Today, we received a letter from the Houston firm of Paranjpe & Mahadass LLP telling us to pull every post related to their client off our site within 20 days, or they’d “file a lawsuit against” us on his behalf.
On what grounds? According to the March 26 letter, which we have posted here in its entirety:
a vast majority of the statements posted on Retraction Watch are untrue and defamatory.
We called the law firm today to ask what statements in particular the letter referred to, and they said they would get back to us. We will respond appropriately once we hear the specific allegations.
Aggarwal, whose institutional bio lists him as the Ransom Horne, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research, has been the subject, directly or otherwise, of some half-dozen posts on this blog. The integrity of his work was questioned on other blogs, particularly the now-defunct
– thanks to legal threats from others – Abnormal Science (you can see some of those posts here), which accused him of having manipulated his images.
Aggarwal has withdrawn, retracted or corrected a handful of articles, mainly for problems with the images. In a couple of cases, however, the reason for the removal was unstated.
The case has drawn significant interest, including a story in the Houston Chronicle.
Update, 8 p.m. Eastern, 4/10/13: Struck through “thanks to legal threats from others,” which referred to Science-Fraud.org, not Abnormal Science. Thanks to commenter Eduardo G P Fox for pointing out this error.
Update, 2:30 p.m. Eastern, 4/11/13: Here’s Popehat’s take on this story: “Dr. Bharat Aggarwal’s Attorneys Make Bumptious Legal Threats Against “Retraction Watch” Blog“