You may remember Arthur Fishtenberg. Back in 2008, I described him as “The Jackass in the foil hat” for his various antics against various municipalities who dared to allow wireless devices to be used in their buildings. According to Fishtenberg, a dental X-ray in 1982 somehow transformed him into an elector-hypersensitive and perpetually tortured victim of all things wireless. Apparently he bounced around various communities in the US pulling this claim out to anyone who would listen.
Firstenberg has written several articles and a book about the dangers of wireless devices. He has founded groups and is cited on a number of websites as a crusader for the rights of those who supposedly are harmed by these devices. He has also filed many many lawsuits.
Apparently, in more recent years, Firstenberg has decided to take his battle directly to the individuals who dare to use RF-emitting devices in their own homes. That’s what happened in 2010 when Raphaela Monribot had the misfortune of renting a home next to Arthur Firstenberg. Miss Monribot, a graphic artist, didn’t do anything to cause conflict with her new neighbor other than daring to own a cell phone and a laptop computer.
In fact, Monribot had been acquainted with Firstenberg before moving next to him. She had previously been briefly hired to cook for Firstenberg when she lived in the same area. Apparently, she was also acquainted with the landlord who Firstenberg had bought his home from and who still owned the adjacent home, which is where she took up residence. It seems that the fact that Firstenberg already knew Monribot opened the door for his increasingly invasive requests.
Shortly after moving into her new residence, Firstenberg bagan harrassing Miss Monribot over her use of wireless devices, compact fluorescent lights and dimmer switches.
He claimed that her use of an iPhone, laptop and even her lights were causing him to suffer from a variety of symptoms, including nausia, headaches, the insomnia and various other non-specific complaints. Fishetenberg demanded that Miss Monribot stop using her wireless devices and go so far as to modify the electrical wiring in her home. According to Fishtenberg “I didn’t want to go to court. I just wanted her to work with me… “She basically refused. ? I felt like I had no choice but to give up my home.”
Miss Monribot did try to accommodate Firstenberg’s demands. She turned off her laptop’s Wifi, despite the extreme inconvenience it caused her. She even allowed some of Firtstenberg’s friends into her home to inspect and manipulate her wiring and appliances. Despite this, according to Monribot “he was relentlessly pursuing me regarding the iphone and the electric wiring in the house.”
There are, of course, other homes in the area that use wifi and have electronic devices, but according to Fistenberg, the fact that his home and Monribot used a common connection to the local power grid somehow made it a more acute problem. As he put it “because the two houses at one time were on a single lot, their electrical systems are fed from a single main cable. In fact, the electric meter for my house is mounted on (Monribot’s) house. Electromagnetic fields emitted in (Monribot’s) house are transmitted by wire directly into my house. Of course, this makes no sense at all. The frequencies used by wireless networks are not picked up and transmitted by the mains AC cable of a home. But that did not stop Fistenberg.
Things went from bad to worse when Firstenberg, who claimed he was forced to move from his home and camp out in cars and friends’ homes, decided it was time to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit named Raphaela Monribot and her landlord, Robin Leith. The lawsuit demanded that the court order Monribot to stop using her wireless phone, wifi and other devices and for Monribot and Leith to pay Fistenberg a total of one million dollars for “injuries, illness, pain and suffering” plus an additional $430,000 for loss of value to his property. This represents what he had paid for his home, so apparently Fistenberg was claiming that her use of wifi effectively had made his home forever worthless. As Firstenberg said ” (Try to figure out that one.)
Firstenberg supported his lawsuit with a large number of notes from various doctors who he had visited as a result of his elector-sensitivity. Apparently, he had managed to track down quite a few gullible MD’s. This was accompanied by volumes of anecdotal evidence and claims from various groups about the dangers of electromagnetic fields.
One would have hoped that the lawsuit would have simply been tossed. After all, it asserted damages from a condition that mainstream science does not recognize as existing and is based on claims which cannot be independently verified. This is not what happened. Instead, a long legal battle began. Firstenberg demanded increasingly restrictive measures. He started claiming that not only was his neighbors laptop causing him health problems when operating with wifi, but was actually causing him pain even when it was charging.
While these motions were generally rejected, it eventually became too much for Monribot, who moved away from Firstenberg. Still, he continued to pursue his lawsuit. Failing to come to any kind of settlement, the lawsuit moved forward toward trial.
Thankfully, a judge did eventually begin to see the light in the summer of 2012. Firstenberg had called upon two “experts” to testify on the effects of his condition. However, the defense argued that the condition described was not accepted by mainstream science as existing and that double-blind studies conducted by organizations like the World Health Organization had failed to show that there was any basis for the condition at all. Given this, the judge ruled that Firstenberg could not submit the testimony or the test results conducted by his own experts until he could prove, under proper controls, that the condition did exist and that he could indeed detect electromagnetic radiation.
The judge appointed an independent expert, who was tasked with developing an acceptable test protocol to determine, under controlled conditions, whether Firsternberg was affected by wireless devices. The judges orders were simple, and remarkably similar to what this blog’s author has proposed for a test. She ordered Firstenberg to work with the independent expert appointed to establish that, under controlled and blinded conditions, he could determine whether a wireless device was turned on or off.
By September 2012, Firstenberg had failed to comply and provide such evidence and the lawsuit was dismissed. Firstenberg, for his part, claimed that the reason he would not agree to any verifiable testing was that such tests would subject him to further injury from RF radiation. However, he did continue to offer evidence from his own private and non-blinded testing.
Unfortunately, this did not end as well as it might seem. Although the lawsuit was thrown out, Miss Monribot was not only forced to move, but was left with a mountain of legal debt from the years of defending herself from the charges. Last month, a judge dismissed a motion by Monribot to recoup some of the $170,000 in legal fees from Firstenberg.
Firstenberg has sated “This will not be the last case. These issues deserve to be examined, not suppressed.” Unfortunately, he seems to (at least in this case) be a man of his word. According to his activist group, he has filed several other lawsuits in the past two years.
On January 2, he filed another lawsuit. This time, targeting a hotel in Santa Fe had been granted a permit to host an AT&T wireless mast, intended to improve local coverage. Firstenberg does not live directly near the hotel, but it is in the downtown area and thus he would likely pass the area. Again, he is citing the health problems he claims it would cause and claims to be fighting for his rights against persecution.
Firsternberg… my god you are such an ass! I mean… seriously!
This entry was posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 1:06 am and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Just LAME, Not Even Wrong, inverse square. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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