The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is seeking damages over claims that negligence on the part of a Camden, N.J.-based genetic research firm led to the spoliation of important biochemical samples reserved for finding a cure for the disease.
In a lawsuit filed Oct. 3 in New Jersey federal court, the foundation, spearheaded by actor Michael J. Fox, whose battle with Parkinson’s disease has been well-documented, accuses Coriell Institute for Medical Research of breach of contract and failure to safeguard goods.
The suit says that nonprofit Coriell was paid more than $3 million for its safeguarding services, which required all samples to be kept in a freezer at around “minus 80 degrees Celsius.”
But on March 28, the complaint claims, a Coriell employee found that the freezer door had been left open, “causing many of the biospecimens in the freezer to thaw and all of the biospecimens in the freezer to be compromised” and “no longer useful” to research, leaving the foundation at a financial and professional loss.