An employer may be responsible for birth defects allegedly caused by its workers’ exposure to toxic chemicals, a state appeals court in Illinois has ruled.

The case involves Marcus Ledeaux and Enrique Daniel Araballo, each of whom had a parent who worked at a Motorola semiconductor manufacturing facility in Arizona.

Ledeaux’s father worked at the facility from 1980 to 2002. Marcus was born in 1997, and he has been diagnosed with autism, cerebral palsy, a brain disorder, and paralysis.

Araballo’s mother worked at the facility before his birth in 1985. He was born with a genetic disorder that is associated with the formation of tumors, and he has epilepsy, autism, and other health issues.

Ledeaux and Araballo sued Motorola, alleging negligence, parental loss of child consortium, and willful and wanton misconduct.


Lower Court’s Ruling Reversed

A lower court ruled for Motorola, finding it did not owe the plaintiffs a duty under applicable state law. Ledeaux and Araballo filed an appeal.

A state intermediate appeals court reversed the lower court’s ruling. It revived the claims raised, stating that a question of fact exists on whether, by developing a reproductive health policy, Motorola undertook a duty to exercise reasonable care with respect to it.

The court said that in light of the conflicting evidence, a trier of fact must resolve the question of whether the workers’ exposure to the chemicals increased their risk of having offspring with birth defects. A question also exists as to whether the exposure actually and proximately caused the birth defects.

This case is still ongoing.

About the Author


Pete Nemmers

Pete Nemmers serves as NASP’s Director of Training Development, bringing a wealth of expertise to the organization. With a background rooted in safety and training, Pete plays a pivotal role in shaping the training programs offered by NASP. Pete ensures that NASP remains at the forefront of safety education, equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate and excel in the dynamic field of safety.
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