Note that views expressed in this opinion article are the writer’s personal views and not necessarily those of TrialSite.
On August 25, NIH appeared in conference in federal court in the District of New Jersey. The purpose of the appearance was for resolution of Jin-Pyong Peter Yim v National Institutes of Health and for scheduling of “motion practice”, if necessary. I am the plaintiff in the case. Beneath the legal formalities, the case could reveal that NIH deceived the nation on a treatment for COVID-19.
NIH is alleged to have violated the Freedom of Information Act. NIH failed to respond to a document request made on January 28, 2021:
“All updates to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatment Guidelines that were endorsed by a vote of the Panel. (Date Range for Record Search: From 01/01/2021 To 01/28/2021)”
The purpose of the FOIA request was not to obtain the document. Rather, it was to know if a vote was held to endorse the NIH recommendation on ivermectin. NIH violated FOIA because it did not respond within the time defined by statute. A complaint was filed against the NIH on March 26, 2021 to appeal the non-response. NIH answered the complaint on June 30. The answer included an exhibit and testimony.
NIH was represented by Margaret Ann Mahoney. She stated that NIH had responded to the FOIA request. She was referring to the NIH FOIA response from April 23:
“You requested all updates to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatment Guidelines that were endorsed by a vote of the Panel (Date range for record search from 01/01/2021 to 01/28/2021). All approved updates to the guidelines are posted online and can be found here. The documents posted on this website respond to your request in full.”
I requested a change to the NIH response. The NIH response is ambiguous as to whether the requested document exists. I provided a URL that refers to a single document. I requested that that URL be given in the NIH FOIA response if that recommendation was endorsed by a vote.
The conference was presided over by Judge Lois H. Goodman. She gave her opinion following discussion between the plaintiff and defendant. She expressed skepticism of the legal basis for the complaint. However, she urged further negotiation and allowed for “motion practice” if no agreement was reached. Her concluding remarks are here.
Following the conference, Judge Goodman also issued the following order:
“TEXT ORDER directing parties to confer to attempt resolution to this dispute. Parties to report to the Court as to the results of those efforts to resolve by 9/8/2021. If, matter cannot be resolved, dispositive motions to be filed by 9/24/2021 and to be returnable on 10/18/2021. Ms. Mahoney is directed to provide pro se plaintiff with a copy of this text order. So Ordered by Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman on 8/26/2021 .”