SEOUL, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Samsung Electronics Co. is at fault for the deaths from acute leukemia of two of its employees, a South Korean appellate court ruled Thursday.
The decision upheld a 2011 ruling by the Seoul Administrative Court, which blamed Samsung in the deaths of two female employees who worked on a semiconductor production line. The decision was the first linking leukemia to cancer-causing substances present at Samsung manufacturing facilities.
Samsung was ordered to pay compensation to the victims' families.
"During their work, Hwang and Lee (the surnames of the victims) are likely to have had exposure to cancer-causing substances like benzene or radiation. Although the process of how they got the disease was not medically or scientifically verified, it is possible to assume the correlation between their work and their leukemia," the court said.
Hwang died in 2007 at age 23, and Lee, 30, died in 2006, each of acute myeloid leukemia after working in Samsung's Yongin, South Korea factory.
Samsung appealed the original ruling, despite offering apologies for the employees' deaths and promising to compensate their families, while admitting, in a statement, a lack of diligence.
"It is truly sad and heart-breaking for us of former employees and the We feel regret that a solution for this delicate matter has not been found in a timely manner, and we would like to use this opportunity to express our sincerest apology to the affected people," said the statement, issued in May.