Sony Loses Appeal in Prenatal Toxic Exposure Case
In 2012, 12-year-old Dominique Lopez sued Sony Electronics, Inc., because she’d been born with birth defects likely caused by her mother’s long-term exposure to toxic chemicals when she worked at a Sony manufacturing plant.
Her case was dismissed when the judge found it fell outside the six-year statute of limitations for prenatal injuries. However, the California Supreme Court heard Lopez’s appeal and ruled that her case is not subject to the six year statute of limitations.
With this unanimous decision, Lopez can receive her day in court.
Birth Defects Victim Fights Against Court’s Decision
Dominique Lopez was born with multiple permanent birth defects and developmental delays, including facial asymmetry, spinal and organ deformities, and missing chromosomes.
For more than 20 years, including the time she was pregnant, Dominique’s mother was employed at a Sony plant that manufactured televisions. This type of manufacturing often uses chemicals that are classified as toxic and teratogenic, something that causes birth defects. Exposure to these chemicals while she was in the womb, argued Lopez, caused her birth defects, and Sony was liable for the effects of the exposure. Although the initial court ruled that she was outside the statute of limitations on prenatal injury, Lopez argued that they’d used the wrong section of the law and that the correct section, which covers cases based on toxic exposure, offered additional time if the plaintiff is a minor. The Supreme Court agreed that Lopez’s case deserved to be tried under that section of the law.
Electronics Manufacturing Companies Fail to Protect Workers
Toxic and teratogenic chemicals are commonly used in electronics manufacturing, and until nontoxic alternatives are widely available, it is the responsibility of companies to protect their workers.
Once a worker knows she is pregnant, she should be moved to another area of the company as a way to limit her exposure, but this would only be a partial solution. Early pregnancy, that first trimester, is the most critical window of exposure, and many women don’t know they are pregnant for at least part of that time. Additionally, exposure to these chemicals may affect a man’s reproductive health. Without proper protection, all workers in this industry who are of child-bearing age are at risk.
How We Help Birth Defects Victims
Seek justice with the help of our experienced birth defects attorneys. Our alliance of birth defect attorneys has represented people like you affected by birth defects caused by toxic exposure, aggressively fighting the corporate giants who failed to protect vulnerable workers. If you or a loved one were exposed to chemicals while pregnant and now have a child who suffers from a life-altering birth defect like spina bifida, muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, we can help.