Bikkina v. MahadevanAnnotate this Case
While Bikkina was in a Ph.D. program at the University of Tulsa, Mahadevan, Bikkina’s first dissertation advisor and supervisor, repeatedly charged that Bikkina falsified data in published papers and plagiarized Mahadevan’s work. In each case, the University found no wrong doing by Bikkina, but that Mahadevan had violated the University‘s harassment policies. Bikkina completed his Ph.D. and began working at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Mahadevan contacted Bikkina‘s superiors to state that Bikkina had falsified data, then made a presentation at LBNL and told Bikkina‘s colleagues that Bikkina had published a paper using false data., Bikkina filed a complaint for damages against Mahadevan, who filed an anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure 425.16. Mahadevan argued that Bikkina improperly sought to chill public discourse on carbon sequestration and its impacts on global warming. Mahadevan asserted that his statements concerned important public issues and constituted protected speech. The court of appeal affirmed denial of the motion, finding that Mahadevan had not engated in protected conduct, even if the conduct arose from protected activity, Bikkina’s claims have sufficient merit to survive a motion to strike.