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Blake Dismisses Five Mobile-Phone Lawsuits
RCR Wireless News
March 06, 2003

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake today dismissed five class-action lawsuits against the mobile-phone industry that sought to force wireless carriers to supply consumers with headsets to reduce radiation exposure and to compensate subscribers who already purchased such accessories.

Blake, who last October dismissed an $800 million cancer lawsuit against Motorola Inc. and other wireless firms that is under appeal in the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., said she found implied federal preemption applied to the headset suits.

“Despite the fact that the plaintiffs have not alleged any adverse health effects suffered as a result of their use of cell phones, they nonetheless seek to have the responsible federal agencies’ judgment overruled in several separate states by an individual judge or jury through compensatory and declaratory relief requiring the provisions of headsets, instructions and ‘reasons’ the headsets should be used,” Blake said.

“Such a result is contrary to the congressional purposes of national uniformity, deference to agencies’ expertise, and striking an appropriate balance between wireless telecommunications development and public safety,” she added.

Today’s headset ruling, combined with Blake’s rejection of Christopher Newman’s brain cancer lawsuit last year, would appear to further doom nine brain cancer suits against industry still pending before the Baltimore judge.

Plaintiffs in the headset suits have not said whether they will appeal Blake’s order.