Sarina Finzer and Jeremy Hardison were born with severe birth defects. Their disabilities were claimed to have been caused in utero by their fathers’ exposure to toxic chemical fumes and airborne substances during their employment at Motorola Inc.’s semiconductor manufacturing plants in Arizona and Texas. The parents of these children are seeking damages, suing Motorola for (1) negligence, (2) strict tort liability, (3) breach of an assumed duty, (4) willful and wanton misconduct, and (5) loss of child consortium relating to the children’s birth defects and impairment to the parent-child relationship.
At the trial court level, it was found that plaintiffs could prove no set of facts that would entitle them to relief and thus the trial judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint pursuant to Section 2-615 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.
The plaintiffs appealed the dismissal, asserting that the trial judge erred in finding that (1) the exclusive remedy provision of the respective state workers’ compensation laws barred their claims, (2) no duty was owed to a not-yet conceived child, and (3) proximate cause could not be established as a matter of law, given that the fathers did not sustain an injury. Plaintiffs also claimed that the trial court erred in dismissing the willful and wanton misconduct count and the plaintiffs’ loss of child consortium count, which depended on pleading a viable cause of action for negligence.