In re Wireless Telephone Radio Frequency Emissions

Decision Date19 July 2004
Docket NumberNo. CIV. CCB-02-4052.,No. CIV. CCB-02-4047.,No. CIV. CCB-02-4050.,No. CIV. CCB-02-4048.,No. CIV. CCB-02-4049.,No. CIV. 01-MD-1421.,No. MDL. 1421.,No. CIV. CCB-02-4051.,MDL. 1421.,CIV. 01-MD-1421.,CIV. CCB-02-4047.,CIV. CCB-02-4048.,CIV. CCB-02-4049.,CIV. CCB-02-4050.,CIV. CCB-02-4051.,CIV. CCB-02-4052.
Citation327 F.Supp.2d 554
PartiesIn re WIRELESS TELEPHONE RADIO FREQUENCY EMISSIONS PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION Murray, et al. v. Motorola, Inc. et al. (D.D.C.) Schofield v. Matsushita Electric, et al. (D.D.C.) Cochran, et al. v. Audiovox Corp., et al. (D.D.C.) Keller, et al. v. Nokia, Inc., et al. (D.D.C.) Schwamb, et al. v. Qualcomm, et al. (D.D.C.) Agro, et al. v. Motorola, Inc., et al. (D.D.C.)
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Maryland

Peter G. Angelos, Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, Baltimore, MD, for Patricia S. Colonell.

Ray M. Aragon, Raymond B. Biagini, McKenna Long and Aldridge LLP, Washington, DC, for Philips Electronic North America Corp.

Charles L. Babcock, Ryan C. Wirtz. David T. Moran, Jackson Walker LLP, Dallas, TX, Gregg Lewis Bernstein, Zuckermann Spaeder, LLP, Baltimore, MD, Denis J. Charlesworth, Ward Norris Heller and Reidy LLP, Rochester, NY, for Ericsson Wireless Communications, Inc.

Stewart A. Baker, Thomas M. Barba, Jennifer Quinn Barabanov, Stephen Anthony Fennell, Steptoe and Johnson LLP, Washington, DC, for AT&T Corp.

John Beisner, O'Melveny and Myers LLP, Washington, DC, Laura Owens, Alston and Bird, LLP, Atlanta, GA, Paul Farrell Strain, Venable Baetjer amd Howard, LLP, Baltimore, MD, for Verizon Communication, Inc.

Sheila L. Birnbaum, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom, LLP, New York City, Patrick R. Buckler, Law Office of McGuire Woods LLP, Baltimore, MD, Ronald M. Cherry, Law Offices of Ronald M. Cherry, Towson, MD, Edward M. Crane, David L. Hansel, Jr., Skaden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom LLP, Chicago, IL, for Nextel Communications, Inc.

Brian Paul Brooks, O'Melveny and Myers LLP, Washington, DC, Scott Elder, Jane Fugate Thorpe, Alston and Bird, LLP, M. King Hill, III, Venable Baerjer and Howard, LLP, Towson, MD, John Henry Lewin, Jr., Venable, Jr., Baltimore, MD, for Cellco Partnership.

Francis A. Citera, Greenberg Traurig, PPC, Chicago, IL, George C. Doub, III, George Cochran Doub, Jr., William H. Murphy, III, George C. Doub PC, Baltimore, MD, William Hughes Murphy, Jr., William H. Murphy, JR and Associates PA, Baltiomore, MD, for Qualcomm Inc.

Leslie Rae Cohen, Mark H. Kolman, Dickstein Shapiro Morin and Oshinsky LLP, for Audiovox Communications Corp.

Matthew T. Covell, Kevin B. Getzendanner, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, Atlanta, GA, for Mitsubishi Wireless Communications Inc.

Richard Alan Dean, Tucker Ellis & West, LLP, Cleveland, OH, Charles L. Perry, Arter and Hadden, LLP, Dallas, TX, for Cellular One Group.

Seamus C. Duffy, Drinker Biddle and Reath, Philadelphia, PA, for Comcast/Metrophone.

Burton Finkelstein, Richard Maxwell Volin, Finkelstein Thompson and Loughran, Washington, DC, for Sarah Dahlgren.

James A. Frederick, Office of U.S. Atty., Baltimore, MD, Charles P. Goodell, Jr., Goodell DeVries Leech and Dann LLP, Baltimore, MD, Tamar B. Kelber, James W. Mizgala, Eugene A. Schoon, Sidley Austin Brown and Wood, Chicago, IL, for VoiceStream Wireless Corp.

Paul E. Freehling, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL, for Telecommunication Industry Ass'n.

Winn C. Friddell, John J. Nagle, III, Bodie Nagle Dolina Smith and Hobbs PA, Towson, MD, Elwood E. Swam, Hampstead, MD, for C.E.I., Inc.

Adam Gonnelli, Faruqi and Faruqi, LLP, New York City, Carl B. Hillard, Jr., Law Office of Carl B. Hillard, Jr., Del Mar, CA, for Gibb Brower.

Scott A. Hanfling, Steven M. Laduzinsky, Kane Laduzinsky and Mendoza Ltd., Chicago, IL, for Cellular Telecommunications And Internet Ass'n.

Colleen A. Hartman, Steven J. Hewitson, Daniel S. Reinhardt, Troutman Sanders LLP, Atlanta, GA, for Southern Telecom, Inc.

Mark F. Horning, Steptoe and Johnson, LLP, Washington, DC, for AT&T Corp.

H. Thomas Howell, Howell and Getelym Baltimore, MD, for J. Douglas Pinney.

James B. Irwin, Brian P. Quirk, Irwin Fritchie Urquhart and Moore, LLC, New Orleans, LA, James P. Ulwick, Kramon and Graham, Baltimore, MD, for NEC America, Inc.

John Bucher Isbister, Tydings and Rosenberg, LLP, Baltimore, MD, Steven M. Zager, Akin Gump Strauss Haer and Feld, LLP, Austin, TX, Austin Tighe, Brobeck Phleger and Harrison LLP, Austin, TX, for Nokia, Inc.

Mark J. Jeansonne, Milling Benson Woodward, New Orleans, LA, John A. Stewart, Jr., Hulse and Wanek, New Orleans, LA, for Radifone.

Paul D. Krause, Laura Nachowitz Steel, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman and Dicker, LLP, Washington, DC, for Matsushita Corp. of Americ.

Daniel R. Lanier, Alicia C. Reynolds, Miles and Stockbridge PC, Baltimore, MD, Paul H. Vishny, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL, Nicole B d Arcambal, D Ancona and Pflaum LLC, Chicago, IL, for Telecommunication Industry Ass'n.

Glenn Edward Mintzer, Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, Baltimore, MD, for Linda Barrell.

Michael D. Moeller, Paul S. Schleifman, Shook Hardy and Bacon, LLP, Washington, DC, J. Stan Sexton, Shook Hardy and Bacon LLP, Kansas City, MO, for Sprint PCS Ltd. Partnership.

Mayer Morganroth, Morganroth and Morganroth, PLLC, Southfield, MI, for Baldassare S. Agro.

Maureen E. Murphy, Murphy and Murphy LLC, Baltimore, MD, for Baltimore Business communications Inc.

John A. Pica, Jr., John A. Pica Jr PC, Annapolis, MD, H. Russell Smouse, Law Office of Peter G. Angelos, Baltimore, MD, for Patricia S. Colonell.

Tracy Diana Rezvani, Finkelstein Thompson and Loughran, Washington, DC, for Sarah Dahlgren.

Curtis S. Renner, Thomas C. Watson, Watson and Renner, Washington, DC, for Cingular Wireless.

Ralph A. Taylor, Jr., Bruce Kenneth Trauben, Dorsey and Whitney LLP, Washington, DC, for Institute of Electrical amd Electronic Engineers, Inc. Kenneth L. Thompson, Michael E. Yaggy, Piper Rudnick LLP, Baltimore, MD, for Motorola Inc.

Harold M. Walter, Tydings and Rosenberg LLP, Baltimore, MD, for Samsung Electronics America, Inc.

Michael Weinstock, Weinstock and Scavo PC, Atlanta, GA, for Riedy Gimpelson.

Andrew M. Winick, Brown and Sheehan LLP, Baltimore, MD, for Sanyo North America, Inc.

MEMORANDUM

BLAKE, District Judge.

On June 21, 2002, a consolidated and renewed motion for remand filed in the Pinney, Farina, Gilliam, Gimpelson, and Naquin actions in this multidistrict litigation was denied.1 I held that federal question jurisdiction supported removal based on the substantial federal question doctrine. In re Wireless Tel. Radio Frequency Emissions Prods. Liab. Litig., 216 F.Supp.2d 474 (D.Md.2002).2 The prior remand decision did not address similar motions to remand now pending in the Murray, Schofield, Cochran, Keller, Schwamb, and Agro actions.3 The plaintiffs filed these suits in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, alleging state statutory and common law claims. The defendants filed notices of removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b), asserting federal jurisdiction under several different theories, and the cases were removed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.4 The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation subsequently transferred the cases to this court. The issues in the plaintiffs' motions to remand have been fully briefed and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6.5

As with the Pinney complaints, the crux of the Morganroth complaints is that the defendants have negligently and fraudulently endangered consumers by providing wireless cell phones that emit unsafe levels of radio frequency radiation ("RFR"). The Morganroth complaints assert similar causes of action to those raised in the Pinney complaints: (1) intentional fraud and misrepresentation; (2) negligent misrepresentation; (3) strict product liability, and product liability for failure to warn and design defect; (4) negligence; (5) breach of express and implied warranties; (6) civil conspiracy; (7) violations of the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Act of 2000; and (8) civil battery.6 Unlike the Pinney plaintiffs, however, the lead plaintiffs in the Morganroth complaints have been diagnosed with brain cancer, which they attribute to exposure to RFR from the use of their cell phones.7 While the Pinney plaintiffs' requests for relief were focused on the provision of headsets for use with their cell phones,8 the Morganroth plaintiffs seek compensatory and consequential damages for the lead plaintiffs' brain injuries. Based on these critical factual differences, I will grant the plaintiffs' motions to remand the Morganroth actions to the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.9

BACKGROUND

The comprehensive federal regulatory scheme governing the licensing and RFR emissions of cell phones was discussed in the court's earlier remand decision and need not be repeated in full here. See Wireless Tel., 216 F.Supp.2d at 482-87. Most pertinent to this litigation, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") has issued regulations which set a maximum localized specific absorption rate ("SAR") for RFR emissions from cell phones, require cell phone manufacturers to perform routine environmental evaluation for RFR emissions prior to equipment authorization or use, and allow manufacturers to demonstrate compliance by "laboratory measurement techniques or by computational modeling." See 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.1091, 2.1093.10 These regulations were adopted under authority derived from the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 ("NEPA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq., as well as the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub.L. No. 104-104, § 704(b), 110 Stat. 56, 152. They are part of a comprehensive regulatory scheme which authorizes the FCC to set technical standards for wireless telecommunications, in order to achieve nationwide compatibility and to foster the growth of wireless services. See Wireless Tel., 216 F.Supp.2d at 483-84.

The regulations on RFR emissions were issued by the FCC after careful...

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    • October 29, 2009
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