Supremes refuse to dig up phone brain cancer cases

The US Supreme Court has decided that the customers who feared that their phones could give them brain cancer should be left to the mercy of the FCC.

The Supremes refused to revive a suit against wireless-phone manufacturers and retailers and said that the federal appeals court got it right.

The appeals court said that regulations issued by the Federal Communications Commission trumped lawsuits under state laws by phone consumers, particularly if the FCC had the Mr Bun the Baker card.

Most lower courts who have thought about the situation have come up with similar conclusions.

The suit before the Supremes, filed in Pennsylvania state court, named more than a dozen companies and trade associations as defendants. Named and shamed were Nokia AT&T, Motorola Mobility and Verizon Wireless.

It is worth pointing out that Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer didn’t take part in today’s decision. They both own shares of Nokia.

The appeal looked at the impact of the FCC standards that govern radio frequency emissions and require pre-authorisation of phones sold or leased in the country.

The Philadelphia-based US Circuit Court of Appeals said those rules, first adopted in 1996, pre-empt any additional requirements under state law, including lawsuits.

The Obama administration and the mobile-phone industry asked the Supremes to reject the appeal without a hearing and listen to some light music instead.