Mobile firms face lawsuits
donderdag, 04 september 2014 - Categorie: Juridische Informatie
Bron 1: www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11519/Mobile-firms-face-lawsuits.html .
4 sept. 2014
by PAUL KENDALL, Daily Mail
Some of the world's largest mobile phone companies are facing billion-pound lawsuits brought by brain tumour victims. The biggest ever legal assault on the industry will seek to prove that handsets can cause cancer and that firms have deliberately covered up crucial medical information.
If the American action is successful, mobile phone companies will face crippling bills for compensation. As investors digested the news, the four major UK opera-tors - Vodafone, BT Cellnet, Orange and One 2 One - and their parent companies, saw £5.5 billion wiped off their share values.
Vodafone, in particular, was said to be a potential target because it owns 45pc of the firm Verizon Wireless, which is said to be named in nearly all the lawsuits. More than half of Britons now own a mobile phone. Medical evidence on the danger to people's health remains ambiguous, with some studies indicating a connection and others ruling it out.
But claims for compensation - set to be launched in March - will be the most extensive examination yet of allegations that radiation from handsets cause cancer. The lawsuits are being brought by one of America's most successful lawyers, Peter Angelos, who recently helped to win £3billion in damages for smokers who suffer from cancer.
John Pica, an attorney at Mr Angelos's firm, said: 'If these companies knew about the dangers of cell phone radiation, they should be punished and they should be punished dearly - not only for what they did to the public, but for the billions of pounds of profits they made.'
The lawsuits - to be launched initially in California, Kentucky and Maryland - will be filed against handset manufacturers and network providers. Experts believe the cases could prompt copycat claims in Britain and the rest of the world.
Telecoms consultant Nick Croll said: 'As long as mobile phone companies are not holding any vital information back, then they are in the clear. 'But if these suits are successful, it would put them out of business.
'The implications would be horrendous because it would mean that users have been subjecting themselves to cancerous signals for the past ten to 15 years.' In each of the actions, Mr Angelos intends to claim compensation for the pain suffered by brain tumour patients, plus the income they lost as a result of the disease. He is also seeking compensation for the families of mobile phone users who have died from brain tumours.
Mr Angelos's firm has not put a total figure on the value of the compensation claims. The official Stewart Report into the safety of mobile phones in the UK, published earlier this year, concluded there was no evidence of harm to people's health. But it also called for more research.
A Vodafone spokesman said that if any compensation claims were filed directly against the company itself, they would be 'vigorously' opposed.
Hiet kunnen we aan toevoegen dat drie stralingsslachtoffers reeds rechtszaken gewonnen hebben, en dat één een schadevergoeding van $ 100.000 bij schikking ontvangen heeft, zie:
Naar aanleiding van bovenstaand krantenartikel kwam een veel ouder artikel te voorschijn:
Bron 2: cnnfn.cnn.com/2000/12/28/worldbiz/vodafone/ .
28 dec. 2000
Cancer scare hits cell firms
LONDON (CNNfn) - Mobile phone companies are facing a billion-dollar lawsuit from brain tumor victims in the United States, a report said Thursday.
Lawyer Peter Angelos, who helped win $4.2 billion in damages from the tobacco industry in Maryland, plans to launch 10 claims against the industry, the Times of London said.
The action comes amid concerns among some mobile phone users that radiation from handsets could cause brain cancer, though medical evidence has been unable to prove a definitive link so far.
Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. cellular operator, a joint venture between Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) and Verizon Communications (VZ: Research, Estimates), will be named in nearly all of the actions.�
''There is no real evidence of any link but we can see more claims in coming years as cases increase,'' Per Lindberg, an analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, told CNNfn.com. The British Medical Association warned earlier this year ''that children are more likely to suffer from radiation.'' ��
John A. Pica, an attorney at Angelos's law firm, told the newspaper: ''If these companies knew about the dangers of cell phone radiation they should be punished and they should be punished dearly: not only for what they did in public, but for the billions of pounds of profits made.''
Vodafone, which owns 45 percent of Verizon Wireless, said British government sponsored research published this year gave showed there was no link between mobile phone use and brain tumors.
''The Stewart report, the most comprehensive report of its kind so far, gave mobile handsets and base stations a clean bill of health. But the link is something we can never disprove. We need more research.'' Vodafone told The Times.
A recent study in the United States indicated that though there was some cause for concern in the potential for cell phone usage to cause illness, there was no clear link between the devices and an increased incidence of cancer.
Vodafone's� Mike Caldwell criticized the newspaper report as sensationalist and told CNNfn: ''This is the most blatantly misleading headline of the year.''
He said Vodafone is not involved in any current litigation in the U.S. and is unlikely to be so as it does not trade there. ''Vodafone is a shareholder of Verizon Communications only, and as such will not be the target of a US lawsuit,'' claimed Caldwell.
Angelos' firm earned nearly $1 billion in fees from the Maryland tobacco settlement, and plans to file two claims before March and the rest within a year, according to the paper. Each claim will be filed against a mobile handset manufacturer, a mobile phone network provider and a local ''land-line'' telephone company.
A Maryland neurologist filed an $800 million lawsuit against handset maker Motorola Inc (MOT: Research, Estimates). in August as well as eight other telecommunications companies and organizations, claiming that his use of cell phones caused a malignant brain tumor.
John Trotter, a partner specialising in product liability at London law firm Lovells, said such cases needed an expert willing to say there was a possibility of a link. Lawyers would hope that a court would grant them access to mobile companies' documents.
''They may be hoping that discovery of documents would turn up something showing there was some sort of knowledge (of possible harm) among the product manufacturers,'' Trotter said.
Shares in Verizon slipped almost 1 percent to $50 and Vodafone (VOD), the world's biggest mobile phone operator, fell 2.1 percent to 232.5 pence, while Finland's Nokia, the world's biggest handset maker, rose almost 1 percent in Helsinki.
''Vodafone has been named in the article that's why its share price has been hit so hard, but Nokia has a 35 percent share of the U.S. market. So I am surprised about how hard Vodafone has been hit in relation to Nokia and other cellphone makers,'' Lindberg said.
Analysts expect mobile phone companies to extend the practice of placing health warnings on mobile phones, something that already happens in some U.S. states. However, Nokia told CNNfn.com that there was no need for warnings.
''We understand the concerns of the public and welcome research into this matter,'' Papio Hedman, Head of Communications at Nokia, said.� ''We adhere to emission standards set by the authorities.''
''Televisions, microwave and radios give out more radiation,'' Hedman said.
Is dit een slapende zaak geweest die nu weer tot leven is gewekt?
Of is heeft dit te maken met:
Bron 3: www.saferemr.com/2014/08/major-breakthrough-in-cellphone.html .
8 aug. 2014
Major breakthrough in cellphone industry product liability lawsuit in USA
My comments: This superior court ruling enables the discovery phase of the trial to begin. Perhaps, we will soon learn whether the wireless industry has been covering up knowledge of the health risks of mobile phone use.
The insurance industry has refused to provide product liability insurance on cell phones primarily due to this concern as they fear that cell phone litigation may turn out like tobacco or asbestos litigation did with huge punitive awards.
My most recent press release, ''FCC: 98 Scientific Experts Demand Stronger Regulation of Cellphone Radiation'' makes the case that the scientific community has known for many years about the health risks of mobile phone radiation. The wireless industry, however, has confused government officials and the public by co-opting scientists to support the industry's disinformation campaign to buy time.
29 brain tumor lawsuits move toward trial in Washington, DC
Arthur Firstenberg, Cellular Phone Task Force, Aug 11, 2014
Twenty-nine high-profile lawsuits brought by people whose brain tumors were caused by their cell phones are finally moving toward trial. Six of these cases were originally filed in 2001 and 2002. Many of the plaintiffs are no longer alive.
On Friday, Judge Frederick H. Weisberg, in the D.C. Superior Court, admitted the testimony of five expert witness for the plaintiffs, and the 12- and 13-year-old cases will now move into the discovery phase. Each of the plaintiffs is asking for more than $100,000,000. There are 46 defendants including Motorola, Nokia, AT&T, Bell Atlantic, Cellular One, Cingular Wireless, SBC Communications, Verizon, Vodafone, the Telecommunications Industry Association, the IEEE, ANSI, the CTIA, and the FCC. The plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey B. Morganroth of Morganroth & Morganroth, a law firm in Birmingham, Michigan.
For over a decade the industry and the plaintiffs have played tug-of-war with the oldest cases, sending them back and forth between federal and state courts, and fighting over whether the plaintiff's claims were preempted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
In 2009 the D.C. Court of Appeals, in Murray v. Motorola (982 A. 2d 764), ruled that the telecommunications companies could not be sued over brain tumors caused by cell phones manufactured after 1996. But since all of these plaintiffs had used pre-1996 phones, their lawsuits were allowed to go forward. They were also allowed to go forward on their claims that the defendants made false and misleading statements and failed to disclose information about the dangers of cell phones. These claims were brought under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.
In December 2013 and January 2014, testimony was heard from:
DR. SHIRA KRAMER, a Maryland epidemiologist;
DR. MICHAEL KUNDI, professor of epidemiology and occupational health at the Medical University of Vienna;
DR. VINI KHURANA, a neurosurgeon and professor of neurosurgery at the Australian National University in Canberra;
DR. IGOR BELYAEV, head research scientist at the Cancer Research institute at the Slovak Academy of Science in Bratislava, Slovakia;
DR. WILHELM MOSGOELLER, professor and medical doctor at the University of Vienna Medical School’s Institute for Cancer Research;
DR. DIMITRIS PANAGAPOULOUS, founder of the Radiation Biophysics Laboratory at the University of Athens;
DR. ABRAHAM LIBOFF, professor emeritus of physics at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; and
DR. LAURA PLUNKETT, pharmacologist and toxicologist in Houston.
On Friday, August 8, 2014, the testimony of Drs. Kramer, Khurana, and Panagopoulos was disallowed. But the testimony of Drs. Kundi, Belyaev, Mosgoeller, Liboff, and Plunkett was admitted. They will testify at trial about ''general causation,'' i.e. that cell phones can cause brain tumors.
The lawsuits now move into the discovery phase, in which each side is compelled to produce documents and answer questions. This is the first time that the industry has had to turn over data. There will then be a fight over the admission of the testimony of witnesses on ''specific causation,'' i.e. doctors and others who will testify that these specific cell phones caused these specific tumors.
Friday's decision by Judge Weisberg allowed 13 of the cases, which have been consolidated in one action, to go forward. The other 16 cases are being tried separately, but the parties in those cases agreed to be bound by Friday's decision.
Judge Frederick H. Weisberg, Washington D.C. Superior Court: Expert Preemption Order (page 5):
''Federal law is the supreme law of the land, but there is no constitutional provision that says federal facts are the supreme facts of the land. Federal law can preempt state law, but it cannot preempt scientific fact. The scientific truth, whatever it may be, lies outside of the FCC’s regulations about what is 'safe' or 'unsafe.' The experts have offered their opinions on the state of the scientific knowledge and general causation. They have testified about the methodology they used to reach those opinions. Their testimony on these points, at this stage of the case, is not subject to preemption.''
Judge Weisberg's ruling on expert witness admissibility
Michael Patrick Murray et al. v. Motorola, Inc. et al.
Superior Court for the District of Columbia
Court Allows Expert Testimony in Litigation Alleging Cell Phone-Linked Tumors According to Consumers' Legal Team
WASHINGTON -- Aug 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A Washington D.C. superior court ruled that five scientific expert witnesses can testify for consumers suffering from brain tumors allegedly caused or promoted by cell phone use Ashcraft & Gerel LLP Morganroth and Morganroth PLLC Lundy Lundy Soileau & South L.L.P. and co-counsel said today.
Judge Frederick H. Weisberg who is presiding over 13 consolidated lawsuits against the telecom industry ruled that experts met the Dyas/Frye legal standards and can offer testimony related to injury causation and health effects. The court held evidentiary hearings in December 2013 and January 2014 and reviewed hundreds of exhibits.
Judge Weisberg noted that while the court did not decide the issue of whether cell phones cause brain tumors new scientific studies and information have emerged recently. His order referred to a May 2014 French case-control epidemiological study that found support for ''a possible association between heavy mobile phone use'' and brain tumors.
Each of the plaintiffs in the litigation suffers from a brain tumor or is suing for a family of someone who died of brain cancer.
The plaintiffs are represented by Morganroth and Morganroth PLLC of Birmingham Mich.; Ashcraft & Gerel LLP of Washington D.C. and Lundy Lundy Soileau & South LLP of Lake Charles La.; The Knoll Law Firm LLC of Marksville La.; Pribanic & Pribanic LLC of Pittsburgh; Frasier Frasier & Hickman LLP of Tulsa Okla.; and Bernstein Liebhard LLP of New York.
Hunter Lundy of Lundy Lundy Soileau & South LLP said ''The telecom industry argued for years that cell phone consumer litigants could not produce scientists who could relate exposure to cell phone radiation to tumors. The ruling today refutes that contention and our experts' opinions having met the Dyas/Frye test are admissible.''
Jeffrey B. Morganroth of Morganroth and Morganroth PLLC said ''We now have opinions and testimony from prominent scientific experts that will be admissible and support our clients' claims that cell phone radiation can cause brain tumors in humans. With this landmark ruling the cases are moving forward to fact discovery.''
Michelle Parfitt and James F. Green of Ashcraft & Gerel LLP said ''The evidence presented at the evidentiary hearings months ago only included publicly available materials and did not include any testing data or information in possession of the defendants. We will seek that information as soon as possible.''
The first of the consolidated cases is ''Michael Patrick Murray et al. v. Motorola Inc. et al.'' Case No. 2001 CA 008479 B in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. The defendants in the cases are Motorola Inc. Qualcomm Inc. Nokia Inc. Audiovox Communications Corp. and Samsung Telecomm American LLC.
Contact: Erin Powers Powers MediaWorks LLC for Ashcraft Gerel LLP firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Ashcraft & Gerel LLP
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