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The Book Gets Thrown

Chronic fatigue syndrome researcher Judy Mikovits made the news in November when she was arrested in California and extradited to Nevada to face a civil lawsuit. The suit, brought by her former employer the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease, alleges that she had wrongfully kept her laboratory notebooks and other information about her work on her laptop, in flash drives, and in a personal e-mail account.

ScienceInsider's Jon Cohen now reports that the civil court has grown "frustrated" with Mikovits, as she seems to have ignored a judge's order to return all the allegedly stolen materials to WPI. "Mikovits, who is also facing related criminal charges for possessing stolen property, returned some of the notebooks and a laptop after being briefly jailed," Cohen says. "But WPI filed an affidavit from a computer expert that said all the files had been recently deleted on the laptop. WPI attorney Ann Hall further asserts that Mikovits returned only 18 of the notebooks, withholding half a dozen more that include experiments done between 2006 and 2009."

The judge ruled summarily in favor of WPI in their complaints against Mikovits of breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets, and rejected the researcher's reasons and replies to the charges, Cohen adds. The court has yet to rule on what damages WPI will be awarded.

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