Family launches $20M lawsuit over S.F. researcher’s death 

The family of the researcher who died last year after being exposed to bacteria at the San Francisco Veterans Memorial Hospital is seeking damages in excess of $20 million.

Richard Din, a 25-year-old employee of the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, contracted the rare Neisseria meningitidis in April 2012 while working to develop a vaccine for the strand of the disease.

In February, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found three serious violations when investigating the hospital in connection with the incident.

Among the violations were that Din and other employees were not required to work in enclosed ventilation spaces, employees were not trained to notice the signs and symptoms of the diseases they were researching, and employees were not provided with vaccines.

The wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, UC San Francisco and supervisors on Din’s shift claims there was a “conscious disregard for rights and safety of others.” The suit was filed last month in U.S. District Court by Din’s brother. UCSF employees run the lab where Din was working.

The lawsuit seeks damages from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and UC regents in the amount of $10 million each, along with unspecified damages from those working the day Din came in contact with the deadly bacteria.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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