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Court kicks back phone radiation cases

Appeals court kicks back to state courts five lawsuits alleging Nokia failed to warn that cell phones emit "unsafe" radiation.

Five lawsuits alleging Nokia failed to warn that cell phones emit "unsafe" radiation were kicked back to state courts, following a federal appeals court decision this week.

The U.S. Appeals Court for the Fourth District returned the cases to state courts because they lacked federal issues. The ruling did not reach a conclusion on the merits of the cases or whether cell phones are a health hazard.

The five lawsuits allege that mobile phones emit unsafe levels of radio frequency radiation and that Nokia has put the public at risk by marketing the devices without headsets.

Although the cases were filed in state courts in Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania, they were consolidated and filed with a federal district court in Maryland. That court dismissed all five cases on the grounds that their state law claims were preempted by the Federal Communications Act.

The plaintiffs appealed the district court's decision and asked that their respective cases be returned to the state courts, where they will now be heard.