NIH lawsuitmovesahead

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle refused Thursday to invalidate federal government claims against the University, making it more likely a multi-million dollar lawsuit will go to trial.
Kyle granted a summary judgment that said the government can sue the University in spite of its own “dirty hands.”
The case stems from “common-law” claims, which are sums of money the University is said to have mismanaged or gained illegally. The mishandling of funds was related to the school’s now-defunct ALG-drug program.
Had Kyle ruled that the government’s own mismanagement made them unable to sue for damages, the case could have been dismissed.
University head attorney Mark Rotenberg was disappointed but not stunned by the ruling.
“We were hoping to knock the case into a small fraction of what it had been last winter and that didn’t happen,” he said.
He would not speculate whether the ruling would bring about settlement talks. In a previous interview, Rotenberg said such talks had been stalled for quite some time.
He added that the University is no worse off than they were after Kyle’s judgment in July, which eliminated all charges related to the False Claims Act and prevented them from seeking up to triple damages.
The University contended the remainder of the claims should be dismissed because the government knew of the violations long before the suit was filed. Kyle ruled the proper National Institutes of Health official did not know of the inappropriate activities.
Justice Department officials could not be reached for comment.
The University still stands to lose $60 million by some government officials’ estimates. University officials estimate the case might be worth no more than $20 million.
–Andrew Tellijohn