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Former employee sues AMD for son's birth defects

Posted: 12 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:hazardous chemical? clean room? health risk?

A former Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) employee accused the company and a regional medical association of being responsible for birth defects of her son, born with a missing lower right arm and lifelong cognitive deficits.

Maria Ruiz worked in AMD's Fab 14 clean room from 1988 to 2001, according to a statement issued on behalf of attorney's working on behalf of the Ruiz family.

"Maria Ruiz worked with hazardous chemicals that caused her son's devastating birth defects," said Adam Ward, a partner in Allison & Ward LLP, the filing attorney. The team working on behalf of the Ruiz family includes Steven Phillips of Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP, who represented litigants in a similar case against IBM that were settled before reaching trial.

The Ruiz versus AMD lawsuit alleges that Ruiz was wrongfully exposed to birth defect-causing hazardous chemicals during her pregnancy and that AMD knowingly failed to protect its workers from hazardous chemicals. The petition also includes medical malpractice allegations against a family/occupational health practitioner and an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Austin Regional Clinic. MDs George Marking and Alinda Cox allegedly failed to warn the pregnant woman of the recognized dangers posed by exposure to the chemicals, according to the lawsuit.

The toxic chemicals that Ruiz was exposed to included ethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate and 2-ethoxyethyl acetate, which caused the birth defects in her son, Ryan, the statement alleges. On at least two occasions during her employment, Ruiz required medical care due to inhaling chemical fumes, according to the statement.

After Ruiz discovered she was pregnant, she inquired about the health risks from working in the clean room during her pregnancy but was returned to work in Fab 14, according to the statement. Ryan, who turned 16 on Oct. 31, suffered multiple birth defects, including a missing right arm below his elbow, brain injury and cognitive deficits.

"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 Phillips.

The five-count petition charges negligence, breach of warranty, fraud and fraudulent concealment and misrepresentation, Exemplary damages are being sought in the suit. Austin-area TV viewers have been seeing commercials seeking persons with knowledge of the clean rooms and semiconductor wafer manufacturing at AMD in Austin to contact Allison & Ward LLP.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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