of numerous wrongful conviction coverups that have been in place for decades, within the knowledge of the FBI, which is entrusted to investigate public corruption that affects trial outcomes.
In Bennett’s case, the coverup is of charlatan dog handler John Preston’s testimony nationwide, within the FBI’s knowledge through their personal use of Preston. Gerald Rivera’s 1984 segment about Preston on ABC’s 20/20 makes it clear that the mainstream media is not the incarcerated innocent’s friend (link below). Rivera prefers to be known for his Capone vault fiasco than for staying on Preston’s perjuries until every case is examined. Rivera came to Florida in December of 2008 not to update his Preston coverage upon Dillon’s release after 27 years, but to instead attend Charlie Crist’s wedding, somehow making it onto the very short guest list. As Crist served as Florida’s Attorney General before being elected governor, he took the state’s side in keeping Preston-tainted convictions intact. Crist signed an order transferring Bennett’s prosecution to a jurisdiction where the FBI and prosecutors had persecuted hapless schizophrenic Linroy Bottoson to death, and Crist ignored my related objections, just as Rivera ignored my requests to update his Preston story.
There is no getting around this: William Michael Dillon and Gary Stanley Bennett’s Preston-related evidence was received at Orchid Cellmark in suspect condition – from the same judicial circuit, being addressed by the same judge – and Orchid Cellmark plays dumb to this day about having an obvious obligation to not be a party to concealing the suspect condition of evidence. The FTC must assume that this behavior is systemic, because Orchid Cellmark has produced nothing to the contrary … which required nothing more than submitting pages from their policy and procedures manual that directed staff on steps to take when evidence is received unsealed – like Dillon’s – or apparently tampered with – like Bennett’s.
Upon receipt of my complaint about Bennett and Dillon, the FTC was obliged to break up Orchid Cellmark, already an international entity, into smaller, more tightly managed pieces.
As LabCorp was made aware of Orchid Cellmark’s apparent complicity in the decades-long coverup of charlatan John Preston’s perjuries, it’s obligation to its shareholders was to withdraw its offer to purchase, which LabCorp flouted.
Under no circumstances should the FTC have facilitated the marriage of two super-sized entities with such questionable regard for product quality that it may translate to participating in ongoing conviction corruption conspiracies.
Bennett’s case is the game-changer in Preston frame-ups, as the public defender’s office, the prosecutor’s office and the media all knew that one year prior to Bennett’s conviction, an Ohio federal court reversed Dale Sutton’s conviction and released him, finding Preston falsified his credentials in addition to being unable to track scent. It is crucial that another lab look at Bennett’s evidence to determine whether it was directly tampered with, and if enough DNA remains to amplify for accurate results. The FBI and DoJ should have made sure that happened, ceasing to protect of agents and attorneys that had been directly involved with Preston.
Changing the game in dog handler convictions is absolutely necessary. While hundreds of Preston victims may still be behind bars, charlatan dog handler Keith Pikett was involved in 2,000+ Texas criminal investigations, again with FBI involvement … evidence in dog handler cases cannot go to the likes of Orchid Cellmark or LabCorp, which may again conceal evidence received in suspect condition, or worse.
There are other congealed coverups involving thousands of cases that cannot be trusted to either corporation as individual entities, let alone as one combined gigantic entity, including the FBI’s Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis cases, discredited ME cases, discredited forensics lab cases, and more.
I would guess that the FTC knew why LabCorp voluntarily withdrew accreditation for its Burlington, NC facility in December of 2010, and why Orchid Cellmark voluntarily withdrew accreditation for its Nashville, TN facility in September of 2010 (link below). While Orchid Cellmark Nashville withdrawal was due to consolidatig its operations with Orchid Cellmark Farmers Branch, TX facility (link below), LabCorp Burlington is currently under investigation for bilking Medicare (link below).
It’s not just irresponsible for the FTC to reward a company already under investigation for bilking the federal government of millions of dollars of Medicare funds with a greater share of the market; it’s insane, and – I hope – actionable, if uncorrected.
LabCorp will probably easily survive the federal suit given its size lends it the ability to hold up the courts for years, ultimately paying a pittance while admitting no wrongdoing so as to retain the ability to participate in Medicare and Medicaid, although very likely to repeat bilking behaviors, as they’ll prove cost-effective.
As I see it, Mr. Friedman, you have no choice but to immediately undo LabCorp’s acquisition of Orchid Cellmark. LabCorp being sued for “pull through” schemes is not making the front pages of financial publications, just the Burlington Times-News, again defining the mainstream media’s role in dumbing down the public to benefit a select few. The Times-News indicated that the Senate is investigating LabCorp, and that the suit was filed in August, not post-merger.
That LabCorp will abusively tie up the courts is apparent in their behaviors in Sheila Yvonne Berman v Laboratory Corporation of America d/b/a LabCorp heard by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. LabCorp tested the wrong man’s DNA for paternity not once, but twice, and rather than admit error, forced the woman they victimized with their negligence to duke it out in the state’s highest court (link below).
That LabCorp will charge too much for forensic DNA testing is apparent in the behaviors exposed in the Sacramento Business Journal article that resulted in a settlement wherein LabCorp would repay California $49.5M for overcharges (link below).
That LabCorp was already too big prior to acquiring Orchid Cellmark for $85.4M was abundantly clear to you through their purchase of privately-owned Clearstone Central announced the first week of June, considering LabCorp had acquired Genzyme Corp in 2010 for $925M (link below).
Like most straightforward battles to make justice available – like demanding that the FBI investigate public corruption that affects trial outcomes – innocence organizations are a no show in this one, too, to the best of my knowledge. In searching to see if they are fighting LabCorp’s acquisition of Orchid Cellmark, I tripped over an article indicating limited concern over an incredible DNA backlog (link below). The innocence organization leader was more concerned with defending a department that had lost its accreditation than with the backlog itself … Connecticut is a small state; if a backlog of 4,000 cases is acceptable there, what is acceptable in California? As innocence organizations apparently don’t care that DNA test prices aren’t demand-driven or ethically performed, it’s all the more important that you find no reason to exclude my comments and every reason to act upon them, undoing LabCorp’s acquisition of Orchid Cellmark, and breaking each DNA testing company up until the resulting entities are ethics- and market-driven simultaneously.
The FTC betrayed the public trust to unjustly enriched corporations with darkly clouded charters while delaying justice for Gary Bennett and thousands of incarcerated innocents just like him. Incarcerating innocents leaves killers on the streets, and as such, the FTC may have played a role in a homicide – or two – this very day. Real killers belong behind bars; having innocents serve their time defrauds and endangers the public daily. So do corporate thugs that – with the FTC’s blessings – bilk Medicare, defend egregious errors with counterclaims of defamation, and apparently willfully participate in conviction corruption … and those are just the behaviors that have seen sunshine.
Incarcerated innocents deserve freedom without the artificial obstacles of a cornered market on forensic DNA test pricing and the unethical handling of evidence.
Again, thank you for your response. I anticipate another response befitting legitimate public service by close of business tomorrow. Although I seldom take these matters personally, I would have your enjoy your holidays just as much as incarcerated innocents are enjoying theirs.
From: “Friedman, Alan J.” <AFRIEDMAN@ftc.gov>
Date: December 15, 2011 5:54:14 PM EST
To: “‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘” <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: LabCorp’s purchase of Orchid Cellmark, FTC okay with unreported, related suspect evidence (Gary Stanley Bennett, William Michael Dillon)
Dear Ms. Chandler:
Do you want to include your attachments as part of your public comment?
Also please acknowledge that you have read and understand the following FTC privacy notice:
Privacy & Use:
1The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission’s General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
If you are unable to access this form, click here for an alternate method of submitting a public comment. This hyperlink from the web form take you to the language below – it’s just a new page that opens to the text;
ACCESSIBILITY – This form is compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments on the Notice. Comments should refer to “Laboratory Corporation and Orchid Cellmark; File No.111 0155“ to facilitate the organization of comments. A comment filed in paper form should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions. Moreover, because paper mail in the Washington area and at the Agency is subject to delay, please consider submitting your comments in electronic form. If, however, the comment contains any material for which confidential treatment is requested, it must be filed in paper form, and the first page of the document must be clearly labeled “Confidential.”1
1 FTC Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission’s General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).