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Who was monitoring that sperm?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled last week that a class-action lawsuit regarding the possibly negligent destruction of frozen sperm can go forward. Headline writers around the world, like myself, rejoiced.

But there’s a security angle here, which even gets back to my long-time gripe that the mainstream media just refuses to acknowledge the security industry as real and important.

Basically, some guys had their sperm being stored at University of BC when the power went out, there wasn’t any back-up, and the sperm got ruined, possibly making it so these guys, many of them going through chemotherapy and the like, can’t ever have children.

Oops. The university says they’re not liable because the guys signed a piece of paper absolving them. Many of the guys say they never signed anything. The university can’t seem to find the papers anyway. Hence, court.

But they’re suing an alarm company, too, the one whose alarm was supposed to go off should the temperature get too high or the power got cut, and didn’t.

Which security company was it? I have no idea if I’m just reading this story or any of the others, because none of the news articles mentions it. It’s just some security company, like usual. Not even a big enough deal to figure out which company it is - because, you know, they’re all the same.

But, what type of freezer was it? That’s important, right?!?

The triggering event in the case was the freezer failure on May 24, 2002, when the supply of electricity to a Forma Scientific Inc. was interrupted when an inadequate circuit breaker tripped.

The freezer was purchased by UBC in July 1987 and was initially used for kidney research. In 1993, it was transferred to the Andrology Lab at the Koerner Pavilion at UBC Hospital. It remained there until Feb. 22, 2001, when it was moved to the lab’s new location at Vancouver General Hospital.

So, not only do I know what brand of freezer it was, but I even know the whole Carfax-style history of the thing. Wait a second: It was used once for kidney research until 1993!?! That has a huge bearing in this case! Kidneys in storage often degrade the electrical system, causing crazy blackouts in entire cities! This is negligence of the highest order! And then it was in Koerner Pavilion? Everyone knows that place is staffed by sperm-hating superheroes that can cause blackouts with the twitch of an eyebrow! Negligence!

What security company maybe screwed up, though? Eh, who cares?

(By the way, this story is even shorter, with no mention of the security company either, but has great comments. My favorite is at the top as of this linking: “I’m glad these people won’t be able to have children in the future. They would have just raise more children who sue sue sue everybody for everything.” Yeah, they should just take the loss of the ability to have children of their own like men! Go drink some whiskey and smoke a cigar and have sex with a hooker or something and stop crying about your stupid potential non-children! I love that Canada has people as crazy as America. Sometimes I worry they’re much nicer than we are, but they’re not really. It’s just that no one really pays any attention to them, so they come off as though they’re nice. It’s like mean nerds. Everyone assumes because they’re nerds they must be nice, but they’re actually often very mean.)

But it’s not like it’s hard to find out which security company it is. A very simple search of the courts system turned up the case here.

And it turns out it was Moore Security that was in charge of monitoring the sperm. The claims seem kind of damning:

Moore Security Systems (“Moore Security”) was retained in January 2002 to install and monitor the security alarm system for the freezer. Moore Security’s alarm system was intended to create an alarm in the event of a power interruption to the freezer or in the event of an increase in the freezer’s internal temperature. Caltech Tech Services was retained by Moore Security to assist with the alarm system installation and to provide technical advice to Moore Security regarding the freezer system. The alarm system was not connected to an internal “Performance Monitor System” in the freezer, nor was a relay included in the Moore Security alarm system. As a result of these or other shortcomings in the system, no alarm was sounded when the power supply to the freezer was interrupted.

There’s also mention of an Arpel Security Systems as a defendant, but I can’t find out how they were involved. Maybe they bought the monitoring contract?

And check out what happens when you Google “Moore Security”: There’s a bunch of them. One in Louisville, Kentucky; one in Chicago; one in Tuscon, Arizona; one in Austin, Texas; one on Cape Cod; one in Walpole, Mass.; even one in Moore, Montana (didn’t see that one coming…).

I’m pretty sure the one named is the one in Burnaby, Canada, though. I can’t find a web site for them, but I can find the LinkedIn profile for the company owner and president, who’s named in the lawsuit. Maybe an enterprising reporter could send him a LinkedIn message and see what his side of the story is…