Homeowner's 'electromagnetic hypersensitivity' suit against neighbor fails on appeal

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A homeowner who claimed he suffered “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” as a result of his neighbor’s cellphone and Wi-Fi has lost an appeal.

A trial court had tossed the $1.43 million suit filed in 2010 by Arthur Firstenberg, and the New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld the decision in a March 5 opinion (PDF).

A New York Times article questions why the suit wasn’t resolved sooner. “From the perspective of science,” the article says, “the likelihood of the rays somehow causing harm is about as strong as the evidence for ESP.”

Firstenberg says he has been collecting Social Security disability benefits since 1992 based on his chemical and electromagnetic sensitivities, the appeals court opinion said. He asked his neighbor, Raphaela Monribot, to replace her dimmer switches, use a land line instead of a cellphone, turn off her Wi-Fi, and unplug her computer at night. He even offered her $10,000 to comply with his requests, but she refused.

His suit claimed Monribot’s use of electronic devices made his home difficult to inhabit and caused years of chronic pain. A trial judge tossed the case in 2012 after finding Firstenberg could not demonstrate that exposure to electromagnetic fields caused his health problems. The appeals court found no abuse of discretion.

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