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IBM Settles Some Claims of Toxic Chemical Exposure

June 24, 2004|From Associated Press

IBM Corp. said Wednesday that dozens of its employees and retirees who alleged that exposure to toxic chemicals on the job caused them to develop cancer had their cases dismissed after a settlement was reached.

The cases hinged on whether workers developed cancer as a result of years of work at IBM's disk drive plant in San Jose. The dismissals involved about 50 former and current California workers, and the settlement was signed by IBM and plaintiffs' attorney Richard Alexander. The terms were not disclosed.

In February, a California jury found that two of Alexander's plaintiffs who suffered liver disease and breast and brain cancers while working in the San Jose plant did not develop systemic chemical poisoning at IBM, despite workplace exposure to trichloroethylene, cadmium, toluene, benzene, arsenic and other substances.

Jurors also found that IBM did not lie to the retired workers -- Alida Hernandez and James Moore -- about the safety of the San Jose factory.

At least 100 similar cases against Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM are pending.

Hernandez and Moore, who were diagnosed with cancer in the 1990s, were seeking millions of dollars in damages.

In March, IBM settled a $100-million lawsuit by Candace Curtis, born with severe birth defects allegedly caused by her mother's working conditions at an IBM plant in Fishkill, N.Y.

Shares in IBM rose 77 cents to $90.79 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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