Pact Settles IBM Worker Health Lawsuits

June 23, 2004 ( - IBM has settled 50 lawsuits filed by former California factory workers claiming the giant computer maker was liable for their health problems because of their exposure to chemicals.

An IBM spokesman said details of the settlements were confidential, according to a Reuters report. In March, California Superior Court Judge Robert Baines of the Santa Clara County Superior Court ordered the parties in the 50 California cases in to find a mediator to “assist the parties in renewed settlement discussions.”

A California jury in February cleared IBM of liability in a lawsuit brought by two former workers, who said their exposure to chemicals in a computer disk drive factory made them sick and ultimately gave them cancer. The cases were the first of a wave of around 200 cancer or birth defect cases across the country involving current and former IBM employees that were due to go to trial.

IBM still faces about 110 worker health lawsuits in New York. One of the New York cases, involving a former employee who blamed exposure to workplace chemicals during her pregnancy for her daughter’s birth defects, was settled in March.