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Research & Scientific Misconduct

Research misconduct allegations can destroy a scientist's career and no case should be confronted without skilled legal representation to advise you and advocate for you.  


Initially governed entirely by the idiosyncratic rules of academic institutions where lawyers were shunned, government funded academic research is now subject to a dizzying array of institutional and government laws and regulations, including the federal criminal laws and the federal false claims act.   Institutions and researchers who are accused of misconduct must navigate a complex world of employment law, government investigations, and educational rules and standards.  False statements in grant applications can lead to personal financial liability to a scientist and there could be serious consequences to a researcher's academic standing and credentials.  The growing number of post publication reviews conducted by Journals and the specter of retractions and other 'public' disclosures have introduced another layer of complexity into the resolution of any case.  In addition, the Government has undertaken a major review of any non-US funding and attention must be paid to non-US funding, including grant funding from China and overseas faculty appointments.  Given the significant consequences of a misconduct proceeding, all scientists who are involved, whether as the accused, the complainant, or merely as a witness, are well advised to seek the assistance of independent counsel.

Richard Goldstein is a recognized leader of the research misconduct bar.  He has been involved in several high profile research misconduct cases and has represented scientists all across the United States.    For over a decade, he has represented senior researchers, faculty, post-docs, and students charged with research misconduct.  He also represents complainants, witnesses, and others who have been involved (sometimes involuntarily) in these cases.   In most every instance, the identity of his client is never disclosed publicly and many have continued with their careers in scientific research.  He is often cited by prominent science blog as a legal expert in the field of research and scientific misconduct.  



Critical Successes

Obtained first ever ruling in which an ORI debarment order was vacated and that a scientist is entitled to a de novo hearing before a federal  administrative law judge.   Led to favorable settlement in which no debarment was imposed and the scientist was able to continue receiving federal grant funding. 

Representing a naturalized US citizen against allegations of failing to disclose funding from the Chinese Government.  Also represented a scientist whose inventions were part of a confidential US grant application and were later found to be part of a patent approved by a foreign government.

Persuaded numerous confidential university and institutional faculty panels to dismiss claims of academic or research misconduct; including:

                   Successfully represented a senior scientist in an NIH funded lab where the PIs and another senior researcher

                   were found to have committed misconduct and the institution paid a sizable amount to the US Government to

                   settle allegations of false claims.  The allegations against my client were dismissed at the inquiry stage

                   and the identity of my client and the allegations against the client never became public. 

                   Representation of a junior researcher who was accused, along with the PI, of misstating data in a clinical trial. 

                   The misconduct allegations were rejected by the investigation panel and the identity of my client and

                   the allegations never became public.

                   Representation of a PI/ lab head where tissue images were found to be erroneous.  The misconduct allegations

                   were rejected by the investigation panel and the identity of my client and the allegations never became public.

After a misconduct findings by an institution, persuaded Government agencies not to pursue formal debarments or suspensions.  In other cases, negotiated significant reductions in penalties imposed by federal regulatory authorities against scientists found to have committed misconduct. 

Responded, on behalf of a scientist, whose published data had been questioned by a journal reviewer.  After a lengthy process, the journal rejected the allegations of data fabrication and no misconduct proceeding was commenced.   The matter has never become public.

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