Fisher Loses Appeal in Privacy Suit

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Science  20 Dec 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5295, pp. 1999
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5295.1999c

University of Pittsburgh cancer researcher Bernard Fisher has lost an appeal of his suit charging the government with smearing his reputation. Fisher, former director of a national breast and bowel cancer study, had sued the Department of Health and Human Services for attaching labels 2 years ago to electronic citations of his papers containing warnings such as “scientific misconduct—data to be reanalyzed.” The labels stemmed not from a misconduct investigation of Fisher, but from a co-author's admission of falsifying data.

On 27 November, a panel of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., issued a motion affirming a lower court's decision last June to dismiss Fisher's suit. Fisher's lead attorney, Robert Charrow, says his team will now submit a motion asking the full court to hear the case. “It's very difficult to say” what the outcome will be, Charrow says, noting that “the chances in the appellate process are never good.” If the motion is denied, Fisher can appeal to the Supreme Court.

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