CELL PHONES AND CANCER
Industry asks panel to consolidate cancer suits
July 10, 2002 1:37 PM EST
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 mobile-phone radiation.
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
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.