Penn microbiologist wins damages

University, not researcher, faulted by court in misconduct case.

Peg Brickley(pegbrickley@hotmail.com)
Jan 7, 2003

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the University of Pennsylvania (U. Penn) to pay a researcher $3 million for shutting down his laboratory after two committees absolved him of scientific misconduct.

Sanctions imposed in 1991 by then-dean of Penn's veterinary medicine school, Edwin Andrews, had a "devastating" effect on microbiologist Jorge Ferrer's leukemia research, high court Chief Justice Stephen A. Zappala wrote in a 36-page opinion issued December 30.

"We are disappointed with the decision of the Supreme Court," Penn spokeswoman Phyllis M. Holtzman told The Scientist, but declined to comment further about the case.

Ferrer, who is still on the faculty at Penn's veterinary school, did not return calls for comment on the ruling. The school had appealed a 1998 decision by a Philadelphia jury to award the tenured professor $5 million.

Though the high court kept Penn on the hook for breaching Ferrer's employment contract, it cut...

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