X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Atlanta-The Georgia Crime Lab may have botched tests on more than 18,000 blood samples in 2001 and 2002, according to suit filed recently in Fulton County, Ga. Cumming, Ga., resident Richard Kjellsen is the first plaintiff in what lawyers Billy L. Spruell and Douglas W. “Gus” McDonald Jr. hope will become a class action against Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials, alleging that the state suppressed reports that the lab’s blood testing equipment occasionally swapped samples. The lawyers allege that faulty testing by the Agilent Technologies 6850 Headspace Gas Chromatograph, a machine that tests blood samples, caused some guilty parties to go free and some innocent people to be convicted of driving under the influence. The lab uses the machine for a variety of tests, including those for blood alcohol content and illegal drugs. Spruell of Spruell Taylor & Associates, and McDonald of McDonald & Cody, said they intend to seek at least $1,000 per plaintiff, and they have more than 30 potential claimants as of the end of last week. Spruell and McDonald said the class could be as large as 18,000. In addition to damages, they said, they want assurance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that the agency has repaired the toxicology machines, that any cases that may have been affected will be reopened and that the bureau will alert the public if the system malfunctions in the future. At the time of the malfunctions, Spruell said, the lab told no one about the problem. Kjellsen v. Mills, No. 2003CV74538 (Fulton Co., Ga., Super. Ct. Aug. 28, 2003). Spruell and McDonald suspect that the alleged errors may have affected thousands of people whose blood the crime lab tested over two years, but Public Affairs Director John Bankhead of the bureau doubts the problem was even remotely that large. “That lawsuit’s kind of far-fetched,” he said. “It’s based on two isolated incidents.” According to an executive summary of the agency’s internal investigation into problems with the machines, which the Fulton County Daily Report, a sister publication of The National Law Journal, obtained through an open records request, the machines switched blood samples twice: once in October 2000 and again in October 2001. The switches resulted in four flawed reports, which the bureau identified and corrected. The machines have been fixed since, and procedures have been enacted that enable lab workers to catch test problems immediately, according to the report.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.