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U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Revive Attempted Cell Phone Class Action Against Nokia



In early October 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a potential class action lawsuit against telecommunications leader Nokia Corporation and more than 12 other cell phone supplier defendants. The lawsuit sought to hold the defendant cell phone manufacturers and retailers liable for sales of and inadequate disclosures regarding mobile phone devices that did not provide protection to consumer users from radiation (in the form of radio frequency emissions). It is thought that these radio frequency emissions were hazardous to human health, at least in some amount or dosage.

Procedural History of Cell Phone Radiation Exposure Class Action Lawsuit

The predecessor lawsuits to the class action case began in state courts in New Orleans, La.; Baltimore, Md.; Philadelphia, Penn.; Bronx, N.Y.; and Atlanta, Ga. Those suits were, in turn, removed by the defendants to federal court. There they were joined into a single multi-district litigation suit in federal district court in Maryland. The suits sought monetary recovery from cell phone manufacturers and retailers for alleged harm to consumers caused by usage of the products and exposure they suffered to radiation during that cell phone usage.

Some of the High Court's Justices Recused Themselves From Nokia Case

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Breyer recused themselves from the Nokia case decision not to grant certiorari to the attempted class action. The justices refrained from chiming into the high court's decision-making on the case because both of them owned Nokia stock as of December 2010. Both justices disclosed their ownership of that particular stock in their financial disclosure statements, which were recently submitted.

What's the Hype About Cell Usage and Its Impact on Health Anyway?

The media is now abuzz about purported links between cell phones and cancer. Yet, many millions of people use cell phones for hours at a time daily. By the early 2000s, there were at least 100 million cell users just in the United States alone. Clearly, from those rising statistics, the convenience of the devices seems to outweigh reports of uncertain adverse health risks to most consumers.

In order to make informed decisions about continued cell phone usage, it may be prudent to further delve into the health risks involved. Cell phones use a low-level form of radiation called microwave radiation. This radiation is used to send and receive signals necessary to facilitate cell usage. When radiation enters cells and tissues, one of its byproducts is heat. This is why a microwave is used for cooking purposes in homes across the globe. The rub lies in the fact that this source of emissions and heat is held up next to the head of the user and to her brain. There are even controversial reports of brain tumors that some have linked to cell usage.