Judge Orders Cambridge Lab to Halt Nerve Gas Research Despite Appeals

Cambridge Mass

A state Superior Court judge last week upheld a disputed city ordinance that forced a local research laboratory to has it testing of nerve gas agents.

Judge Robert J. Hallisey refused to grant the Arthur D. Little Inc. (ADL) an injunction to permit continued testing of the nerve gay, but his decision did not make clear when the laboratory had to cease testing.

The Cambridge ordinance prohibits the testing of nerve gas and other chemical warfare agents within city limits.

The decision is a defeat for ADI, which had been studying the poisonous gases for more than a year under a Department of Defense Contract.

$1 Million Bust

Friday's ruling officially renders the company's brand new $1 million Levins Laboratory, specially designed for the safe testing of the toxic gases, inactive for an indefinite period of time.

Arthur D. Little immediately filed appeals and observes predicted that the issue of nerve gas testing in Cambridge may lead to protracted and expensive legal battle that may go all the way to the U>S> Supreme Court.

Scott P. Lewis, a Boston attorney representing the city, said yesterday that ADL's contention that the nerve gas testing ban was "arbitrary and capricious" would probably land the case in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

To the Highest Court:

The issue of federal supremacy--that the local nerve gas testing ban was preempted by federal law because it operated under a Department of Defense contract may end up in the nation's highest court, according to Lewis.

"The care issues of first impression which have never been settled in a court of law before," said City Councilor David Sullivan.

"If we didn't think we had a reasonable chance of winning an appeal, we would be spending this much money on lawyer," said Alma Inner, an ADI spokesperson. "We will do what we have to do because of our contractual obligations and concern for public good," she added.

"It was correct for a community to address itself to these issues," but, Triner said. ADI "regrets the time and energy the city is investing in this process."

ADL has offered to help the city draw up regulations which would allow limited testing of toxic agents, while restoring the community's confidence in industrial research, Triner added.

Community Pressure