Included in the summary is Mr. Baudendistel's comments on the interactions that the postdoc assigned to Ms. Sangji had with her, regarding safety. Friends/readers, would your mentorship relationships survive such scrutiny, with regards to chemical safety?
If you want to get into the inside baseball of the legal maneuvering, there's a little bit after the jump:
The defense revealed a little more of their strategy with their questions on the differences between industry and academia. They also went on an interesting little tangent about the qualifications of Professor Harran and Ms. Sangji:
O’Brien: Mr. Baudendistel did you read any of the articles published by Professor Harran?
O’Brien: Is it safe to say you don’t have a deep technical understanding of the type of work that Dr. Harran does?
Baudendistel: I think it’s very safe to say that.
O’Brien: Very safe. I join you in that, sir. You understand that Professor Harran joined the faculty you said in the summer of 2008, the inaugural Donald J. Cram chair?
O’Brien: You realize that the professor was recruited by UCLA? In other words, UCLA approached the professor and not the other way around?
Baudendistel: I believe that’s correct.
O’Brien: Can you tell us what the Donald J. Cram chair is?
Baudendistel: I just know that it’s an endowed chair. I don’t know much about it.
O’Brien: Do you know who Donald J. Cram was?
Baudendistel: I believe he was a… I think he was a Nobel prize-winning chemist.
O’Brien: At UCLA?
Baudendistel: I think so.
O’Brien: You realize that the purpose of the chair was to locate one of the most outstanding organic chemists in the world…
Hum: I’m going to object at this point, I think that lauding Dr. Harran has gone on long enough, this is [unintelligible] .
Judge Lisa B. Lench: Just the legal objection, Mr. Hum. Objection sustained.
O’Brien then turned to Sangji’s qualifications as a chemist, referring first to her resume and Pomona College transcript. Baudendistel said that Sangji spent three summers doing lab research, besides the normal chemistry curriculum at Pomona. O’Brien then started to ask Baudendistel to go through the lab classes on Sangji’s transcript. Hum objected several times as to relevance, with O’Brien arguing that it addressed the question of training. Judge Lench asked O’Brien whether he could do so solely by listing classes and not discussing what went on in the classes. Lench let O’Brien go through the transcript for a bit but eventually commented, “Going class by class and grade by grade isn’t, I don’t think, going to get you to where you want to go.”
O’Brien moved on to asking Baudendistel briefly about Sangji’s senior thesis and a recommendation letter from her Pomona adviser to Harran. O’Brien used Pomona student personnel records to establish that Sangji worked as an organic chemistry tutor and in the stockroom. O’Brien had just gotten to the two papers on which Sangji is an author when the judge decided to break.Again, I don't really understand the defense strategy here. Is the tack that Mr. O'Brien taking that Professor Harran is really well-qualified and therefore would not have neglected basic laboratory safety? Also, it's fairly apparent that Mr. O'Brien is attempting to snow the judge into thinking that Ms. Sangji's undergraduate training would have been enough to equip her with enough to work with tBuLi, which is an interesting and common belief (and wrong, in my opinion.)
Readers, what say you?