Reno, NV-- (KRNV and www.mynews4.com
)-- Attorneys for Whittemore-Peterson Institute, who filed suit against a former researcher, have prevailed in court.
WPI filed a civil suit against Dr. Judy Mikovits earlier this year, saying she removed crucial data, computer files and emails when she was terminated in late September of this year. They say she was fired because she took research that belonged to another scientist at the Institute. And after her termination, authorities say, she allegedly sent her former co-workers to her office with orders to remove more data and research.
"[The research is] irreplaceable," said attorney Ann Hall, who represents WPI. "It is critical to ongoing research and critical to ongoing patient care."
A Washoe District Court judge has ruled that because Mikovitz failed to follow a court order to return the materials, WPI has prevailed in the civil lawsuit and can now seek damages.
WPI scientists study neuro-immune diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome. In 2009, they announced they had identified a retrovirus that could be responsible for the mysterious condition. Some of their research was later discredited, although similar results have been found in studies conducted by Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health.
Mikovits was arrested in Ventura, California, and is facing two felony charges of theft and possession of stolen property. Her attorney, Scott Freeman, says his client "maintains her innocence... She is a well-respected scientist. She is not a criminal."
Mikovits will be arraigned in Reno Justice Court on January 10.