Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Ohio State, CrossFit gym make six-figure settlement over corrected paper’s injury claims

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Mitch Potterf

Mitch Potterf

The Ohio State University (OSU) has settled a lawsuit with a CrossFit affiliate over allegations that a study had defamed the gym.

As first reported by Columbus Underground, the university has agreed to pay Mitchell Potterf, owner of Fit Club in Columbus, Ohio, $145,000 to settle claims that a 2013 paper by OSU researchers included false data about injuries suffered by 11 athletes who took part in a fitness challenge. According to a statement filed by Potterf and his attorney, Ken Donchatz, in the Ohio Court of Claims, based on depositions,

none of the 11 athletes suffered from overuse, injury or an overuse injury because of any activity performed during the Challenge.

The paper was corrected last year, noting that only two of the 11 people who dropped out of the study mentioned injury or health reasons. Donchatz told Retraction Watch:

Mitch’s main concern through all of this is that he didn’t injure anybody. So this is very good for Mitch.

Donchatz and his client will now go back to court in a different case against the authors of the study and the National Strength Conditioning Association (NSCA), which publishes the journal. As is standard in cases connected to others involving the state of Ohio — in this case, the university — the case against the NSCA was put on hold to await the end of the now-settled case. Donchatz anticipates the NSCA case, which he filed to reinstate late last month, will take six to twelve months to be resolved.

“Our position is that the retraction isn’t accurate,” Donchatz said, referring to the data retracted in the correction.

It says two people were injured during the course of the study, and the were not. They’ve testified twice under oath that they weren’t. For whatever reason, the publisher won’t acknowledge that.

CrossFit itself is also suing the NSCA, and won a significant victory in that case last month. Earlier this year, Potterf lost two separate suits against Ohio State related to the case.

Update, 10 p.m. Eastern, 10/20/16: Ohio State tells us:

The university decided to settle this matter, but in doing so we admit no wrongdoing.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

October 19th, 2016 at 11:33 am

Comments
  • Cullen G Griffin October 20, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I’ve been reading about this. It’s crazy how people of a certain status can publish things without any background research, truth or information. I’m glad Mitch saw the justice deserved and the truth came out that his athletes in fact weren’t injured and it was just a bunch of lies. Anyways great article. Thanks for sharing!

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