INSIGHTS On Massachusetts Personal Injury Law

Welcome to the SUGARMAN blog. We'll be sharing our perspectives on the state of the law and current legal issues in Massachusetts personal injury law. Issues relating to medical malpractice, construction site injuries, premises liability, product liability, motor vehicle accidents, insurance, and more will all be reviewed here by our team of lawyers who have prosecuted some of the most complex cases in Massachusetts personal injury law.

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Massachusetts Family and School Reach Agreement in Wi-Fi Lawsuit

An agreement has been reached in the case involving two Massachusetts parents who sued their son’s private school on the grounds that the school’s Wi-Fi was causing their son to become ill. On August 12, 2015, the parents filed a lawsuit against their son’s private school–the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts–alleging that the strength of the school’s Wi-Fi signal is causing their son to suffer an electromagnetic hypersensitive allergic reaction. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, sought $250,000 in damages as well as an injunction that would require the Fay School to hardwire its Internet connection, decrease the strength of the Wi-Fi signal, or make other accommodations for the student. On August 25, 2015, the parties filed a request that the preliminary injunction hearing, originally scheduled for September 4, 2015, be extended until September 25, 2015 in order to work out the specific terms of the undisclosed agreement.

In their complaint, the unnamed plaintiffs (referred to as “Mother” and “Father” in the complaint) contended that beginning in the spring of 2013, their son (referred to as “G” in the complaint) began experiencing headaches, itchiness, and a rash, only while he was present at school. These symptoms allegedly worsened in 2014 when the boy began to suffer bloody noses, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations. The 12-year-old boy has since been diagnosed with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS), which is a condition exacerbated by electromagnetic radiation. While the symptoms associated with EHS are acknowledged in the medical community, there is an ongoing debate about whether EHS is a bona fide medical condition.

The unnamed plaintiffs alleged that their son’s symptoms began when the Fay School installed an updated, more powerful Wi-Fi system in 2013. The parents claim that the signals emitted by the school’s Wi-Fi are stronger than those found in a typical household. In response to the parents’ concerns, the Fay School hired a company to measure and evaluate the strength of the electromagnetic signals on campus. The company found that the radio signal strength on campus was far below the permissible levels promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission. While the nature and extent of the company’s testing and findings remains largely undisclosed, there is a likelihood that it will directly influence the final terms reached in the agreement among the parties.

Given the increasing number of electronics that utilize Wi-Fi signals and emit electromagnetic radiation, specifically smartphones, it may be reasonable to expected an increase in product liability suits (i.e., cell phone radiation lawsuits) in the future. SUGARMAN has extensive experience litigating product liability cases on behalf of those who have been injured. If you have been hurt in an accident and wish to speak to one of our attorneys regarding liability, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at 617-542-1000 or e-mail info@sugarman.com.