JACOB MEYERS, by his natural mother and next friend JANNA LYNN MYERS, and individually, Plaintiffs,
INTEL CORPORATION, Defendant.
Submitted: October 16, 2014
Upon Defendant's Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings with Regard to Plaintiffs' Request for Punitive Damages: DENIED.
J. Zachary Haupt, Esquire (argued) and Ian Connor Bifferato, Esquire, Bifferato
LLC, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.
Somers S. Price, Jr., Esquire and James M. Kron, Esquire, Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP, Wilmington, Patrick W. Dennis (pro hac vice) (argued), Perlete Michèle Jura (pro hac vice), and Beth A. Coombs (pro hac vice), Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Attorneys for Defendant.
JAN R. JURDEN, PRESIDENT JUDGE
Before the Court is Defendant Intel Corporation's ("Intel") Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings with Regard to Plaintiffs' Request for Punitive Damages. Intel argues that Plaintiffs' request for punitive or exemplary damagesis untimely because under Colorado law exemplary damages may not be included in any initial claim for relief. Additionally, Intel contends that Plaintiffs do not presently have a legal or factual basis for requesting exemplary damages in their First Amended Complaint because they have not established prima facie proof of a triable issue, as required under Colorado law.
Jacob Meyers ("Jacob") was born in Colorado on April 19, 2002, with severe birth defects,  including partial agenesis of the corpus callosum and hydrocephalus. Plaintiffs allege Jacob's birth defects were caused by "wrongful exposures to hazardous, genotoxic and reproductively toxic substances, pollutants or contaminants, " during Jacob's parents' ("Parents") employment with Intel, especially while Jacob was in utero. Although only Jacob's mother, Janna Meyers ("Mother"), is a party plaintiff, both Parents worked for Intel at its semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Oregon and Colorado.
During Parents' employment with Intel, they worked in and around "clean rooms" and elsewhere at Intel's facilities where semiconductor "wafers, " "microchips, " and "boards" were manufactured for use in computers. Plaintiffs allege Intel exposed Parents and Jacob in utero to several allegedly "reproductively toxic chemicals, processes, and/or substances, " including gallium arsenide and trichloroethylene,  and that several chemicals used by Intel are known in the semiconductor industry to cause reproductive harm and lead to "adverse reproductive outcomes, " such as spontaneous abortion, still birth, malformations, and birth defects. Plaintiffs further allege their exposure and Jacob's resulting injuries were foreseeable, and could or should have been anticipated by Intel.
Among other things, Plaintiffs allege Intel: failed to configure ventilation systems to protect against inhalation and/or skin exposure; failed to warn its workers of the dangerous characteristics of the chemicals and substances and the health threats that they posed; failed to test and study the chemicals to fully appreciate their capacity to cause reproductive harm; made representations "incorrectly and untruthfully" that the chemicals and substances were safe and suitable for use; assured its workers, including Parents, that adequate protections were in place to prevent any harm to them or their future offspring; failed to meet "good occupational medicine practice" obligations within the semiconductor industry; and, concealed from Parents that contact with these chemicals and substances posed severe health hazards to their offspring.
Plaintiffs expressly state in the FAC that they "do not allege direct injuries or causes of action by the Parents or [Mother]. Rather [Mother's] claims are  derivative of the direct claims by [Jacob] and against Defendants [sic]." Further, Plaintiffs expressly allege "[a]ny exposure by the Parents or [Mother …] that contributed to, caused or resulted in the injuries to [Jacob] did not manifest damage to [Mother] until her child was born with injuries caused by the exposures."
Based on the above exposure to Parents and Jacob in utero, Plaintiffs assert claims of: (1) negligence, (2) premises liability, (3) strict liability, (4) abnormally dangerous/ultra hazardous activity, (5) willful, wanton, and intentional ...