Taipei-The Taipei District Court on Friday ruled in favor of former employees of Radio Corp. of America (RCA) and three of its affiliates, awarding the claimants a total of about NT$2.3 billion (NT$76.39 million) in a class action lawsuit.
RCA, Thomson Consumer Electronics (Bermuda), and Technicolor SA were ordered to pay NT$2.33 billion, while General Electric Co.'s (GE) was ordered to pay NT$2.285 billion, the court ruled.
However, in its ruling, the court said that if any one of the companies or a combination of some of the companies paid the NT$2.3 billion award, the other companies would not have to pay.
In its statement summarizing the verdict, the court did not make clear why each company was assessed a fine individually but only one or more of the four defendants had to pay it.
The 1,115 claimants, who are former employees and relatives of deceased or injured workers, were seeking compensation for health damage caused by exposure to harmful chemicals at the four companies.
RCA, which was operating an electronics appliance factory in Taoyuan 1970-1992, was found liable for the illnesses, including cancer, contracted by its employees due to exposure to some 30 types of organic solvents, including the carcinogen trichloroethylene.
The company was also found to have been dumping toxic waste close to its factory, contaminating the soil and underground water.
RCA was acquired by GE in 1986, and that company was later acquired by Thomson and is now is called Technicolor.
Friday's award of NT$2.3 billion in damages followed a Supreme Court ruling in August 2018, which ordered the four companies to pay a total of NT$564.45 million to 262 former employees and relatives of deceased workers.
Another 246 plaintiffs in that same case were not granted any compensation, and their case was sent back to the High Court, where it is now awaiting trial.
The ruling on Friday by the Taipei District Court can be appealed.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel