Feeds

Appeals court hits redial on mobile phone lawsuits

State law needs to be resolved

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The mobile phone industry faces fresh challenges in the US after appeal judges on the fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated five class-action lawsuits claiming that manufacturers have failed to protect consumers from dangerous radiation.

The suits were originally filed in five state courts, before being referred as a group to federal court in Baltimore. The plaintiffs want to force the phone makers to provide headsets, and are seeking punitive damages. They allege that the mobile phone industry broke state laws on consumer protection, product liability, implied warranty, negligence, fraud and civil conspiracy, according to Associated Press reports.

The suits were dismissed in March 2004 by Judge Catherine Blake when she ruled that the claims were preempted by federal regulation of wireless phones, and of phone radiation emissions. Now, a 2-1 majority of appeals judges has overturned that ruling, sending the suits back to state courts.

Judges Michael Luttig and Blane Michael wrote, in the majority opinion: "We have thoroughly examined the claims ... and one thing is clear: the elements of each of the claims depend only on the resolution of questions of state law."

However, Judge Jackson Kiser said that the cases raised a "substantial federal question". "It is well-settled that a suit to invalidate a federal regulation arises under federal law," he wrote.

The question of the safety of mobile phone emissions has not really been properly answered yet. For every study finding that they are safe, there is one suggesting that they might indeed cause some damage, superficial or otherwise. In the UK, the government has advised limiting children's exposure to mobile phones, prompting one company to pull its phone from the market. ®

Related stories

Mobile phone risk to kids
New lab to study mobile mast risks
Mobile phones rot your balls

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.