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8 JOURNALISTS SUE COMPUTER MAKER FOR INJURIES

Eight journalists filed a $270 million lawsuit against a computer maker on Friday, contending they suffered disabling injuries from using the company's word processors in newsrooms.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, charged that Atex Publishing Systems, a subsidiary of the Eastman Kodak Co., was negligent in marketing the computers and had failed to warn users of the dangers or to develop substitute systems.It also alleged that the company "ignored, suppressed or disregarded" medical studies about "the causal relationship between the repetitive use of computer systems and cumulative trauma disorders."

The journalists, each seeking $20 million in punitive damages and $10 million in compensatory damages, included two from Newsday, two from American Banker and individual staffers at The Associated Press, New York Newsday, The Village Voice and Discount Store News.

Three spouses also asked $10 million each for loss of companionship, bringing the total number of plaintiffs to 11.

None of the employers was named as a defendant. Ruth Marcus, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said New York state law provides that workers cannot sue employers for work-related injuries but must pursue such claims through workmen's compensation.

Eastman Kodak spokesman John Labella said the company had no comment, "as our attorneys have not yet seen the suit."

It was the second lawsuit filed in New York this month against the company, which manufactures computer systems designed for use in newsrooms. Three reporters and an editor at New York Newsday demanded $40 million in a negligence suit filed June 4 in Manhattan Supreme Court, the newspaper reported Friday.

The suit alleged the eight journalists "developed and suffered severe, permanent and disabling cumulative trauma disorders, as well as psychological injuries," from repeated use of the Atex video display terminals.

It said cumulative trauma disorders included "repetitive strain injuries, musculoskeletal and nerve disorders, upper extremity pain syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and other injuries to the upper extremities."