WHEELING -- A Bayer employee and his wife have filed suit against the company and five of its supervisors, alleging he became severely depressed after he was exposed to a dangerous chemical while he was working.
Rickey J. Carman worked as a "B" technician at the Bayer plant at Natrium in Marshall County, according to the original complaint filed in Marshall Circuit Court.
Carman's supervisors directed him multiple times to load and unload railcars and tank trailers containing TDI, a colorless to yellow liquid which darkens on exposure to sunlight, the suit states.
Bayer had decided to remove the manufacturing of the chemical from its Natrium plant and instead to transport TDI to Natrium through a pipeline system and through the railcars and tank trailers Carman was helping to unload, the suit states.
The chemical leaked or misted in all modes of transportation, according to the complaint.
The chemical is considered dangerous with toxic health effects, including irritability, depression, loss of memory and personality change, Carman claims.
Bayer was aware of all the dangers, yet still exposed Carman to it, he claims.
"Rickey J. Carman's exposure to TDI as described herein was the proximate cause of a major depressive disorder with death wishes and suicidal and homicidal idealations, dizziness, severe headaches, memory problems, writing problems, sensory problems, nausea, and memory loss," the suit states.
Because of the effect the chemical had on Carman, he could not perform many of the work duties for which he is trained, educated, experienced or capable of performing, according to the complaint.
In addition, Carman claims he has suffered a permanent loss of earning capacity, severe emotional distress, severe mental anguish, loss of ability to enjoy life, medical expenses and physical pain.
His wife, Dachelle, claims she has been deprived of Carman's society, companionship and consortium.
The company was negligent because it failed to maintain the storage tanks containing TDI in a safe condition and failed to adequately warn, protect and train employees of Bayer Material Science of the existence and their exposure to TDI, according to the complaint.
The company also had a duty to provide Carman and its other employees with a safe place to work, the suit states.
Carman claims the unsafe working conditions are a violation of a state or federal statute.
The Carmans are seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and any other relief the court deems just.
Upon Bayer's request, the suit has been moved to federal court.
Guy R. Bucci and Stacy A. Jacques of Bucci, Bailey & Javins in Charleston and Charles D. Hood Jr. of Smith Hood Perkins in Daytona Beach, Fla., will be representing the Carmans.
April Morgan Hincy of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott in Canonsburg, Pa., will be representing Bayer.
U.S. District Court case number: 5:08-cv-001 48-FPS