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Michael J. Fox Foundation sues over lab samples

Michael J. Fox at the 2012 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's event at The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Nov. 10, 2012.

Mike Coppola, Getty Images for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Actor Michael J. Fox's foundation is suing a New Jersey research organization, saying a freezer was left open, compromising scientific samples and hurting research efforts it was funding.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research filed its complaint Oct. 3 in U.S. District Court against Camden's Coriell Institute for Medical Research.

The New York-based charity says it contracted with Coriell in 2010 and 2011 to store specimens for research into Parkinson's. The group says Coriell has been paid $3.5 million of the $4.3 million called for in the contracts.

The suit alleges that in March, a door to a freezer was left open, causing many scientific samples to thaw. The samples were no longer useful for research, according to the suit.

Coriell says it intends to "vigorously" defend itself.