“We all lose here,” Aisen wrote in an e-mail to The Los Angeles Times. “Science and public health lose when research is torn from the investigators with the passion, knowledge and skill to assure its success.”
The fact that the dispute between the California schools actually reached the courts made news because such jockeying between academic institutions—for star faculty, big grants, and new facilities—is commonplace. “We never wanted to resort to legal action, but when all reasonable requests to return what is the rightful property of UC San Diego were ignored, there was no alternative,” David Brenner, vice chancellor for health sciences at UCSD, said in a statement. “We are pleased with today's decision and believe it indicates the strength of our overall case.”
According to Hayes, USC is not to change existing data related to the project, and both universities now have to work out how to return full control of the database to UCSD. While UCSD has won the first battle in its legal dispute with USC, the court did not rule on the monetary damages the school is seeking. Hayes instead referred both institutions to a settlement judge, who might help the two institutions negotiate an agreement and avoid a jury trial.