November 8, 2007 – Advanced Micro Devices and a regional medical association that claims to treat 15 percent of Austin-area residents are responsible for multiple birth defects in an Austin youth born with a missing lower right arm and lifelong cognitive deficits, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Travis County District Court.
AUSTIN, Texas, November 8, 2007 – Advanced Micro Devices (“AMD”) and a regional medical association that claims to treat 15 percent of Austin-area residents are responsible for multiple birth defects in an Austin youth born with a missing lower right arm and lifelong cognitive deficits, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Travis County District Court.
The youth’s mother, a former AMD “clean room” employee, was wrongfully exposed to birth defect-causing hazardous chemicals during her pregnancy. AMD knowingly failed to protect its workers from hazardous chemicals, according to the Petition. The Petition also includes medical malpractice allegations against a family/occupational health practitioner and an OBGYN specialist at Austin Regional Clinic, P.A. (“ARC”), an AMD contractor. 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.
Austin resident Maria Ruiz, an AMD employee who worked in the technology company’s “Fab 14” clean room from 1988 to 2002, was exposed to a host of toxic chemicals, including ethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate and 2-ethoxyethyl acetate which caused the birth defects in her son, Ryan. On at least two occasions during her employment, Ruiz required medical care due to inhaling chemical fumes, the lawsuit states.
In 1991, after an AMD-required physical exam conducted by ARC, the manufacturer’s occupational health contractor, Ruiz discovered she was pregnant. Dr. Marking, who made the pregnancy diagnosis, and Dr. Cox, who treated her during that pregnancy, failed to warn Ruiz of the dangers from the manufacturing chemicals. Ruiz inquired about the health risks from working in the cleanroom during her pregnancy, but AMD responded by returning her to Fab 14, according to the lawsuit.
Ryan Ruiz suffered multiple birth defects, including a missing right arm below his elbow, brain injury, and cognitive deficits. “He has suffered and will continue to suffer significant developmental impairments requiring special education needs,” and “will continue to suffer great mental pain and anguish, disfigurement and physical impairment, and has and will incur costs, including medical and special education expenses,” the Petition states.
AMD, ARC, and Drs. Marking and Cox negligently exposed Maria and Ryan Ruiz to “an abnormally dangerous and ultra-hazardous activity,” according to the lawsuit. The defendants also “failed to warn or advise Mrs. Ruiz of the dangers of AMD’s premises and the chemicals it used,” it is alleged.
Levy Konigsberg LLP represented plaintiffs in similar litigation against IBM where workers, also employed in “clean rooms,” gave birth to children with severe defects. Those cases were settled before reaching trial.
The five-count Petition charges negligence, breach of warranty, fraud and fraudulent concealment, and misrepresentation, Exemplary damages also are sought in the suit, according to David C. Strouss, Esq., of Boston, Massachusetts-based Thornton & Naumes, LLP, also co-counsel in the case.
Ryan Ruiz, who turned 16 on October 31st, is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Austin-area television viewers recently have been seeing commercials seeking persons with knowledge of the clean rooms and semiconductor wafer manufacturing at AMD in Austin to contact Allison & Ward, L.L.P., as part of the pre-discovery process as the case moves through the court system.