Last year there was a bevy of high profile toxin scandals
and environmental suits. Greenpeace sued
Apple for its "toxic iPhone", workers sued AMD for
toxin-linked birth defects, and Chinese imports were found
to contain lead, the
date rape drug GHB, dangerous edges, hazardous magnets, and much
Now the New Year is upon us and with it a new high profile law suit in the
environmental sector. International
Business Machines (IBM) has been sued by 90 residents of Endicott, N.Y.,
the city of the company's founding.
The suit, filed in Binghamton, N.Y. state court, alleges that the hardware
discharged toxic materials which caused birth defects and other health
problems for the citizens of Endicott. Industrial grade solvents were
allegedly release into the air, soil, and ground water for years, causing
serious harm to the citizens.
IBM takes issue to these claims. An IBM spokesman, Michael Maloney states
the accusations, "have no basis in science or law and IBM will defend
Despite IBM's verbal insistence that it has committed no environmental damage,
the company has made historical efforts that appear to be a blatant
acknowledgement that the site is severely contaminated.
Endicott was once a major production site for IBM for circuit boards, printers
and other products. The ground water was noticeably contaminated by 1979,
at which time IBM launched a major cleanup effort. Further, IBM also
acknowledged the air pollution eventually, when it started a program in 2002 to
filter the harmful chemicals out of the air. IBM also slowly financed the
installation of ventilation systems free-of-charge in buildings on 440
properties in the town. IBM even went as far as to pay property owners in
Endicott $2.2 million for loss of values in their property, due to the
Stephen Schwarz says most of his clients refused to settle for such pittances.
He also says that the few of his clients who did settle are only seeking enough
money to keep up with their massive medical expenses. He said, "We
have a lot of people who have illnesses."
IBM was in negotiations with Mr. Schwarz and his clients until 2004, but a
settlement deal fell, through, leaving the victims little choice but full legal
Among the diseases that appear to be resultant from the contamination are
lymphoma, kidney cancer, and other ailments. Children born in the town
have been prone to severe heart defects.
The 90 plantiffs and Mr. Schwarz have teamed with Masry & Vititoe, the
Westlake Village, Calif., the legal team who won the $333 million settlement portrayed in the movie Erin
quote: more important to save a $1000 a year
quote: For example, a software engineer in the US can expect to earn between $50-100K/year depending on experience, industry, etc. (plus benefits). In India, a similary qualified software engineer might earn $10-20K/year.
quote: There were a total of 347 reports of cancer occurring among residents in the two study areas between 1980 and 2001 while approximately 356 cases would have been expected in the study areas during this time based on statewide rates...
quote: alleges that the hardware giant knowingly discharged toxic materials which caused birth defects and other health problems for the citizens of Endicott.
quote: Despite IBM's verbal insistence that it has committed no environmental damage, the company has made historical efforts that appear to be a blatant acknowledgement that the site is severely contaminated.