The city of Philadelphia is attempting to shift the focus toward the University in a lawsuit alleging that both the University and the city performed radiation experiments on prisoners in 1967. The city and the University were named as co-defendants, along with Holmesburg Prison, in a complaint filed last September in U.S. District Court by Edward Farrington. Farrington is a former inmate of the prison and claims that the University and the city performed radiation experiments on him there 23 years ago. He is claiming that the experiments caused him to contract leukemia. He is seeking $1 million in compensation and $5 million in punitive damages. In its response to the claims, filed last week, the city also filed a cross-claim against the University. In this procedure, which is standard in multi-defendant lawsuits, one party enters its own claim contending that another defendant is solely responsible. This allows the court to sort out which of the multiple defendants should take responsibility in the lawsuit and which will be responsible for paying any damages. In filing the response, the city denied any knowledge of the experiments and claimed it was not responsible. According to the cross-claim, the University is solely responsible for the charges. The response did not include any references to Holmesburg Prison. Sena Galen, an attorney for the University, and Randall Simmons, the city's attorney, could not be reached for comment. The University has not yet issued a response to Farrington's claim, instead filing a motion asking that the court order Farrington to issue a more specific response. Both the city and the University have complained that Farrington's complaint is too vague. It does not outline exactly how or when the alleged experiments took place and also fails to name specific researchers. Farrington, who is now a prisoner in the State Correctional Institution at Huntington, filed the complaint without the help of a lawyer. The city did not directly address Farrington's claims in its response. Instead its attorneys alleged that Farrington's original suit does not assert any facts, only conclusions, which do not require responses. The city's response also states that the city cannot be held negligent, since it is a government agency and therefore has immunity under the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. The University, in a motion filed November 13, asked the court to demand that Farrington reveal the dates that the experiments took place, the "means by which [the University] allegedly administrated and carried out the alleged medical experiments," and the name of "the department, school, and/or individual(s)" who performed the experiments. Earlier this month, Associate General Counsel Neil Hamburg said that the University was considering filing the motion because it is unclear in Farrington's suit what research he is referring to.Comments powered by Disqus
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