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Charles O. Ogindo filed the civil lawsuit in state Supreme Court in May seeking $200 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages and attorney's fees. He is suing Binghamton University; his former adviser, Professor John J. Eisch; former chemistry department Chairman David C. Doetschman; Director of Graduate Studies Wayne E. Jones Jr.; and chemistry department Chairman Alistair J. Lees. T. Ogindo, 39, entered BU's doctoral program in 2004 after passing his course work, cumulative and oral exams, and submitting his dissertation prospectus, he said. With a timetable of defending his dissertation in December 2005, Ogindo said, he planned to receive his Ph.D. in 2006. But he never graduated. Instead, he claims the results of two experiments he implemented -- including one that was the crux of his dissertation -- were published by his adviser, Eisch, without including Ogindo as a co-author. Eisch is a distinguished professor of organic chemistry who has been at BU since 1972. Ogindo said he was then denied the opportunity to defend his dissertation for dubious reasons, which has left his academic and professional future in limbo.

Ph.D. Student Suing BU, says Prof Stole His Work


Chemist seeks $202 million in damages

Charles Ogindo, PhD student, BUCharles Ogindo, 39, of Sherburne, a former Binghamton University doctoral student, is suing the university and some of its professors over research he says was published without listing him as a co-author.

First comment on Ogindo's lab technique to reproduce Somnath Dutta original findings:
Accordingly, your inability to reproduce his work is unequivocal proof that after two years in our laboratory, you still do not have the necessary technique and experimental care to work with organometallic compounds in a successful and reliable way. ... Therefore, I request that you immediately cease laboratory experimentation in any of my labs... -- Professor John J. Eisch, chemistry, Binghamton University

Second comment is a clear contradiction from the first statement, and does show that Ogindo's lab technique was not a problem and his work is of quality:
Eventually, Eisch came to agree that Somnath Dutta's original findings were wrong and Ogindo was right -- but not before disciplining Ogindo and finally removing him from the program.

Ogindo on prof. Eisch action to remove him from the graduate program:
That is why the only way he can appropriate it is if I gave up and left it for him -- or if he tried to show that I was so ungifted a student as to be incapable of that. -- Charles Ogindo, doctoral candidate in chemistry, Binghamton University

Meanwhile...
While Eisch refused to co-author the papers submitted by Ogindo, he did publish his own papers on the same experiments, Ogindo said. Though Eisch proposed the topic of Ogindo's dissertation and advised on experiments that needed to be performed, he said, it was his own experiments on that topic that led to a unique discovery, which Eisch at first ridiculed.

By Debbie Swartz (Sunday, October 21, 2007)

VESTAL -- Contending that his work was stolen and that he was forced out of a doctoral program, a former graduate student has filed a $202 million lawsuit against Binghamton University and four of its current and former staff members.

Charles O. Ogindo filed the civil lawsuit in state Supreme Court in May seeking $200 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages and attorney's fees. For the case to continue, he will have to re-file it in the state's Court of Claims after a Friday pre-trial hearing before Judge Ferris D. Lebous determined the state Supreme Court had no jurisdiction over the matter.

Ogindo intends to persevere.

He is suing Binghamton University; his former adviser, Professor John J. Eisch; former chemistry department Chairman David C. Doetschman; Director of Graduate Studies Wayne E. Jones Jr.; and chemistry department Chairman Alistair J. Lees.

Ogindo, 39, entered BU's doctoral program in 2004 after passing his course work, cumulative and oral exams, and submitting his dissertation prospectus, he said. With a timetable of defending his dissertation in December 2005, Ogindo said, he planned to receive his Ph.D. in 2006.

But he never graduated.

Instead, he claims the results of two experiments he implemented -- including one that was the crux of his dissertation -- were published by his adviser, Eisch, without including Ogindo as a co-author. Eisch is a distinguished professor of organic chemistry who has been at BU since 1972.

Ogindo said he was then denied the opportunity to defend his dissertation for dubious reasons, which has left his academic and professional future in limbo.

The information supplied in his dissertation, he claims, is worth $200 million on the U.S. market alone. His research involved the development of safer and less expensive methods for transforming raw materials in fine chemicals -- including pharmaceutical drugs -- and conducting polymers.

Citing the ongoing litigation, BU would not comment on the case, but according to court records, Assistant Attorney General Mary A. Walsh -- who represents the state-funded school -- denied the allegations and questioned the court's jurisdiction.

The defendants would not comment on the lawsuit or the allegations, Eisch said in an e-mail, "until this case has been resolved by court action."

"The Attorney General's office, we have been advised, does not try to plead their cases in the media," he added.

Eventually, Eisch came to agree that Somnath Dutta's original findings were wrong and Ogindo was right -- but not before disciplining Ogindo and finally removing him from the program.

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