Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Scientist-Administrators in Legal Trouble

Three different cases. Three different reasons. All from the US. Only one is about research misconduct and its aftermath; the other two are financial disputes..

  1. Judy Mikovits:

    ... Dr. Mikovits left her position as research director at the institute in a dispute over management practices and control over research materials. The institute sued her, accusing her of stealing notebooks and other proprietary items. Dr. Mikovits was arrested in Southern California, where she lives, and jailed for several days, charged with being a fugitive from justice.

    After her split with the institute, Dr. Mikovits denied having the missing laboratory materials. But a lab employee, Max Pfost, said in an affidavit that he took items at her request, stashing notebooks in his mother’s garage in Sparks, Nev., before turning them over to Dr. Mikovits.

    At one point, “Mikovits informed me that she was hiding out on a boat to avoid being served with papers from W.P.I.,” Mr. Pfost said in the affidavit. Some lab items have since been returned.

    In December, a judge ruled against her in the civil case. The criminal case is pending ...

  2. Craig B. Thompson:

    The president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York is in a billion-dollar dispute with his former workplace, a cancer institute at the University of Pennsylvania, over accusations that he walked away with groundbreaking research and used it to help start a valuable biotechnology company.

    Dr. Craig B. Thompson, now of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, is being sued. In a lawsuit, the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at Penn described its former scientific director, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, as “an unscrupulous doctor” who “chose to abscond with the fruits of the Abramson largess.”

    The dispute reflects the importance that academic research centers now place on turning discoveries made on their campuses into sources of revenue. Some have engaged in protracted legal battles to ensure compensation for their intellectual property. Yale, for example, won more than $1 million in compensation and legal fees in 2005 from a Nobel laureate it had accused of taking its technology.

  3. Craig Grimes:

    Former Pennsylvania State University electrical engineering professor Craig Grimes, considered a world leader in materials science, has been charged with misusing $3 million in federal research grants.

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania accused Grimes on Jan. 31 of misusing $1.2 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health and of falsifying information when applying for a $1.9 million grant through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. If convicted, Grimes could face up to 35 years in prison fines of up to $750,000.