Judge's Rulings Pave Way For Trial Of Nevada Professor's Lawsuits

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A federal judge has paved the way for a University of Nevada, Reno professor's two civil rights lawsuits against the university to go to trial.

In his complaints, internationally known animal nutrition researcher Hussein S. Hussein claims UNR retaliated against him after he complained to federal authorities about abuse of university research animals in 2004.

U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan on Thursday denied UNR's
motion for summary judgment in the two combined suits filed by
Hussein.

Last week, Mahan denied Hussein's motion for summary judgment of
UNR's countersuit against the whistleblower.

Unless the orders are appealed, the court now will schedule the suits for trial.

"We waited an enormous amount of time to get this far," Hussein's lawyer, Jeff Dickerson, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "We're looking forward to getting this case in front of a jury, hoperfully before the end of the year."

William A.S. Magrath II, a Reno lawyer representing the university, said his firm hasn't decided whether to appeal Mahan's decision.

Charles Hilsabeck, a UNR staff lawyer associated with the case,
declined to comment.

Before Thursday's ruling, Mahan had thrown out 108 of 240 documents and exhibits submitted by the university in support of its motion, saying they were inadmissible as evidence.

In 2005, a federal investigation concluded that the university mistreated research animals, and the school agreed to pay an $11,400 fine to settle the case.

Hussein, 52, has faced two disciplinary hearings since alleging the complaints about treatment of research animals.

Last week, a hearing officer ruled that Hussein's handling of research funds was negligent, unprofessional and dishonest, but his conduct does not warrant his firing.

At the same time, officer Peter Breen cleared Hussein of a charge of plagiarizing his students' work.

Breen's findings will be sent to a four-member faculty committee, which will make a recommendation to UNR President Milton Glick.

Hussein also faced a disciplinary hearing in 2005 on a charge that he violated university regulations by hiring a Reno veterinarian to examine research pigs he thought were being abused. That charge was later dismissed.
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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-28-08 1250EDT


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