SOURCE: Aigner Clark LLC

June 30, 2011 11:00 ET

The University of Washington Pays $175,000 to Settle Public Records Litigation Involving 2007 Baby Video Study

Raw Data Released Under the Settlement Does Not Match Raw Data Released in 2009; University Blames Computer "Glitches"

Study Dataset Deleted in 2008, Less Than One Year After Publication

DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - Jun 30, 2011) - The University of Washington paid $175,000 and released research data to settle a three-year-old legal dispute arising from a 2007 baby video study it was announced today. The study generated widespread international media attention by claiming Baby Einstein and other baby videos may cause harm.

See settlement agreement (www.CLARKvUW.com/settlement.PDF)

"I recovered $175,000 against legal fees, and the University probably spent twice that in staff time and its own legal fees over the past three years," said William Clark, the plaintiff and co-founder of Baby Einstein. "What a waste."

Under the settlement, the University delivered the raw data needed to reproduce the study in electronic form. Clark compared the electronic version of the raw data with a hardcopy version of raw data he received in 2009 (which had some fields redacted), and discovered the two raw datasets do not match.

"Regardless of format, the two raw datasets should be identical," said Clark. "Even worse, all of the discrepancies I found in my preliminary inspection of the datasets were located in the very heart of the study -- how many words babies understood and could verbalize."

The University attributed the discrepancies between the two datasets to hardware glitches or problems with IBM's SPSS software.

To further complicate a reliable re-analysis, it was discovered during litigation that the principal investigator ordered the study data destroyed in 2008, less than one year after publication and before the study was closed. This may have violated data-retention policies.

See email and policies (www.CLARKvUW.com/081109email.PDF)

"I believe these two data-handling irregularities, plus many other troubling discoveries, place the study's publication in doubt," said Clark. "Frankly, I'm surprised the University hasn't launched an internal investigation."

Clark and his wife, Julie, created Baby Einstein in 1996, and sold the company to Disney in 2001. They have no financial interest in any baby media company. They pursued the public records dispute with University of Washington as a matter of personal and professional reputation. Visit aignerclark.com for more information.

Clark plans to post documents and periodic updates at www.CLARKvUW.com.

Contact Information