Anybody can sue anyone on their own without an attorney, i.e. 'pro se', no matter the amount or cause of action.
However, in your post, there is a link in the article that says,
"The lawsuit was filed Jan. 4 at the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe. Firstenberg’s attorney, Lindsay Lovejoy, Jr, is a graduate of Harvard and Yale, as well as a former Assistant New Mexico Assistant Attorney General who has argued cases alongside now-US Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM."
As the saying goes, 99% of attorney give the rest of us a bad name.
While we all know the suit is stupid, it's unlikely that judge would determine it to actually be 'frivolous' to the degree that the attorney would get sanctioned and finded. The arguement would be 'the defendent's emmisions of electromagnetic waves are hurting my client' - which may or may not be true; though, considering it's an iPhone and not an unregulated proton colider, we all know it probably ain't so. Remember that Eddie Murphy moviem, Distinguished Gentlemen? They were trying to push that EMFs from power lines cause cancer. Which if true, would make the people who work at power plants (the foremost authorites on electricty) really freakin' stupid as their cancer rates would be astronomical.
I think attorneys have the moral obligation to not agree to file stupid lawsuits, even if they are not non-meritourious, but that's just me. Theoretically, as personal injury cases are usually on a contigency basis (attorney only gets paid if the plantiff gets money), this should reduce cases to only 'real' ones, but as litigation is so expensive, many defendents find it cheaper to settle than to fight. Unfortunatly, courts are kind of limited in being able to award attorenys' fees to the defendent if they win. I'm not saying we should have a 'loser pays 100% of the time' system, but I think judges (not so much for juries) should have more leway, even if a case isn't truely frivolous.
Anywho, have to the case in point; so, the judge here would probably say,as the determiner of law, that it's not an invalid cause of action. Determinations of facts could go to a jury, but, as there is no constiutional right to have a trial by jury in civil cases (legal factoid of the day!), the judge could be the determiner of fact. Regardless, it could survive summary judgement and go to trial.
I can't remember which state it is, but some legislatures want warning on cell phones that they may cause cancer, even though no tests have ever shown that to be true - but they want it 'just in case'.
From: Jason Service <ser...@gmail.com>
Sent: Mon, January 11, 2010 1:48:54 PM
Subject: Re: Re: [The Unique Geek] Santa Fe man demands half a mill for being near iPhone • The Register