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Best Week, Worst Week: Morgan St. giving students path to the cloud; Kennedy Krieger liable for lead exposure

best-worst-111619Students who want to blaze a new trail in cloud computing got a roadmap from Morgan State University this week while Kennedy Krieger Institute was found liable for damages involving a sibling of a child in its lead paint abatement study.

Business writer Tim Curtis reported Tuesday Morgan State plans to offer students a degree in cloud computing as universities statewide evaluate program offerings to make students more attractive to companies such as  Amazon and Google.

The university’s Board of Regents has already signed off on the program, but must still be approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. After receiving all regulatory approvals, the program could begin as soon as next fall.

Cloud computing itself has grown to be a part of just about every institution in the country, through services such as Google’s Gmail and Amazon’s Amazon Web Services. Graduates with a cloud computing background can find work as administrators, modelers, engineers and developers and in security.

Morgan State is not the only university in Maryland preparing for the arrival of Amazon in Virginia and at least 25,000 new jobs. Earlier this year, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents approved a data science program at Salisbury University and an internet of things program at the University of Maryland, College Park. It also plans to open a Discovery Center in Crystal City, Virginia next year. One of the explicit goals of the center is to maintain ties with Amazon.

Meanwhile, a Baltimore jury found Kennedy Krieger Institute liable for the lead exposure of a child whose sibling was part of its lead paint study in the 1990s, marking the first time there has been a verdict against the institute for the program.

Legal affairs writer Heather Cobun reported Wednesday the Lead-Based Paint Abatement and Repair and Maintenance Study, or R&M study, exposed newborns and children to lead paint to determine the best abatement strategies. The Court of Appeals held in 2001 that plaintiffs could pursue negligence lawsuits.

Ashley Partlow, now 30, lived in one of the homes involved in the study in 1994 and though she was too old, her sibling was a study participant. A Baltimore judge ruled for Kennedy Krieger initially and the case went to the Court of Appeals, which reversed last year and found that a duty was owed to participants’ siblings.

The 23-day trial concluded Tuesday when jurors returned the verdict of $1.841 million, including $171,000 in economic damages and $1.67 million in noneconomic damages, which is expected to be reduced to $350,000 under the state’s mandatory cap.

Attorneys for Kennedy Krieger believe there are appealable issues in the case and the defense will preserve the right to appeal the verdict.