UC San Diego files lawsuit against USC, former employee

UC San Diego files lawsuit against USC, former employee

University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) has accused USC and a nationally recognized Alzheimer's disease researcher of illegally conspiring to take federal funding, data on the illness as well as employees from its study center.

In a lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court, UC San Diego alleged that scientist Paul Aisen and his 8 colleagues illegally took research data and other assets from the university's study center when they moved to USC. UC San Diego also accused USC and the scientists of trying to supplant their former center.

Aisen along with eight colleagues left UC San Diego in June to join a new Alzheimer's institute set up by USC in San Diego. Aisen joined the new institute as its head.

USC denied any wrongdoing. A representative for the institution said it just recruited a prestigious scientist, an activity that such institutions routinely perform.

In response to the allegation, "We are surprised and disappointed that the University of California San Diego elected to sue its departing faculty member and his team, as well as USC, rather than manage this transition collaboratively, as is the well-accepted custom and practice in academia."

It is common for universities to recruit or poach faculty from one another, but lawsuits arising from such recruitments are quite rare. This lawsuit was previously filed by the UC regents, who accused the defendants of committing various illegal acts, including civil conspiracy, contract interference and computer crimes.

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