Mobile industry faces flood of lawsuits

Dozens of cases are expected to hit the US courts in the coming weeks, sparked by a brain cancer lawsuit by a former Motorola employee

A lawsuit is due to be filed in America on Wednesday alleging that a 34-year old man's brain cancer was caused by mobile phone use. The case is likely to be followed by dozens more in coming weeks.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Michael Murray, a former Motorola worker, are seeking both compensation and punitive damages. The personal injury case will be heard at the District of Columbia Superior Court, and will seek to prove that mobile phones cause brain tumours -- a claim consistently denied by the mobile industry.

Mayer Morganroth, the prosecuting council, has confirmed to reporters that this case will be filed on Wednesday, adding that "others will be filed in the very near future."

A spokesman for Motorola's US offices has said that there is no proof that mobile phone use causes adverse health effects, and that Motorola only knew that Murray was pursuing a "worker's compensation claim" against the company.

A flurry of similar cases is expected to hit the US courts in the coming weeks, according to news Web site RCR Wireless News. Government bodies and regulators will both be targeted in lawsuits that will claim they have acted negligently by not promoting devices that could reduce exposure to emissions from mobile phones.

It emerged this summer that mobile phone manufacturers have registered patents for technology that could reduce the emissions a user was exposed to. One patent noted concerns that continuous exposure to radio frequency radiation could lead to "a development of malignant tumours."

The existence of such patents is likely to be used in legal arguments in an attempt to prove that handset manufacturers were aware of a risk. Motorola has denied that this interpretation is correct, insisting that such technology was being developed with a view to improving the efficiency -- and thus increasing the battery life -- of a phone by cutting the amount of electro-magnetic radiation it released when transmitting.

A number of class action lawsuits are already underway in the US.

Several studies have found no link between mobile use and adverse health effects such as brain cancer. Others have been unable to rule out such a link. One even suggested that mobile use could be linked to an increased risk of eye cancer.

See the Mobile Technology News Section for full coverage.

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