Just over a month ago, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI) fired its former research director, Judy Mikovits, who led the study that identified a link between a mouse retrovirus to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which has since been widely discredited. Now, the non-profit institute has filed a lawsuit against Mikovits, ScienceInsider reported, claiming that she took lab notebooks and documents from her computer that she had no right to take and that could hinder the institute's research efforts.
"Without these materials, WPI's ability to continue its important research on finding a cure for these terrible diseases impacting over 4 million Americans each year is severely hampered," the complaint stated.
WPI discovered the missing notebooks after opening a drawer in Mikovits's desk that was normally kept locked. Mikovits had the only key, but the institution had the desk's manufacturer send an employee to open the drawer. Mikovits denies any wrongdoing, according to her lawyer, who stated in a rebuttal letter that Mikovits was not in her office when she was fired, and has not returned since.
The courts have already granted WPI an order to temporarily forbid Mikovits from "destroying, deleting, or altering" any of the files, and will hear argument on a request for preliminary injunction on November 22.