A janitor accidentally destroyed more than two decades of scientific research in New York, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a private research university. The lawsuit explains that there was 1 million dollars worth of cell cultures, samples, and other research.
The Institute sued Daigle Cleaning Systems Inc., the company that contracted the janitor, and requested the payout of at least $1 million dollars in damages, in addition to interest and any other compensatory damages. The lawsuit was filed in the Rensselaer County Supreme Court in New York and it affirmed that the research could have potentially been “groundbreaking.”
According to reports, Joseph Harrington was in charge of cleaning the RPI’s Cogwell Building in September, 2020. However, he accidentally turned off the freezer of a laboratory, after its alarm started making “annoying sounds.” Unfortunately, it stored cell cultures and research samples that had to be preserved at -112 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature increased to -108 degrees or fell to -115.6 degrees, the damage to the scientific work was set to be inevitable.
As the alarm of the area activated, Harrington switched off the circuit breakers to stop the sound in the building. As a result, the freezer was turned off and the temperature of the contained research dropped dramatically to the point where it was severely damaged. The man tried to help, but he accidentally cut off the electricity supply to the freezer in an “error in his reading of the panel.”
Michael E. Ginsberg, a lawyer for the RPI stated that it was an accident and that the janitor did not have any ill intentions. Reportedly, he thought he was not doing anything wrong, but he was only attempting to help. In the statement, the university blamed Daigle Cleaning Systems Inc. for not training its employee properly.