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Mobile Phone Firms Face Fresh Suits Over Tumors

By Richard Baum

LONDON (Reuters) – Mobile phone companies are facing fresh legal action from brain tumor victims in the United States, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Britain’s Times newspaper said Peter Angelos, a U.S. lawyer who recently helped win $4.2 billion in damages from the tobacco industry, was planning to launch 10 claims against handset manufacturers, mobile network operators and fixed-line phone companies.

Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile operator, will be named in nearly all of the actions, the newspaper said.

The news comes amid continued concern among some mobile phone users that radiation from handsets could cause brain tumors, despite research that has failed to find any link.

Britain’s Vodafone Group Plc, which owns 45 percent of Verizon, said UK government-sponsored research published this year gave mobile phones a clean bill of health.

Company spokesman Mike Caldwell said he did not know of any legal cases that named Vodafone directly, but it would defend itself very vigorously if necessary.

“The mobile phone industry is not the tobacco industry,” he told BBC Radio.

A Maryland neurologist filed an $800 million lawsuit against handset maker Motorola Inc. in August as well as eight other telecommunications companies and organizations, claiming that his use of cellphones caused a malignant brain tumor.

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