In Which the Courts Confront "Junk Science"
FOUR-YEAR-OLD MALLORY was suffering from Wilms' tumor, a rare kidney cancer. Her mother, Michelle, was tormented, as the parents of children stricken by cancer must always be, by the "Why my child?" question. She met Paul Brodeur in a San Diego bookstore owned by Brodeur's wife. It was the spring of 1990, and Brodeur was there promoting his new book, Currents of Death. The cause of little Mallory's tumor, he told Michelle, must surely be EMF. He introduced her to Michael Withey, a Seattle lawyer who had tried EMF cases. A year later Michelle and her husband Ted filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court alleging that EMF from nearby San Diego Gas & Electric transmission lines was the cause of Mallory's cancer and had compelled them to sell their home at a loss.