Will Delashaw, an employee at Daikin America Inc.’s Decatur, Ala. plant, is in the intensive care unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with severe lung injuries more than two months after being exposed to a mysterious chemical while on the job at the fluorochemicals manufacturing plant. His family hired Beasley Allen Principal Kendall Dunson to investigate.
“Will Delashaw is fighting for his life. If he survives, his life will be forever changed. He’ll need a lung transplant and medical attention for the rest of his life. It is unlikely he will ever work again.”
– Kendall Dunson, Beasley Allen Attorney
Two other workers were with Delashaw on July 2 when the toxic exposure occurred. All three were hospitalized with severe lung injuries despite wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and respirators. One of the workers passed away from his injuries on Aug. 10.
The chemical that caused Delashaw and the other workers to fall ill remains a mystery. So far, Daikin has offered few clues as to how or why the toxic exposure occurred. Delashaw’s lawsuit will enable Dunson to engage in discovery in order to better understand what chemical or chemicals caused the workers’ injuries.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records, the July 2 incident isn’t the only toxic exposure incident at Daikin America’s Decatur plant. In 2019, a worker died after being exposed to an unknown chemical.
Alabama workers injured on the job are automatically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Delashaw’s lawsuit names Daikin America for not taking measures to ensure its employees are safe. But Dunson is investigating to see if negligence on the part of the chemical manufacturer or PPE maker may have contributed to the workers’ injuries.
“The facts speak for themselves,” Dunson said. “You have multiple incidents that refer to a mystery gas that is injuring and killing people. This shouldn’t have happened again.”