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Grand Forks Herald, January 19, 1992

WOMAN SUES UND PROF, ALLEGING DATA THEFT


Associated Press

A Minot woman has filed a $1 million lawsuit charging a UND professor with stealing information from her doctoral thesis and using it as his own.

Joyce Burr alleges in a suit filed in Northwest District Court that Richard Landry, an education professor at UND, secretly copied computer discs containing research she had done for her doctoral thesis. Burr claims the copying took place while she was in a Minneapolis hospital in 1989.

Burr further alleges that Landry and others conspired to publish her ideas in a master's thesis at the University of Arizona and in a UND publication. Burr is seeking damages of $1,085,000.

The state attorney general's office has moved to dismiss the charges, arguing the suit is barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, meaning the state can't be sued unless the Legislature authorizes it.

The state's motion says it's not clear if action is being brought against Landry in a personal or official capacity, or both, and that the complaint "does not specifically allege the defendant acted outside the scope of his employment or duties."

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the suit refers to Landry in an official capacity only.