We represent a Buffalo man in his early 40s who is completely disabled as a result of having contracted chronic allergic contact dermatitis at work. For about four years, our client worked at a local manufacturing company assembling air brake hoses for the automobile industry. On a daily basis, he handled rubber hose manufactured by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. He was a very productive worker, often exceeding production records by assembling over 1,000 hoses per day. He performed his work without wearing gloves.
In August of 2004, our client began to experience symptoms of contact dermatitis. He continued to work with the air brake hose until May 9, 2005, since which time he has been unable to return to work due to his disability despite continued treatment. Patch testing performed by his doctor revealed that our client is allergic to chemicals used as rubber accelerants.
Although Goodyear has been aware since at least the 1970s that its rubber products present a substantial risk of chronic allergic contact dermatitis among industrial workers, it failed to take any steps to inform either our client or his employer about the hazards of working with its rubber hose. It even advised workers using its rubber hose that protective gloves were “Not applicable.” It was only after our client became totally disabled (a painful rash covered nearly his entire upper body and he could not use his hands even to carry out the activities of daily living) and after his employer asked Goodyear whether its hose contained the toxic chemicals that caused this catastrophic disease that Goodyear gave the employer just enough information to say publicly, “It does not appear we are in a position to refute there may have been traces of these chemicals in the rubber products supplied by Goodyear.” A trace is all that it took to permanently disable this devoted husband and father of three.
It is our goal to use the civil justice system to obtain fair and reasonable compensation for our client.