IBM settles cancer case

The rest of the California plaintiffs who filed suit against IBM claiming the company failed to inform them of cancer-causing...

The rest of the California plaintiffs who filed suit against IBM claiming the company failed to inform them of cancer-causing materials in hard disc and semiconductor manufacturing plants have reached an agreement with IBM to end those cases.

Around 50 cases have been "concluded and dismissed", and the terms will not be disclosed, said IBM spokesman Chris Andrews.

In February, a California jury rejected a lawsuit filed by two plaintiffs who claimed IBM exposed them to hazardous chemicals in the workplace and failed to inform them of the health risks of those chemicals after the company learned of the dangers.

After the conclusion of that trial, Judge Robert Baines had instructed IBM and the plaintiffs to reach an agreement in order to prevent the remaining cases from coming to trial, Andrews said.

The California cases were considered a difficult proposition for the plaintiffs. Under California law, they had to not only prove that chemicals in IBM's San Jose plants were responsible for the cancers they developed, but that IBM knew about the chemicals' cancer-causing properties still made them work with those chemicals.

IBM maintained all along that its workers were never exposed to unsafe levels of chemicals used in the manufacturing process, and that the company did all it could to inform workers about the dangers of those chemicals.

Plaintiffs were expected to have an easier time against IBM in a similar case filed in New York. However, that case was settled in March, and the financial terms of that settlement were not disclosed.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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