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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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RE: Who's fault?
By Alexstarfire on 11/9/2007 1:39:39 PM , Rating: 1
You're probably the same guy that buys stuff at Walmart aren't you? Sure, this is bad, don't get me wrong on that. The things is this, how many clean room employees have had babies during AMDs entire career. My guess is that it's quite a few, but I'll never know. Birth defects suck and no one would argue against that. The thing is this, how do we know that this birth defect was caused by exposure to... whatever... was in the clean room. There are a lot of household chemicals that can cause birth defects that people use EVERY DAY. I think that if employees are exposed to toxic chemicals that AT THE MINIMUM they should be notified of that fact. In reality they should very well do everything they can to prevent exposure to these chemicals to begin with.

You have to realize that while this ONE case, perhaps a couple more, are very bad in their own right, this is not the worst thing I've heard or seen. Have you guys watched the documentary that they have for Walmart. I'm not sure if I'd really call it a documentary, but they show the conditions of Walmart employees in different countries and all the bad stuff that they do in the US. It's a hell of a lot worse for those people than it is for this ONE woman. Walmart violates safety laws nearly EVERYWHERE, including storage of some toxic chemicals. They've left fertilizer and such out in the open for it to run off into storm drains and get into the local water supply. That affects a hell of a lot more people than AMD ever could and that's not the only thing Walmart has done wrong. I have to say that if you haven't seen the documentary that you should go see it. After watching it I can't even walk into a Walmart anymore, let alone buy anything they sell.

I think that AMD should be sued, but probably not the doctor. I mean, unless the lady and the doctor knew EXACTLY what she was exposed to then there isn't really a case against the doctor. He seems like he was just unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

RE: Who's fault?
By masher2 on 11/9/2007 2:49:52 PM , Rating: 5
> "There are a lot of household chemicals that can cause birth defects that people use EVERY DAY"

Ordinary laundry bleach, chlorinated drinking water, common aspirin, alchohol, tobacco, cocaine, codeine, many common antibiotics, most household insecticides, carbon monoxide (from auto exhaust or poorly ventilated home heating systems/water heaters), and about a million other compounds are all known to cause birth defects.

I'm betting this woman was exposed to several from the above list alone.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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