I admit that I watch too much television. I also admit I am a big fan of AMC’s original programming. I never miss “The Walking Dead”. I watched all of “Breaking Bad” and am now watching with interest “Better Call Saul”.
For those of you that do not waste your time watching TV, “Better Call Saul” is about the life of attorney, Saul Goodman who ends up helping Walter White hide and hide his drug money. Currently Saul’s story includes his brother, Chuck McGill. Chuck is/was a successful partner in a prestigious Albuquerque law firm currently suffering from a disabling case of electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
So today in the ABA Journal I find this article Homeowner’s ‘electromagnetic hypersensitivity’ suit against neighbor fails on appeal. This lawsuit filed by Arthur Firstenberg claimed his neighbor’s use of her Wi-Fi, cell phone and dimmer switches was making his electromagnetic hypersensitivity worse. But it gets better. Firstenberg lives in New Mexico. Unfortunately for Mr. Firstenberg his $1.43 million pro se lawsuit was dismissed.
Art often imitates life. Sometimes life imitates art. As a North Dakota trial attorney handling car crash personal injury cases I am always worried that jurors expect a trial to be exactly like what they see on TV. That is a topic for another discussion.
But for now back to Chuck and Mr. Firstenberg, basically the Court dismissed Mr. Firstenberg’s claim because he failed to demonstrate that he had admissible scientific evidence that exposure to electromagnetic fields caused his symptoms or was capable of causing adverse health effects. If you are inclined the Court’s opinion can be found here.
Three somewhat related things popped into my head. First what about cell phones causing brain cancer? Many people believe they do. I personally use a Bluetooth speakerphone at my office in Fargo. Cancer? No, it just makes it easier to write notes, check my computer files and look at documents when I am talking to clients.
How about those high voltage overhead power lines? While I can remember a lot of legal interest in injury claims based on exposure to electromagnetic fields from over head power lines a number of years ago I am not aware of any successful lawsuits. There was no medical evidence that exposure to these electromagnetic fields caused any injuries. Look here for an example of current medical evidence concerning electromagnetic fields.
There have been a number of cases where dairy farmers injured by stray voltage have recovered damages. See this news report of a $6.3 million damage award in Cass County, Minnesota. Stray voltage may not be the same as electromagnetic hypersensitivity but they both involve the effects of electricity where it doesn’t belong.
My more than 30 years of experience representing people injured in car crashes and other accidents has taught me that these cases are incredibly complex and in most personal injury cases you really do need the help of an attorney. If you ever have questions about a personal injury claim you can find more information at either eLawPros.com or my Car Crash Attorney website.