Patrick Harran and district attorney reach deal in #SheriSangji case

From C&EN’s story:

A Los Angeles County judge approved today an agreement between the district attorney’s office and University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick G. Harran to defer prosecution of Harran on four felony charges of violating the state labor code.

The charges in the case stem from a 2008 fire in Harran’s lab that led to the death of research assistant Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji.

Go read it for more details. UCLA posted a version of the settlement agreement here, but some of the term of the agreement changed in court. We’ll post an updated version once we receive it from the district attorney’s office. Update: Here is the copy received from the DA’s office, and I’ve noted the changes made in court on Friday.

The settlement has been a long time in coming.
Dec. 29, 2008: Sangji was burned in the fire
Jan. 16, 2009: Sangji died
May 5, 2009: Cal/OSHA fined UCLA $31,875 for violations relating to the fire
Aug. 3, 2009: C&EN story on details of the incident
Dec. 29, 2011: Charges filed against UC and Harran
July 27, 2012: UC and DA reached settlement (more details of the settlement and implementation)
Sept. 5, 2012: Harran arraigned
November and December, 2012: Testimony heard in Harran’s preliminary hearing
April 26, 2013: Harran ordered to trial
Aug. 26, 2013: A judge denied defense motions to dismiss the case
Oct. 24, 2013: Harran’s attorneys asked the California Court of Appeal to dismiss the case (the DA opposed it)
June 20, 2014: Harran and DA reached settlement

Other coverage, a list that I’ll try to keep updated over the next few days. Feel free to let me know if I’m missing something:
Press releases – UCLA, District Attorney, Harran’s lawyers
News organizations – Los Angeles Times short and long, Toronto Star, Nature, Reuters, Associated Press, Westside Today, Chronicle of Higher Education
Blogs – Chemjobber (+ several more since that first one), Science Careers, ChemBark, Pump Handle, 27 and a PhD, Pasco Phronesis, Doing Good Science

Author: Jyllian Kemsley

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1 Comment

  1. Despite some of my earlier comments I am relieved to see that Prof. Harran has largely had his case set aside. It is my understanding based on heasay comments that the safety attitudes at UCLA Chemistry Department were not up to the standards I would be comfortable with. I think that Dr Harran is in part a victim of those attitudes. I would hope that the current department head at UCLA would immediately institute safety training method similar to those I was given by the Dupont Safety training team hired by one of my employers after a major disastrous accident. That training stood me in good stead for the last 20 years of my working life.

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