UCLA legal fees neared $4.5M in lab fire case

AP News
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 12:10 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Records show the University of California, Los Angeles paid nearly $4.5 million in legal fees to fight criminal charges against a chemistry professor in a case involving a fatal laboratory fire.

Documents cited by the Los Angeles Times on Thursday (http://lat.ms/1wcpF9d ) reveal that nearly five dozen defense attorneys, paralegals and others billed for work on Patrick Harran's case. One attorney charged nearly $800,000 in fees.

UCLA said in a statement Wednesday that the expense from its public funds was justified in order to defend the school and its faculty member.

Harran settled with prosecutors in June by agreeing to teach high school students, perform community service and pay a $10,000 fine.

He had been charged with three felony counts in the 2008 death of lab assistant Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com