Dr Judy Mikovits was responsible for a contentious study suggesting that a virus could be the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, otherwise known as myalgic encephalitis (ME).

According to a report in The Independent, she is due to appear before the Ventura County Superior Court on Tuesday to answer false allegations that she removed notebooks and other proprietary information from her former employer, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Diseases in Reno, Nevada.

Mikovits has fiercely denied the allegations, which stem from a lawsuit filed against her earlier this month by the Whittemore Peterson Institute, her lawyers said.

The institute declared breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets following Mikovits's dismissal on 29 September.

In 2007, the institute was established to study ME and other rare neurological-type diseases by wealthy U.S. sponsors Anne and Harvey Whittemore, whose adult daughter suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Two years ago, Mikovits co-authored a key scientific study published in the journal Science implying that ME was linked to a virus found in mice, called murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV).

However, later attempts to reproduce the findings by other researchers failed to find any association with chronic fatigue syndrome.