By Trisha Marczak-Taurinskas | Jul 18, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO –– The Supreme Court of California allowed a lawsuit against Sony Electronics Inc. over birth defects to move forward on July 5.

The lawsuit alleges the company is responsible for birth defects resulting from a mother’s exposure to toxic chemicals while working at the company’s plant. 

The Supreme Court decision reverses an appellate court's 2012 judgement that ruled the complaint was time-barred under the statute of limitations for birth and prenatal injuries. California's high court, however, decided the limitations period is tolled while the plaintiff is a minor, and thus, the claims are not time-barred. 

Dominique Lopez sued Sony Electronics Inc. in 2012, at the age of 12, alleging her birth defects resulted from her mother’s exposure to toxic chemicals as an employee of the electronics company. Her mother worked at a manufacturing plant for more than 20 years, allegedly alongside teratogenic and reproductively toxic chemicals.

Lopez was born with multiple birth defects, including chromosomal deletion, cervical vertebrae fusion, facial asymmetry, dysplastic nails, diverticulum of the bladder and a misshapen kidney.

Sony initially argued the lawsuit was time-barred, because it fell after the six-year statute of limitations for birth defect injuries. 

But Lopez's mother said her case fell under another state statute relating to injuries covered by exposure to toxic chemicals. That statute of limitations is only two years, but takes into account a tolling period for mental incapacity. 

The state Supreme Court sided with Lopez and her mother.

The case will now go back to the trial court.

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