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23 May 2020

United States (Georgia): Atty Says Verizon 'Corporate Invasion' Risks COVID-19 Spread

Atty Says Verizon 'Corporate Invasion' Risks COVID-19 Spread
By Hailey Konnathlaw360.com, 21 May 2020

Law360 (May 21, 2020, 10:06 PM EDT) -- An Atlanta attorney claims Verizon Wireless sent subcontractors to his neighborhood in a "corporate invasion" that aims to build a 5G tower in his yard, putting him and his neighbors at risk of contracting COVID-19 from the unmasked workers as well as diseases purportedly linked to 5G.

Bill Kaspers, whose firm Kaspers & Associates Law Offices LLC is in midtown Atlanta, said in his proposed class action that a Verizon subcontractor without a face mask knocked on his door in the Derby Hills neighborhood in late March. Standing just past the doorway — not 6 feet away, as recommended during the pandemic — the subcontractor told Kaspers that Verizon planned to dig a hole in his front yard to put in a pole for a 5G cell radio transmission unit, according to the suit filed in Georgia federal court Tuesday. The case was entered into the court system Thursday.

Kaspers, who's almost 72, said he repeatedly asked the man to step back and maintain at least 6 feet of distance between the two of them, but the subcontractor repeatedly stepped too close. Kaspers then asked him to leave the neighborhood, but he refused until Kaspers said he would call the police, per the complaint. The next week, a Verizon crew came back to dig the hole. Kaspers said he called their suburb's city attorney, who sent a health department official to get the crew to leave the neighborhood.

Kaspers said the subcontractor and crew put him and his neighbors, many of whom are also older, at an elevated risk of contracting the coronavirus. On top of that, he pointed to a number of studies that have purportedly found radiation from a 5G cell unit can cause cancer "and other serious and potentially permanently debilitating health conditions in people of all ages."

"Moreover, the decrease in value of residences near a 5G cell unit is even greater than 20% for residences which are closer/closest to the emanating 5G cell unit," he said, adding that the tower will be roughly 100 feet from the bedrooms in his home.

If Verizon is permitted to install and use the 5G pole in Kasper's yard, he and his neighbors will have to "live in constant fear and dread regarding when and how seriously they will contract the serious and potentially fatal health conditions and problems," he said.

Kasper is alleging unlawful trespass and resulting property devaluation, unlawful taking of property and of the joy and benefits of homeownership, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.

He's looking to represent between 110 and 220 individuals who own homes in the Derby Hills residential area "who have been subjected to threats by defendant Verizon and defendant's installation subcontractor of the installation and operation of 5G high frequency transmission cell units" throughout the neighborhood.

Kasper wants a Georgia federal judge to permanently block Verizon from installing the pole and 5G in his yard. He's also after unspecified damages, attorney fees and court costs.

Kaspers and Verizon representatives didn't immediately return requests for comment late Thursday.

Kaspers is representing himself.

Counsel information for Verizon wasn't immediately available Thursday.

The case is Kaspers v. Verizon Wireless Services LLC, case number 1:20-cv-02142, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

--Editing by Jay Jackson Jr.


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