The suit alleges that a worker at one of the company's chip-manufacturing plants was exposed to birth defect-causing hazardous chemicals during her pregnancy.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

November 8, 2007

2 Min Read

LONDON — Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) and a regional medical association have been accused of being responsible for birth defects in an Austin, Texas, youth born with a missing lower right arm and lifelong cognitive deficits, in a lawsuit filed yesterday in Travis County District Court.

The youth is Ryan Ruiz who turned 16 on Oct. 31. His mother, Maria Ruiz, worked in AMD's Fab 14 clean room from 1988 to 2002, 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 S. 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 (New York) who represented litigants in a similar case against IBM that were settled before reaching trial.

The Ruiz versus AMD lawsuit alleges Maria 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 Maria 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 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 Ruiz 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 Steven Phillips of Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP, co-counsel in the case. Levy Phillips & 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 are being sought in the suit. Austin-area television 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.

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