Print 110 comment(s) - last by clovell.. on Nov 12 at 3:19 PM

Suit alleges that AMD recklessly exposed its employees to toxic substances

Ryan Ruiz, 16, of Austin Texas, shares the same last name with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) CEO Hector Ruiz.  Ryan, sadly, is the victim of a birth defect.  He is missing the lower right part of his arm and had significant cognitive impairment.  The unfortunate irony of his last name comes in that his conditions are allegedly caused by Hector Ruiz's company, AMD.

Ryan's mom, Maria Ruiz, worked in AMD's Fab 14 clean room from 1988 to 2002.  She was exposed to a wide array of toxic chemicals during her employment with AMD, including ethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate and 2-ethoxyethyl acetate, known to cause birth defects.  During her employment she had to seek medical attention at least twice due to fume inhalation.

Her exposure concerned her when she discovered she was pregnant.  She inquired about health risks with a local doctor at the Austin Regional Clinic, but was told not to worry about it, and to feel free to return to work.  AMD was perfectly happy to take her back, and she worked most of the remaining course of her pregnancy, continuously exposed to chemicals that are known in the medical community to cause birth defects.

The ending of story is the tragic one previously stated -- her son was born missing part of a limb and with brain damage.

Now Maria is taking the fight to the corporation she feels damaged her and her son.  The lawsuit, filed in Travis County District Court, both targets AMD and includes medical malpractice allegations against the doctors at the clinic she went to for medical consultation.  It names a family/occupational health practitioner and an obstetrics and gynecology specialist, George Marking MD and Alinda Cox MD.  These doctors, according the suit, failed to warn Maria about any possible risks of working with the toxic chemicals at her place of employment, during her pregnancy.

The Ruiz vs. AMD Lawsuit has some high power representation in the form of filing attorney Adam S. Ward, a partner in Allison & Ward, LLP and Steven Phillips of Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP (New York).  The enlistment of Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP draws attention, in particular, because the firm successfully won an undisclosed settlement for IBM clean-room exposure victims in a similar case.

"Like millions of Americans, Maria Ruiz did not realize that 'clean rooms' are designed to keep damaging dust particles from semiconductor wafers during manufacturing, not to protect men and women exposed to a spectrum of hazardous chemicals and fumes," said Steven Phillips of Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP, co-counsel in the case.

The representing firm Allison & Ward, LLP has been airing commercial on local TV in Texas seeking people with knowledge of the clean room, for possible testimony.

The suit seeks exemplary damages and includes a five-count petition charging negligence, breach of warranty, fraudulent concealment and misrepresentation.

AMD doesn't really need much more bad news.  With another weak graphics card launch, another losing quarter, debts piling up, and rivals NVIDIA and Intel piling up record profits, AMD has scant room for more negative press or losses.  Thus this suit marks the kind of sad sort of story in which there are no winners.

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By DerwenArtos12 on 11/9/2007 12:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
Guilt falls legally with the doctors IMHO, but something has to be said for protecting your employees at some point. I'm no lawyer but, it's not AMDs job to seek medical advise every time an employee already has to make sure it won't be contradicted. It is the doctors job to either say it's possible it could have an effect or to say I don't know and find out. I think the only way responsibility could lie with AMD is if the doctors were persuaded in ANY way to keep the employees at work as long as possible.

By Doughboy on 11/9/2007 12:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
I've worked in a clean room and have known co-workers who have become pregnant. I'm a male and not closley familiar with the policy details, but it seems to be the policy of the company I work for that upon getting pregnant, the female is given a temp job outside the clean room to protect her & her baby until after birth. Knowing this tells me that there are known hazards for pregnant women working in a clean room environment. The information must be out there and if AMD neglected to share this knowledge, and subjected the woman to hazards. It seems to me that they are at least partially at fault.

By masher2 on 11/9/2007 1:21:05 PM , Rating: 5
> " Knowing this tells me that there are known hazards for pregnant women working in a clean room environment"

No. It tells you there are companies trying to protect themselves from rapacious lawsuits and a legal system badly in need of tort reform.

By Doughboy on 11/9/2007 1:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
No doubt there are lawsuits where the intent is to try to get something for nothing, and that's very frustrating and wrong, but this is not the case with every single lawsuit. There are also some legitmate lawsuits that are bring to the surface the need for a change. You can speculate all you want. I know I'm not, and I doubt you are, close enough to the details of this case to truly distiguish which one this is. I'll leave it to the Jury.

By zombiexl on 11/9/2007 1:44:23 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that a jury is usually made up of people who have no clue.

By junkdubious on 11/9/2007 9:29:55 PM , Rating: 2
Would you rather have unions? Cause thats where you go from there.

By Christopher1 on 11/10/2007 3:37:51 AM , Rating: 2
Masher2, I hate to inform you of this, but most lawsuits against doctors are good lawsuits. No lawyer worth his salt is going to put his name on a lawsuit that he KNOWS that he is going to lose, so most of them do quite a bit of investigation beforehand.

By clovell on 11/12/2007 3:19:52 PM , Rating: 1
Or, that the environment is potentially hazardous, which you've yet to refute.

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