A Bay Area scientist claims in a new lawsuit that her former work for accused fraudster Elizabeth Holmes at Holmes’ defunct blood-testing startup Theranos got her fired from a new job at another biotechnology company.
Nine days after Diana Dupuy of San Mateo told her employer DiaSorin that she’d received a subpoena to testify at Holmes’ upcoming criminal trial about her time at Theranos, the company terminated her, Dupuy claimed in her suit against DiaSorin filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose.
DiaSorin did not respond to a request for comment.
Dupuy, a laboratory scientist, started at DiaSorin in January, according to the wrongful-termination suit. Her job training clients to use DiaSorin’s medical-testing equipment took her to Milpitas, UC Davis, Sonoma County, Las Vegas and Kentucky, and she “received consistent praise and recognition from her direct supervisor and trainers for her job performance” with no negative feedback, the suit said.
This June 18, she received a subpoena from federal prosecutors ordering her to provide testimony in the criminal fraud case against Holmes and former Theranos president Sunny Balwani, the suit said. “Dupuy immediately sent the subpoena to her supervisor” and advised DiaSorin that she would be absent on the dates in the subpoena to testify in federal court in San Jose, the suit claimed. DiaSorin terminated her June 27, the suit alleged.
DiaSorin, headquartered in Italy with offices in the U.S., “was extremely concerned about potential negative publicity arising from a company employee testifying at the Elizabeth Holmes criminal trial because Theranos, the company that Elizabeth Holmes allegedly used to defraud investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars, reportedly used analyzers from defendant DiaSorin … as part of fake and fraudulent testing.”
The suit made reference to the book Bad Blood by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, which details allegations that Holmes and Balwani knew Theranos’ own machines could not accurately conduct all the tests the pair promised.
DiaSorin “did not want its name and Theranos and/or Elizabeth Holmes mentioned in the same news story or in any description of the Elizabeth Holmes criminal trial and therefore terminated … Dupuy in an improper and illegal effort to prevent it from happening,” the suit claimed.
Holmes, a Stanford University dropout who founded Theranos in 2003, is charged with allegedly bilking investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars, and defrauding doctors and patients with false claims that the company’s machines could conduct a full range of tests using just a few drops of blood. She and Balwani have denied the allegations. Her trial is scheduled to start in March.
Dupuy is seeking unspecified compensation and damages, as well as her job back with DiaSorin.