Well, if we're simply looking at imaginative speculation about possibilities, I could think of some (without venturing any opinion about their likelihood). One, Dr Mikovits doesn't have the materials and the lawsuit is meant to discredit her and/or impugn her integrity (that could influence the NIH decision about who the grant money goes to). Two, Dr Mikovits doesn't have the materials and unknown parties with access to the lab took them. Three, Dr Mikovits does have them and there's information on them she doesn't want made public, or fears would be used against her. Four, Dr Mikovits does have them and there's information on them the WPI doesn't want made public, and that Dr Mikovits feels she needs for leverage. Five, Dr Mikovits does have them and thinks that she needs the data on them to protect her professional reputation (e.i., to prove her theories and assertions). Although in that case, a copy might do. Six, Dr Mikovits does have them and believes that they are her intellectual property and that the WPI has no right to them. In which case, her lawyer probably wouldn't have sent that letter denying she has them. Seven, Dr Mikovits does have them and hopes to be able to use the data in the future to continue her research, either on her own or in someone else's lab, so she doesn't want the WPI to have access to them. Eight, Dr Mikovits does (or did) have them and is afraid that if she returns them she would be accused of wrongdoing for taking them in the first place, and thinks that if she doesn't return them it will be hard to prove that she took them. Nine, neither Dr Mikovits nor anyone at the WPI took them. There really is a big, well-funded, multinational conspiracy to conceal the truth about retroviruses and/or ME/CFS, and their thugs got the notebooks (or bribed an underpaid lab tech to steal them). I really don't think this is a likely scenario, but it would play well in the movie version of this drama. But the truth is that no one except the parties directly involved knows what really happened. At this point, we can speculate 'til the cows come home, and I don't see that it gets us anywhere. It's more like guessing what's going to happen in the next episode of your favorite HBO drama, except there are real people's lives and reputations at stake. Besides which, every time an ME/CFS researcher has their reputation trashed, it is used to cast doubt upon the disease itself, besides discouraging new researchers from entering the field.