- UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran was ordered Friday to stand trial on felony charges of willfully violating state occupational health and safety codes in connection with a fatal laboratory accident four years ago.
- On Dec. 29, 2008, staff research assistant Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji wasn't wearing a protective lab coat when a plastic syringe she was using came undone and spewed t-butyl lithium, which ignites when exposed to air, giving her extensive burns that she died from 18 days later.
- The case is believed to be the first prosecution involving a U.S. academic lab accident, and Harran faces up to 4 1/2 years in prison if convicted.
From the article:
... "We fully expect to vindicate Professor Harran,” his attorney, Thomas O’Brien, said after the hearing. “This was an accident, a tragic accident. We have always maintained that, as the University of California has, and we expect him to be vindicated.” ...