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Maryland Man Files $800 Million Cell Phone Suit
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
07/03/00

A Maryland man filed an $800 million lawsuit against a cell phone maker and a telecommunications company, claiming years of using the wireless devices caused his brain cancer.

Dr. Chris Newman, 41, of Jarrettsville, Md., brought the suit against Motorola Inc. and Verizon Communications on Tuesday in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has said there is no evidence that radiation from cellular telephones poses a health risk. However, the FDA has also said there is no proof that cell phones are risk-free.

The malignant tumor was discovered in March 1998 behind Newman's right ear. Newman's attorney, Joanne Suder, said her client, a neurologist, used wireless phones at least several times a day between 1992 and 1998.

``Because of the nature of his work he had to be in touch with patients on a minute-to-minute basis,'' Suder said.

The suit seeks $100 million in compensatory damages and $700 million in punitive damages.

Concerns that cellular phones may cause cancer or other health problems have grown over the past few years. In June, the FDA announced a partnership with the phone industry under which about $1 million in studies on the issue would be conducted.

A trade group for the wireless industry introduced a new policy last month requiring cell phone makers to disclose information on radiation levels produced by their phones.

More than 90 million American now have cell phones, most of whom began using them in the past five years.

Norman Sandler, a spokesman for Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola, said company officials had not seen the suit and could not comment. However, similar lawsuits over the past few years all have been withdrawn by the plaintiffs or dismissed by the courts, Sandler said.

``We have maintained for years that such assertions are groundless,'' Sandler said.