Retraction sparks lawsuit

One co-author sues another for over $1 million, arguing retraction without her consent damaged her reputation

Alison McCook(amccook@the-scientist.com)
Oct 11, 2005

A plant researcher is suing her former supervisor for more than $1 million in punitive damages and legal fees after he retracted two papers in Cell and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences without her consent, arguing the move damaged her scientific reputation.

Both of the retracted articles investigated nitric oxide, believed to exert direct antimicrobial effects by interfering with protein function and forming cytotoxic oxidants. In the Cellarticle, Meena Chandok, her former supervisor Daniel Klessig, and their colleagues identify the enzyme in plants responsible for producing nitric oxide, and this plant nitric oxide synthase (NOS) appeared to share features with animal NOSs.

According to the complaint, which The Scientist has obtained, Chandok, now at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, joined Klessig's lab at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) for Plant Research in 2000. After two years, Klessig agreed to sponsor her application for...