ACLJ Helps California Whistleblower Restore Reputation

Former UCLA Researcher Wins Settlement in suit alleging Violations of Academic Freedom

Dr. James Enstrom obtained an important victory this week in his federal lawsuit against UCLA officials. In 2012, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed suit on Enstrom’s behalf after he was abruptly fired from his position as a researcher at the UCLA School of Public Health. The case ended yesterday with finalization of a settlement in which the University of California (UC) Regents agreed to restore Enstrom’s title as “Retired Researcher” and award him $140,000 in damages.

Following 34 years as a researcher and academic at UCLA, Enstrom found himself unemployed after challenging faulty science and unnecessary diesel regulations approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). He also publicly exposed fraudulent credentials of a lead author on the CARB report and the unlawful tenure of members of CARB’s Scientific Review Panel, which included one of his UCLA colleagues. After his controversial findings became public, Enstrom’s long-time appointment as a UCLA researcher was terminated.

“This is a victory for Dr. Enstrom and a great one at that. But it is also a win for more than just him in particular,” said David French, ACLJ senior counsel. “His willingness to uphold truthful research and science is a win for academic freedom.”

Enstrom says the settlement is particularly important to demonstrate that UCLA and UC Regents cannot suppress a politically incorrect scientific dissenter. He adds that the timing of the settlement in this case could not be better because the scientific issue underlying the lawsuit is now being addressed by the U.S. Congress as the Secret Science Reform Act, H.R. 1030.

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington.