Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In case you thought that UCLA thinks it lost

PAUL HASTINGS OBTAINS FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND RESOLUTION IN UCLA CRIMINAL PROSECUTION 
Monday, June 23, 2014 
Los Angeles - Paul Hastings LLP, a leading global law firm, obtained a first-of-its-kind deferred prosecution agreement on behalf of firm client Dr. Patrick Harran, a UCLA biochemistry professor who faced four felony criminal counts arising out of a tragic laboratory accident on campus in 2008.  Under the terms of the Agreement, Professor Harran will devise and teach a summer chemistry course for underprivileged youth and perform other community service over a period of five years.  
Unlike standard deferred prosecution agreements, which require the accused to plead guilty or no contest to the charges before a probationary period begins, Professor Harran was not required to enter a plea to any criminal charge.  So long as no material safety violations occur in his laboratory during the course of his community service obligations, the charges against Professor Harran will be dismissed with prejudice. 
The case is believed to be the first-ever prosecution of a professor arising out of an incident in an academic laboratory; and the settlement highlights Paul Hastings innovative handling of the case...
Couldn't be more clear if they made themselves a trophy and threw a parade. Should be noted that this is a press release, so they're going to be triumphal, even if they got just an eighth of a loaf. (I'm pretty sure they got a lot more than that.)

Note that they say "the syringe she was using malfunctioned." That is an unsupported assertion. 

15 comments:

  1. Bring the MoviesJune 24, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Maybe the family will launch a civil case against Harran. That worked on OJ.

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    1. I certainly hope so. $10,000 is a sick joke. For a guy that makes $300,000 per year, any fine that doesn't have at least one more zero is pocket change. Heck, I don't even make close to half that, and $10,000 would merely be an annoyance. Boo-hoo, I'd have to skip one big vacation or wait a couple years before upgrading the kitchen.


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    2. Neal Langerman (a safety consultant that has been involved with/commented on the case) mentioned on Twitter that 4 plaintiff's firms did turned down civil litigation. Whether that was on behalf of OSHA or the Sangji family is unknown to me.

      Jyllian Kemsley has noted (also on Twitter) that she believes the statute of limitations has passed for a civil lawsuit.

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  2. Revolting behavior on the part of the lawyers. I hope the DA sees this and arranges for a few extra surprise inspections.

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    1. Bunny on Nite ShiftJune 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      "Revolting" is a great descriptor. Sickening, depressing - words fail me.

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  3. This is pretty sickening.

    I can't say I read a lot of law firm press releases – is this par for the course? Presumably they would trumpet any 'unusual' case they win, or anything where it seems that the defendant 'got away with it'?

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    1. I don't think this is at all par for the course and I find it pretty shocking. I am a lawyer, but I don't make a habit of reading these things either though...

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  4. Perhaps Paul Hastings LLP could sue the manufacturer of the defective syringe.

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  5. This is why lawyers are so hated! As a former big pharma patent type, I am seriously thinking about sending this revolting piece of self promotion to the ethics committees of various state bars for jurisdictions that Paul Hastings in active in (DC comes to mind as they are very strict)...

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  6. #marketing,bitches
    I like this law firm. They are the good guys as opposed to the prosecution "someone died, it has to be someone's fault except the person that made the mistake"

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  7. Isn't the statement 'the syringe malfunctioned' coming close to saying that Harran did not have full responsibility for the conditions in the lab? The press release gives the impression that the fire was due to the syringe not performing as it should be, as if it were partly the fault of the syringe manufacturer that the fire occurred, and not attributable to the lack of training and supervision that Sherri Sangi had. The agreement that Harran has with the court is that he not make statements that contradict his taking responsibility for the conditions in the lab on the day of the fire. I believe this also applies to the law firm that represents him, in regards to statements that they make with respect to this case.
    I would write an email to Harran's lawyer O'Brian and point this out, but I deal with legal matters sometimes at work (though I'm not a lawyer), and I need to be careful not to embroil myself in something such as this. But if I were self-employed or retired, I'd have already fired off a strongly worded email to O'Brian, and one to the judge and the LA district attorney's office, as well.

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  8. Another reason for me to hate the justice system and lawyers. If you are rich, powerful and have a reputation; it is very unlikely that you will lose a case.

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  9. I wonder what the outcome would be if she were an American.

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