Arthur Firstenberg lost what might have been his final round in court Tuesday, when state District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that no scientific study has yet proved that electromagnetic stimulus adversely impacts personal health.
In January 2010, Firstenberg, who has long argued that electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones, smartphones, wireless routers and other apparatus can cause illness, sued his neighbor, Raphaela Monribot, for $1 million over the use of such electronic equipment at Monribot’s west-side home.
Earlier this month, Singleton ruled that Firstenberg could not discern that his anxiety was caused by the presence of electromagnetic stimulus, but she still gave him time to try to prove that he had been damaged in some way.
On Tuesday, her order noted that he “failed to carry his burden of proof that the evidence he seeks to admit is scientifically reliable” and that reliable studies, including one from the World Health Organization, “have failed to provide clear support for a causal relationship between electromagnetic fields and complaints of EMS.” Without evidence of general causation, the order states, “plaintiff cannot prevail; therefore, summary judgment is appropriate.”
Firstenberg complaining he suffered acute effects of electromagnetic stimulus (EMS) whenever he was home that set his health back for days. But he refused a double-blinded test proposed by the defendants to see if EMS really was the reason for his sickness. The defendants reasonably argued that there could be other causes for Firstenberg’s symptoms, which were subjective.
This is a correct call by the judge. Hopefully, it sets a precedent for other such cases. There is an easy test. The burden of proof is on the claimant to show that this is a genuine illness.