Judge Puts IBM Lawsuits On Hold

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- More than 40 lawsuits against IBM Corp. are on hold after a judge ordered the parties to try settling the disputes.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Robert Baines issued the written order just days after a jury ruled the computer giant was not responsible for the cancers that developed in two former employees at a disk drive plant in San Jose.

Baines on Monday suspended 44 cases in the area against IBM and told the parties to meet with an arbitrator.

"There was a clear response that these cases are meritless and it's a waste of time to pursue them any further," said IBM attorney Mary Ellen Powers.

Richard Alexander, the lead attorney for all San Jose plaintiffs, conceded that Baines' decision was in part influenced by last week's jury verdict in favor of IBM. He said it was a good time for everyone to reappraise the cases.

On Tuesday, IBM settled a lawsuit in New York that alleged a woman's severe birth defects were caused by her mother's working conditions.

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