For those of you who are fans of Michael McKean of This is Spinal Tap (lead singer David St. Hubbins…remember?), you know that he has a recurring role as Saul Goodman’s brother Chuck, on AMC’s hit show Better Call Saul. Chuck is an x-Big Law partner who is convinced he has electromagnetic sensitivity. So he says in a dark, electricity free house wrapped in a big foil space blanket. Art does, however, imitate fiction, as there are folks who live in communes in the US and Europe that are totally removed from any electromagnetic radiation from things like cell phones, garage door openers, and wifi.
If you are thinking “lawsuit”, well, we have the case for you. On March 5, 2015, The Court of Appeals for the State of New Mexico held that there is no cognizable nuisance or tort claim for the alleged physical harm caused by your neighbor’s use of cell phones, dimmer switches, or wifi. The lawsuit out of New Mexico (Firstenberg v. Monribot), involved an allegedly electromagnetic hypersensitive plaintiff’s claim for $1.43 million in damages and injunctive relief due the alleged harm caused by his neighbors persistent use of electronic devices that emit electromagnetic fields.
. . . there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure.
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is a purported condition in which people believe that many common health conditions are caused by their everyday exposure to electronic devices that emit electromagnetic fields (EMF). In recent years, multiple organizations, and even EMF free communities have arisen out of the fear that electromagnetic frequencies are somehow harmful to humans. One of those organizations, the Cellular Phone Taskforce, was founded by the Plaintiff in Firstenberg v. Monribot and attributes approximately 75 common physical symptoms and conditions to exposure to electromagnetic fields.
The Court cited a study conducted in 2010 looking at 46 blind or double-blind studies involving individuals that claimed EHS, concluded that no concrete evidence could be found to support the disease. The World Health Organization, has similarly concluded that, though individuals claiming EHS exhibit real symptoms, “there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure.” Following suit, the District Court in Firstenberg v. Monribot reviewed the evidence provided by Mr. Firstenberg and dismissed the case partially due to a lack of scientific support for the claimed correlation between the symptoms of EHS and exposure to electromagnetic fields. On March 5, 2015, the Court of Appeals affirmed that decision finding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding scientific evidence or dismissing the case. Although Mr. Firstenberg could not get past summary judgment he has been collecting social security disability benefits for his claimed disease since 1992.