The family of a Florida boy has filed a lawsuit against a pest control company, claiming that incompetent fumigation caused the boy to suffer brain damage.
According to the lawsuit, Terminix Pest Control and its subcontractor Sunland Pest Control negligently fumigated the McCaughey home, failing to properly ventilate the home properly after the completion of fumigation, and telling the family it was safe to enter when it was not. The lawsuit claims that the entire family got sick, and the 10-year-old son suffered catastrophic brain damage.
The lawsuit alleges that when the family re-entered their home on Aug. 16, the boy inhaled pesticides that caused a traumatic brain injury, resulting in the loss of motor control and the ability to speak. The lawsuit claims that the boy is facing months in a rehabilitation center and his chances of recovery are uncertain.
Terminix said that it had cancelled its contract with Sunland and was reviewing the matter, and that its hearts are with the family.
An investigation by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found that the boy’s injury and illness were caused by exposure to pesticide, and that Sunland was not able to produce working gas meters when questioned. The meters are used to determine when it is safe to re-enter a fumigated home.
Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would make it a crime for an officer of a corporation to conceal information about a dangerously defective product.
U.S. Senators Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said that the recent settlement between the U.S. Justice Department and General Motors (GM) showed that stronger legislation is needed. After it was revealed that GM covered up a deadly ignition switch defect, the company agreed to pay $900 million and offer settlements to nearly 300 people who were injured and the families of 124 people who were killed as a result of the faulty switches, which caused vehicles to lose power while in motion. No criminal charges were brought against any GM employees.
The proposed legislation would make it a crime for an officer of a corporation to knowingly conceal information about an action or product that could put workers or the public a risk of serious injury or death. Under the proposed law, violators would face fines and up to five years in prison.
Sen. Blumenthal said that current law does not go far enough in holding corporate officials accountable when they are complicit in cover-ups that cause preventable tragedies. The bill, called the Hide No Harm Act, would also apply to other products, such as defective cribs and body armor, that have caused injuries.