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Research Firm Forecasts Trouble For Industry Following Court Decision
RCR Wireless News
Journalist: Jeffrey Silva
November 03, 2005

A leading telecom research firm said the Supreme Court's decision to allow mobile phone radiation lawsuits to move forward in state courts could mean trouble for wireless manufacturers and service providers.

"The Supreme Court's recent ruling confirms Precursor's belief that the Pandora's Box of joint and severable liability for health effects of cellphone radiation could plague cellphone manufacturers-especially Nokia [Corp.], [L.M.] Ericsson, Motorola [Inc.], Samsung [Electronics Co. Ltd.]-and possibly less so [for] service providers-especially Cingular [Wireless L.L.C.], Sprint [Nextel Corp.], T-Mobile [USA Inc.] and Verizon [Wireless]-with repeated cycles of protracted tobacco- and asbestos-style litigation that takes years to resolve, generating headline risk, even though the financial impact of limited damage awards is unlikely to be severe," stated Rudy Baca in a Nov. 2 Precursor Bulletin obtained by RCR Wireless News.

Baca, predicting at least one health-related wireless case will go to trial before year's end, added: [T]he ongoing dispute within the science community about the health effects of non-ionizing (cellphone) radiation only increases the likelihood that the conflicting studies will be found admissible because a sufficient body of scientific case studies has been produced to meet the relatively minimal Daubert standard."

Monday's high court ruling means class action suits-alleging mobile phone companies put consumers at risk by not supplying them headsets to limit radiation exposure will advance in state courts in Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. A fifth headset case is apt to be transferred from U.S. District Catherine Blake to a federal court in Louisiana.

Meantime, in separate litigation, the District of Columbia Superior Court judge overseeing six brain cancer suits against the mobile phone industry yesterday asked lawyers to respond by Nov. 21 on how the headset cases rejected by the Supreme Court differ from personal injury cell phone suits. Judge Cheryl Long is poised to rule soon on industry's motion to dismiss the six brain cancer suits on federal preemption grounds.

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