Industry Asks Panel To Consolidate Cancer
RCR Wireless News
July 10, 2002
Wireless industry lawyers have petitioned a panel of
federal judges here to transfer all pending brain-cancer lawsuits to U.S.
District Judge Catherine Blake in Baltimore.
Blake already oversees an $800 million cancer lawsuit against industry and a
five class-action lawsuits seeking to force wireless firms to supply
consumers with hands-free headsets to reduce any health risk from
The industry request, filed July 3 with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict
Litigation by Verizon Wireless Inc. attorneys, seeks to put another eight
brain-cancer lawsuits before Blake. Five suits are pending in federal court
here, while the other two are housed in U.S. district courts in Georgia and
The latest move by industry is part of a strategy to steer all health
litigation to federal court—a more favorable venue than state court insofar
as admissibility of scientific experts, jury awards and judicial
expertise—and, in this case, to a federal judge deemed by industry to be
sympathetic to its arguments.
Wall Street, increasingly bearish on the mobile-phone industry as consumer
demand slows and corporate debt mounts in a scandal-ridden environment, is
watching the cases closely. The lawsuits collectively seek billions of
dollars in damages.