Miltenberg: “Judge to Rule on Whether Claims in $25M Lawsuit by Harvard Prof. Francesca Gino Will Proceed,” Harvard Crimson


Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino’s $25 million lawsuit will face its first major hurdle, with a federal judge set to rule on the motions to dismiss her claims filed by the University and quantitative analysis blog Data Colada. In October, the University and Harvard Business School Dean Srikant M. Datar jointly moved for a partial dismissal of the lawsuit, petitioning to strike down Gino’s accusations of breach of contract, defamation, and civil conspiracy to commit defamation — but not Gino’s claim of gender discrimination by the school. A month later, Data Colada motioned to strike down all of Gino’s claims, including the allegations of libel and conspiracy with Harvard. In response, Gino’s legal team filed responses this month to have HBS and Data Colada’s motions struck down, contending that the facts alleged in the suit are sufficient to warrant the civil claims made. Now, U.S. District Court Judge Myong J. Joun will weigh each side’s arguments and issue the first major ruling in the case — whether most of the claims filed by Gino will proceed or whether they will be immediately dismissed. Should the claims survive the motions to dismiss, Gino will be able to pursue discovery against Harvard and Data Colada to seek supporting evidence … “Harvard’s lack of integrity in its review process stripped Prof. Gino of her rights, career and reputation — and failed miserably with respect to gender equity,” wrote Andrew T. Miltenberg, Gino’s attorney. “And Data Colada’s vicious take-down of Prof Gino is completely baseless.” As the lawsuit progresses, new information regarding Gino’s potential academic dishonesty is likely to come to light. HBS’s internal investigation findings — a 1,200-page document produced after 18 months of investigation into Gino’s conduct — lie at the heart of this case, with HBS claiming the report proves “by a preponderance of the evidence” that Gino committed research fraud. The 1,200-page report has been admitted to the case under seal, but various groups involved in the lawsuit have moved to make it public. The University has filed to make the investigation report widely available, and the New Yorker and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have intervened in the case and filed a joint motion to place the investigation on the public record. According to the New Yorker, high public interest in the case and the investigation’s status as a court document justify public access.

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