Suit says IBM dumped chemicals in New York state

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Neighbors of a former IBM plant in New York state sued the company on Thursday, saying it released chemicals into the air, ground and water for nearly 80 years that caused birth defects and cancer.

Some 90 residents of the upstate New York towns of Endicott and Union say that from 1924 to 2002, IBM dumped chemicals including trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene near the Endicott plant where the computer giant was born.

They seek unspecified damages, according to the suit filed in Broome County Superior Court.

“IBM will defend itself vigorously against these claims that have no merit in science,” company spokesman Michael Maloney said.

The lawsuit is the first of several planned against IBM by nearly 1,000 people who say they have been harmed by the chemicals, lawyers for the plaintiffs said.

IBM began at Endicott, where it built everything from typewriters to mainframe computers. It sold the plant in 2002.

Reporting by Dan Wilchins in New York and Philipp Gollner in San Francisco; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Xavier Briand