U.S. Government to Pay $1.8 Million in Damages to Wrongly Prosecuted Chinese American Scientist Sherry Chen in Historic Settlement

November 11, 2022

Mary Tablante, Associate Director of Strategic Communications, media@aasforum.org

Washington, D.C.—Attorneys for Chinese American hydrologist Sherry Chen reached a historic settlement Thursday with the U.S. government in two lawsuits that sought accountability for Ms. Chen’s wrongful prosecution and termination from her job in 2014. The settlement is one of the largest paid to an individual plaintiff in Department of Commerce history. Ms. Chen will receive $550,000 from the Commerce Department and an annuity from the government valued at $1.25 million over 10 years.

“This settlement is a tremendous victory not just for Sherry Chen, but for Asian American scientists, researchers, and scholars across the country who have been accused or had to live with suspicion for simply doing their jobs,” said Executive Director Gisela Perez Kusakawa. “We commend Ms. Chen for her spirit and perseverance during an unimaginably painful decade. We also thank and congratulate her attorneys with the ACLU and all the civil rights and community organizations who have supported her over the years. This victory is a reminder of the crucial role of legal professionals on the ground fighting for justice. No one should have to endure what Ms. Chen endured. That’s why we will continue to fight racial profiling, call for accountability, and emphasize that anyone who is facing discrimination is not alone.”

For more information, see the ACLU’s press statement and coverage from MIT Technology Review here.


Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) promotes academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all and represents more than 7,000 scientists, researchers, and scholars in the U.S.. In response to heightened anti-Asian sentiments in the U.S. and increasing profiling of Chinese Americans and immigrants in science, AASF has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of Asian American and immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars.

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