(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed suit on behalf of Dr. James E. Enstrom, a UCLA research professor who was terminated after he blew the whistle on junk environmental science and scientific misconduct at the University of California (UC).
"The facts of this case are astounding," said David French, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ. "UCLA terminated a professor after 35 years of service simply because he exposed the truth about an activist scientific agenda that was not only based in fraud but violated California law for the sake of imposing expensive new environmental regulations on California businesses. UCLA's actions were so extreme that its own Academic Freedom Committee unanimously expressed its concern about the case."
Dr. Enstrom, a research professor in UCLA's Department of Environmental Health Sciences, published important peer-reviewed research demonstrating that fine particulate matter does not kill Californians. Also, Dr. Enstrom assembled detailed evidence that contends powerful UC professors and others have systematically exaggerated the adverse health effects of diesel particulate matter in California, knowing full well that these exaggerations would be used by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to justify draconian diesel vehicle regulations in California. In addition, the complaint argues that he exposed the fact that the lead author of the key CARB Report used to justify the diesel regulations did not have the UC Davis Ph.D. degree that he claimed. Instead, according to the suit, this “scientist” bought a fake Ph.D. for $1,000 from a fictional "Thornhill University."
Finally, Dr. Enstrom discovered that several activist members of the CARB Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants have exceeded the legislatively mandated three-year term limits by decades. The suit contends that shortly after Dr. Enstrom revealed this systematic wrongdoing, UCLA not only issued a notice of termination, it denied him any compensation for his work by systematically and wrongfully looting his research fund accounts. Dr. Enstrom worked for more than a year without pay as he in good faith appealed his wrongful termination using UCLA procedures. Ironically enough, the fake "scientist" was only suspended for his misconduct while Dr. Enstrom was terminated for telling the truth.
"If academic freedom means anything, it should permit a professor to challenge bad science and expose scientific misconduct," said French. "Yet UCLA appears more committed to a political agenda than to free and open inquiry." During Dr. Enstrom's internal appeals, UCLA refused to allow him to present his full case and UCLA officials put forward multiple and ever-changing grounds for his dismissal. "How can we have confidence in the findings of environmental health scientists if they allow politics to trump science?" asked French.
The lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in the central district of California in Los Angeles, names the Regents of UC as well as a number of top UCLA officials as defendants. The suit contends the school violated Dr. Enstrom's constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The complaint requests the court to declare that the actions taken by UCLA violated Dr. Enstrom's right to free speech on matters of public concern, along with his due process rights. Further, the suit requests an injunction requiring UCLA to rehire Dr. Enstrom, as well as monetary damages to be determined by a jury.
The lawsuit and exhibits are posted here.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.