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“Existence and motive to retaliate:” Judge hands victory to whistleblower scientist

Retraction Watch - April 27, 2017

Cohen Seglias partner Paul Thaler provided his reaction to a recent opinion concerning a whistleblower for the April 24, 2017 Retraction Watch article, "'Existence and motive to retaliate:' Judge hands victory to whistleblower scientist".

A Michigan researcher whose accusations of misconduct against his former employers led to years of legal battles has won a judge’s ruling that could earn him one of his jobs back.

Over the past few years, Christian Kreipke has been embroiled in legal battles with the Detroit VA Medical Center and Wayne State University, where he held a dual appointment. In 2010, Kreipke accused Wayne State of misusing federal funds — then was fired in 2012 when the university brought its own case of research misconduct against him. In 2013, the VA followed suit. In 2014, Kreipke lost a whistleblower lawsuit against the university. As a result of the Wayne State investigation, journals have retracted five of his papers, some as recently as last month.

In March, a judge ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to reinstate Kreipke’s position, among other requests.

Throughout this process, Kreipke has repeatedly denied committing misconduct, saying that the allegations were an attempt to defang his whistleblower allegations. The administrative judge with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which hears these types of cases brought by Federal employees, agreed with Kreipke in his lawsuit against the Detroit VA. According to government documents, the judge awarded Kreipke’s request for “corrective action” against the hospital, which includes reinstating his position there, restoring an existing grant and, more generally, reversing the decision to bar him from receiving VA funds for 10 years.

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