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Lab Fire Settlement

A settlement has been reached in the case surrounding the 2008 lab fire at the University of California, Los Angeles, that claimed the life of Sheharbano Sangji, a research assistant in the lab of chemistry professor Patrick Harran, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Harran was charged with four felony counts related to occupational health and safety standard violations in the incident, and faced up to four and a half years in prison if convicted.

In late 2008, a syringe Sangji was using to transfer tert-Butyllithium, which can ignite when it comes into contact with air, broke. Sangji was not wearing a flame-retardant lab coat, and her polyester sweater caught fire. She died 18 days later.

Prosecutors had contended that Harran did not provide Sangji with the proper training nor required the use of protective equipment.

Under the terms of the agreement, Harran is to pay $10,000 to the Grossman Burn Center and perform community service, the LA Times says. Reuters adds that he will teach summer chemistry classes to inner-city high school students and perform 800 hours of service at a UCLA hospital.

Harran admitted no wrongdoing.

According to the Associated Press, Sangji's brother and sister opposed the settlement and said in a written statement that it was "barely a slap on the wrist."

The UC regents were also initially charged with workplace violations, but that case was dropped after they agreed to put certain safety measures into place and establish a $500,000 scholarship in Sangji's name.

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