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Our Results - 2018

July. 2018

First Circuit upholds defamation verdict for Saudi Arabian scientist

David H. Rich and Suzanne Elovecky of Todd & Weld LLP persuaded the 1st U.S. Circuit of Appeals to uphold a defamation verdict for their client, Saudi Arabian scientist Hayat Sindi, who sued Samia El-Moslimany and her mother arising from numerous publications accusing Dr. Sindi of fabricating and exaggerating her academic credentials.

Dr. Sindi contended at the July 2016 trial that beginning in 2011 Samia El-Moslimany and her mother, Ann, engaged in an extensive, ongoing campaign to besmirch Dr. Sindi's professional and academic reputation by, among other things, posting defamatory statements on a website, sending inflammatory emails to her professional colleagues and business associates, and distributing fliers containing falsehoods at academic conferences.

Libelous statements included claims that Dr. Sindi had plagiarized her doctoral thesis at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and exaggerated her role at Harvard University in developing a cost-effective diagnostic tool contemplated for use in developing countries.

The relentless defamatory campaign hindered Dr. Sindi's effort to launch an entity – the Institute of Imagination and Ingenuity (i2) – designed to promote entrepreneurship and innovation among scientists, engineers and technologists in the Middle East.

"Following a thorough appraisal, we conclude – without serious question – that the defamation verdicts pass constitutional muster," the court wrote.

Additionally, the court upheld verdicts in favor of Dr. Sindi on her claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with contract.

Mr. Rich, a partner at the firm, has a varied litigation practice, including defamation and first amendment law.  Ms. Elovecky maintains a diverse commercial litigation practice, including matters involving defamation law.