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Court Declines to Block Cancer Suit Against IBM

October 14, 2003|From Bloomberg News

IBM Corp., the world's largest computer maker, said Monday that a California appeals court refused to delay a trial in a case brought by former employees who claim they contracted cancer at the company's hard-disk-drive plant.

The Court of Appeals in San Jose late Friday denied IBM's request to delay the trial, IBM spokesman Bill O'Leary said. Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin Wednesday. IBM argued that there wasn't enough evidence in cases brought by former workers Alida Hernandez and James Moore for a jury trial.

Hernandez and Moore, who worked at IBM's hard-disk-drive plant in San Jose, claim that the company hid the dangers of chemicals used in manufacturing.

The workers' suits, which were filed in 1998, will be the first of several similar cases to face a jury. Other suits have been filed in New York, Minnesota and Vermont.

IBM, which sold its hard-disk-drive business to Hitachi Ltd. last year, said it was prepared to go to trial.

"It'll give us an opportunity to air all the facts," O'Leary said.

IBM shares rose 53 cents to $93.20 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have risen 20% this year.

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