Kids of Motorola Workers Allege Toxic Exposure

     CHICAGO (CN) – The children of former Motorola employees developed serious birth defects because toxic chemicals used to make semiconductor products, they claim in court.
     Marisa Ayala, 22, is the lead plaintiff in the July 16 action against Motorola Solutions in Cook County Court.
     She sued along with her parents, one of whom worked for Motorola at its semiconductor-manufacturing facilty in Phoenix, Ariz., from 1980 to 2001. Three other children of former Motorola workers, all older than Ayala, are also named as plaintiffs along with their parents.
     The plaintiff-mothers were all pregnant while working “in and around wafer processing areas and elsewhere at the above-referenced Motorola facility where various semiconductor products or components were being manufactured,” according to the complaint.
     They assert that Motorola used “known or suspected teratogenic, genotoxic and/or reproductively toxic chemical products and/or substances in the aforesaid wafer processing areas,” and knew of the possibility of birth defects as a result of exposure to these substances.
     Motorola exposed employees to ethylene glycol ethers, fluorine compounds, chlorine compounds, radio frequency radiation, arsenic compounds, and organic solvents such as benzene, according to the complaint.
     Though Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola allegedly tracked its employees’ exposure to these chemicals, the plaintiffs say its training programs “did not include any warnings to workers about the potential for adverse reproductive outcomes, including miscarriage, stillbirth and/or birth defects, among their offspring resulting from exposure to the aforesaid chemical products and substances.”
     The plaintiffs say that Motorola had employees wear protective equipment, but only to protect the semiconductor components from particulate matter, not to protect employees from toxic exposure.
     Each of the plaintiff children of these employees – Marisa Ayala, Judith Boan, Jared Riggs, and BeJaye Roberts – claim to have suffered injuries in utero as a result of their mothers’ wrongful exposure.
     Ayala suffers from knee deformities; Boan from wrist deformities; Riggs from Down syndrome, duodenal atresia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and hearing loss; and Roberts suffers from hip and leg deformities, the complaint says.
     “The personal injuries of the plaintiffs, Marisa Ayala, Judith Boan, Jared Rights, and BeJaye Roberts, were caused or contributed to by his/her parent’s wrongful exposure to some or all of the aforesaid chemical products and substances as a result of her work at the aforesaid Motorola facilities,” according to the complaint.
     They say Motorola knew of, or should have known of, studies conducted by the Semiconductor Industry Association, and semiconductor manufacturer IBM, documenting the increased risk of reproductive harms from occupational exposure to substances used in semiconductor manufacturing.
     The families seek damages for negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, strict liability, and loss of consortium.
     They are represented by Kevin Conway with Cooney & Conway.

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