Court allows former Georgia Tech professor’s lawsuit to go forward

Joy Laskar, a high-profile professor at Georgia Tech, in 2013. “It has been devastating personally, professionally,” he said of the criminal case against him, which a judge dropped under the statute of limitations. Photo by Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
Joy Laskar, a high-profile professor at Georgia Tech, in 2013. “It has been devastating personally, professionally,” he said of the criminal case against him, which a judge dropped under the statute of limitations. Photo by Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Once tenured professor alleges malicious prosecution

The federal appeals court in Atlanta on Friday revived a lawsuit filed by a former Georgia Tech electrical engineering professor that accused school officials of malicious prosecution.

Joy Laskar, once a tenured professor, filed suit after a Fulton County judge dismissed a racketeering indictment against him before the case went to trial. Laskar had been accused of orchestrating a scheme to steal more than $1 million from Georgia Tech and abusing his position to give his startup company illegal access to the school’s resources.

When he was arrested in 2010, Laskar served as the director of the Georgia Electronic Design Center, a research entity affiliated with Georgia Tech. He strongly denied the allegations and his lawsuit accused Georgia Tech officials of making false claims that the GBI used as a basis for taking out an arrest warrant against him.

In 2016, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney dismissed the charges against Laskar, saying prosecutors brought them too late. Any criminal conduct potentially committed by Laskar occurred outside the statute of limitations, the judge found.

Laskar’s civil suit was filed against two school officials who requested an audit of the electronic design center: Jilda Garton, associate vice provost for research, and Mark Allen, senior vice provost for research and innovation. He also sued chief auditor Phillip Hurd and Patrick Jenkins, a member of his team.

In its 2-1 decision, written by Chief Judge Bill Pryor, the court dismissed Laskar’s malicious prosecution claims against Garton and Allen but allowed those against Hurd and Jenkins to proceed.

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