UCLA's legal fees in fatal lab fire case neared $4.5 million

Records reveal UCLA paid nearly $4.5 million to fight charges against a chemistry professor in lab fire case.

After UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran walked out of court in June, his lawyers issued a news release hailing the "first-of-its-kind" deal that all but freed him from criminal liability in a 2008 lab fire that killed a staff researcher.

The "deferred prosecution agreement" that allowed Harran to avoid pleading guilty or no-contest to any charge might have been a novel resolution, as his attorneys said.

Charges against UC were dropped in July 2012 when the regents agreed to follow comprehensive safety measures and endow a $500,000 scholarship in Sangji's name. UCLA said it has since spent $20 million on enhancing lab safety.

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Source: Los Angeles Times