The Leadership Council's response to the Settlement OF Taus' suit against Loftus
Nicole Taus settled her lawsuit against Elizabeth Loftus, PhD. The Leadership Council got involved in this case because we were concerned with the Taus’ claims that Loftus misrepresented herself as a colleague of Dr. Corwin, a trusted physician Taus had known since childhood, in order to gain access to private information about her mental health. If what Taus claims is true, such conduct would violate ethical codes for researchers and undermine the public trust in participating in scientific research studies.
Our main concern is to uphold the integrity of psychological science. We wrote a brief in support of Taus because of our concern that the public is at risk when ethical codes for human subject research are not followed. Legitimate scientific research does not depend on subterfuge or fraud to gather data. Misrepresenting one’s position to gather personal information, as alleged in the lawsuit, is a serious violation of the ethical norms of scientific conduct. Although, Loftus did not admit any wrong-doing, we believe that the fact that the suit survived multiple legal challenges will serve to strength the privacy rights of victims of abuse and violence. As such, the resolution of the case can be viewed as a victory for both victimized populations and those professionals who seek to learn from them.