An employee turned off a lab refrigerator and bungled an investigation that had lasted more than 20 years

June 28, 2023 – 1:07 PM

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York filed a lawsuit a few days ago against a cleaning company due to an unprecedented situation, which occurred in November 2020. The conflict arose when a cleaning worker unplugged the refrigerator due to a “disturbing” noise that came from her, without knowing that that was ending an innovative investigation It has been going on for over 20 years.

The institute in question had hired Daigle Cleaning Systems Inc. to clean the lab in the Cogswell Building in August 2000. According to the lawsuit, the freezer temperature was minus 80 degrees.

“A simple temperature fluctuation of three degrees would cause catastrophic damage and many cell cultures and samples could be lost,” the scientists explained in the court application.

argued Michael Ginsberg, an attorney for the institute NBC News that employee Joseph Herrington heard “disturbing alarms” coming from the machine.

The incident report mentioned in the lawsuit stated that “the action taken by Herrington was an error in his reading of the committee.” “In fact, he moved the switches from the ‘on’ position to the ‘off’ position around 8:30 p.m. At the end of the interview, he still didn’t seem to think he did anything wrong, because he was just trying to help.”

The end of an innovative business that took more than 20 years

The lawyer wrote about the work of Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology K.V.

To prevent such incidents, Lakshmi’s team has installed a number of safeguards, including installing a safety box on the outlet and freezer plug.

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Allegedly, Herrington sensed the switches were off and worked to get them to work. When the investigation crew arrived the next day, they found that the freezer had been switched off and the temperature had risen dramatically to minus 32 degrees.

They explained that “most of the specimens have been compromised, destroyed and rendered unsalvageable through the demolition of more than 20 years of research”.

Herrington is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, only the employer: “The defendant failed to adequately train Herrington,” the tester denounced.

The lawsuit called Lakshmi’s work “groundbreaking” and Ginsberg described it as “converting solar energy into photovoltaic building systems, capturing it and converting it into usable energy.”

Although no exact amount of money was requested for damages, it turned out that the value lost ranged from $1 million.

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