Nick Roumel and Ned Macey represent Dr. Fazlul Sarkar, a Wayne State cancer researcher, who has filed suit against anonymous persons who have taken to the internet – and beyond – in an effort to destroy Dr. Sarkar’s career. They have falsely accused him of research misconduct on an anonymous website, sabotaged a tenured job with the University of Mississippi, and forged documents alleging that Dr. Sarkar was subject to a US Senate investigation. In order to learn the identity of the defendant or defendants, Dr. Sarkar has subpoenaed the website they post on, “PubPeer.” PubPeer is fighting the subpoena and claiming that First Amendment privilege prevents them from releasing information to the plaintiff that will permit him to pursue his lawsuit.
This case tests the outer limits of the First Amendment, against the right of an injured litigant to pursue justice against those who are hell bent on destroying his career. The case has garnered international attention in the scientific journal community and is a subject of considerable debate. Motions are pending in Wayne County Circuit Court that will determine whether Dr. Sarkar may proceed with his suit.