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Charges Dismissed Against Professor Over Lab Fire
WESTWOOD— On Tuesday, September 11, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that criminal charges against UCLA professor Patrick Harran were dismissed in the death of a laboratory assistant during a fire. On December 29, 2008, a lab accident led to the death of 23-year-old Sheri Sangji, who died as a result of a plastic syringe breaking down in her hands while she was transferring t-butyl lithium. The syringe discharged a chemical compound that ignites when exposed to oxygen which caused her synthetic sweater to catch fire. Complications from the second and third degree burns led to her death two weeks later.

UCLA took responsibility for the state of the laboratory where the accident occurred, Harran, her chemistry professor, was charged along with the regents on three counts of willfully breaching occupational health and safety requirements. In 2014,  in a statement to the court, Harran said that he was “ultimately responsible for the safety of personnel in my laboratory.”

Signaling their support for Harran, UCLA stated that it was Sangji’s choice not to wear the lab coat that could have protected her from.

UCLA and Harran’s lawyer, Thomas O’Brien said, “While we all wish this terrible tragedy had not occurred, there is simply no reasonable explanation for this criminal prosecution-and it’s been flawed from the start.” His lawyers stated that he did not break any laws because it was UCLA that was Sangji’s employer, not Harran.

The felony charges were dropped in 2012 after University of California regents promised to increase safety training and create an environmental law scholarship in the victim’s name. A deferred-prosecution agreement was reached in 2014, requiring Harran to volunteer for 800 hours, pay $10,000 to the Grossman Burn Center, and develop and teach a course for organic chemistry to prepare high school students for organic chemistry at the collegiate level. He spoke with incoming students about the importance of laboratory safety.

The agreement was due to end next June, but Judge George Lomeli of the Los Angeles Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, September 13 that Harran fulfilled the terms and dismissed the case against him nine months earlier. While Sangji’s family disapproves of the early dismissal, Harran continues to teach at UCLA.
us_CA  laboratory  follow-up  death  butyllithium  illegal 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Three including owner fall into pickle factory tank, die
Incident happened while the tank was being cleaned
A man, his son and a worker at a pickle factory died after they fell into a tank filled with preservatives at the unit in Ghaziabad’s Loni, the police said on Sunday.
Illegal factory
The deceased have been identified as Luvkush (60), Praveen (35) and Ram Dubey (46). The police said that Luvkush was running the factory in Tronica City illegally. All of them were residents of Delhi. The incident happened when the tank was being cleaned.
A senior police officer said that the police reached the spot after they received an information on Sunday morning that several persons had died in a factory after they fell into a tank filled with preservative chemicals.
Teams of National Disaster Response Force and Uttar Pradesh Fire Department reached the spot.
There was a tank-like structure at the unit where they used to process vegetables and chemicals to make pickles, the police said. The unit was running in the basement of Luvkush’s house. He had created it to dilute pickles in it. There was chemical poured inside the tank.
India  industrial  release  death  other_chemical  illegal 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Police: Westport Man Sprayed Oily Toxins on Neighbor’s Yard
Officers arrested a Westport man for spraying a toxic chemical onto a neighbor’s backyard and vegetable garden, causing more than $12,000 in damage, police said today.

John Borg, 48, of 5 Sterling Drive, was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and criminal trespass upon his arrest Wednesday at his residence, police said.

According to the police report, the incident dates back to the evening of July 13 when officers were dispatched to a Westport residence on a report of chemicals that had been sprayed on the victim’s backyard garden area from over her property’s fence line.

“The victim arrived home and smelled the strong odor of a chemical on her property,” Lt. Jillian Cabana said. “An oily film was observed on her garden plants and her vegetable garden plants. In addition, two portions of her wooden fence were damaged.”
us_CT  public  release  response  illegal  petroleum  toxics 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Charges dropped against UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran for death of Sheri Sangji after lab fire
Los Angeles County judge has dismissed criminal charges against University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick G. Harran. The charges stem from the death nearly 10 years ago of staff researcher Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji after she was burned in a fire in Harran’s lab.

Harran faced four felony charges of violating the California labor code relating to the fatal fire. In 2014, before the case went to trial, Harran reached a settlement agreement with the district attorney’s office to drop the charges after five years if he met a set of conditions.
On Sept. 6, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli, who approved the original deal, granted a request by Harran’s attorney to dismiss the case nine months before the agreement was set to end. Prosecutors objected. Nevertheless, “Lomeli determined that Harran had satisfied all of the terms and conditions of the five-year deferred prosecution agreement,” says district attorney’s office spokesperson Greg Risling.
us_CA  laboratory  follow-up  death  other_chemical  illegal 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Charges Dropped Against UCLA Professor In Deadly Lab Fire
LOS ANGELES, CA — Criminal charges stemming from a 2008 laboratory fire that killed a research assistant were dismissed against a UCLA chemistry professor last week, nine months earlier than expected and over the objection of prosecutors, the District Attorney's Office confirmed Tuesday.

Patrick Harran entered into a five-year deferred-prosecution agreement with the District Attorney's Office in 2014. Under the agreement, Harran was ordered to meet a series of requirements, including 800 hours of non- teaching community service at the UCLA Hospital System/UCLA Health Services.

Although that agreement was not scheduled to end until next June, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli ruled during a hearing last Thursday that Harran had already met all the terms of the agreement, and he dismissed the criminal case against him, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Greg Risling, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said prosecutors objected to the dismissal, which was granted "nine months earlier when the case was set to be dismissed."

Harran, who still works at UCLA, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
us_CA  laboratory  follow-up  death  illegal 
5 weeks ago by dchas
2 charged in North County drug-lab explosion
SAN DIEGO — Two men were charged Wednesday with a slate of narcotics and weapons charges in connection with a drug-lab explosion that set a northern San Diego County home ablaze last spring.

Gregory Allen Amos, 23, and 34-year-old Christopher Paul Hernandez allegedly were using butane to extract hash oil from marijuana in a house in the 1200 block of Barbara Drive in Vista when the blast occurred about 10:45 a.m. March 27, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Deputies and firefighters arrived to find a glass door blown out on a second-floor balcony of the burning residence and dozens of cans of butane strewn on the driveway, the court document states.
us_CA  public  explosion  response  butane  illegal  clandestine_lab 
6 weeks ago by dchas
Arkema Wants Harvey Chemical Suit Paused For Criminal Trial
Arkema Inc. and its CEO asked a Texas federal court to temporarily halt a civil case brought by first responders and residents who claimed they were harmed by the release of chemicals during Hurricane Harvey, saying that it should not proceed at the same time as a similar criminal case.

Arkema CEO Richard Rowe and the company said Wednesday that an early August indictment by a Texas grand jury included nearly identical allegations as those contained in the civil case.
us_TX  public  follow-up  environmental  other_chemical  illegal 
6 weeks ago by dchas
15 treated after pepper spray released on Kahului-bound flight
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
An apparent accidental release of pepper spray mid-way through a flight from Oakland to Kahului on Friday sent a number of passengers into coughing fits and forced those in the front section of the cabin to leave their seats for more than half an hour, Hawaiian Airlines and passengers said.

Hawaiian Airlines said 12 passengers and three flight attendants were treated for respiratory issues after the plane landed at Kahului Airport at 10:37 a.m. They have all been released.

Maui police and the TSA are investigating the incident, and the passenger who brought the pepper spray on board could face civil penalties of up to $13,000. Pepper spray is not allowed to be carried on planes, though it is permitted in checked baggage.
us_HI  transportation  release  injury  illegal  pepper_spray 
6 weeks ago by dchas
Florida Man Spills 10,000 Pounds of Cooking Oil Causing Environmental Nightmare
( -- August 28, 2018) --A 50 year old man was arrested on Tuesday after he confessed to the police that he was responsible for dumping over 10,000 pounds of used cooking oil in a vacant lot in Davenport, Florida. The result was a huge mess that accumulated in the empty lot near Sand Mine Road and U.S. Highway 27. According to county authorities and ACT Environmental, the company which assisted with the cleanup, the spill was the largest ever recorded in Polk County.

Polk County Fire Rescue/Hazmat, ACT Environmental, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Hazmat Teams responded to the disaster. According to Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd, Hazmat tested the sludge and determined it was not hazardous to the public.

Investigators traced the spill back to a pump truck that was discovered in close proximity to the scene. Agricultural Crimes detectives arrested the truck operator, Peter Rodriguez, charging him with two counts of commercial dumping.

Rodriguez admitted that he dumped the oil but explained that he was forced to do it, otherwise he claimed that he would have lost his job working for Brownies Septic and Plumbing. The company is, however, strongly denying this claim. Company representatives explained that the used cooking oil is regularly picked up and disposed of in Orlando, Florida where it is later sold and used for other purposes. As such, there was no reason for Rodriguez to dump it in the lot.

Rodriguez has been released from jail on a $2,000 bond.
us_fl  public  release  response  illegal  waste_oil 
7 weeks ago by dchas

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