University sues for $1 million after custodian turned off research freezer for ‘nuisance’ alarm

(The Hill) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this month sued a cleaning company for $1 million after one of its custodians turned off a lab freezer, ruining years of “potentially groundbreaking” research. It reportedly filed a lawsuit against the dollar. suit.

According to Suits, the custodian was irritated by the alarm from the freezer and turned it off, causing the fragile cellular structure inside to be damaged by the temperature change. The manager’s employer, Daigle Cleaning Systems, is being sued for damages and legal costs.

The University of Troy, New York, alleges that Daigle improperly trained and prepared its janitor to handle fragile lab materials.

The research materials in the freezer were kept at -80 degrees Celsius or -112 degrees Fahrenheit, and the freezer alarm sounded when the internal temperature rose or fell two degrees above that temperature. The alarm went off on September 14, 2020, when freezer maintenance workers were unable to reach the unit due to COVID-19 measures at the time.

The researchers determined the material was safe despite the alarms and locked and marked the freezer until repairs were made the following week. The outlet says, “This freezer is beeping because it is being repaired. Do not move or unplug it. No cleaning is required in this area,” according to the lawsuit.

The janitor tried to help by tripping the circuit breaker and shutting off the freezer. The custodian thought the breaker had tripped, but he was wrong, according to the complaint. The samples were ruined when scientists found the freezer turned off on Sept. 17.

“(Samples) have been compromised, destroyed and rendered irretrievable by more than 20 years of research,” the complaint says.

The lawsuit claims the lost research is worth about $1 million. University sues for $1 million after custodian turned off research freezer for ‘nuisance’ alarm

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