A former Holmesburg County Prison inmate filed a $6 million suit against the University and other defendants last week, charging he developed leukemia as a result of University-conducted radiation research at the prison in 1967. In his hand-written complaint, Edward Farrington, 54, says he was "enticed" into participating in an experiment in which researchers studying radiation injected him with radioactive material. Shelley Green, the University's general counsel, declined to comment yesterday, saying the University has not yet received a copy of the complaint, which was filed in Federal District Court. Vice Provost for Research Barry Cooperman said yesterday that no information was available on the research to which Farrington referred, and several officials were unable to confirm if the experiment actually took place. In his suit, Farrington alleges that he was assured that the experiments would not have any short- or long-term effects. He charges that University and prison officials had prior knowledge of the damage that the injections would cause but did not allow him "informed consent." His suit claims that the research involved the injections of radioactive material at seven spots on his arms and back. The injections were marked with permanent tatoos and examined with a geiger counter over a period of weeks, Farrington says. The suit names only the institutions and not any individuals. An official of the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon, where Farrington is currently serving eight to 20 years for aggravated robbery, burglary, and carrying a firearm on a public street, said that Farrington could not be reached. Farrington's current jail term is unrelated to the term he was serving in 1967. His prison records for 1967 were not available. Farrington filed the suit without an attorney and has requested a court-appointed attorney. Farrington is seeking $5 million in punitive damages in addition to $1 million in compensatory damages. The City of Philadelphia and Holmesburg County Prison were also named as defendants in the case. Elaine West, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia City Solicitor's Office, said that the city has also not received its copy of the complaint and therefore could not comment. A Holmesberg Prison spokesperson, Lieutenant Darrel Anderson, said that although the penitentiary had been issued the complaint yesterday, it is the facility's policy not to comment on pending suits. The case was originally filed September 19 but was delayed because it was assigned to Federal District Court Judge Norma Shapiro. Another judge had to hear the case because Shapiro informed the court clerk that she is a member of the Board of Overseers of the University's Law School and is therefore considered a University Trustee.Comments powered by Disqus
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