Charleston woman sues car wash for chemical burns, injuries

By Kyla Asbury | May 27, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A Charleston woman is suing Food Masters Limited Liability Company, which is doing business as Mountaineer Pride Car Wash, after she received chemical burns and other injuries.

On April 22, 2010, Peggy Lee Loudermilk took her vehicle to the defendant to have it washed and was encouraged by an employee to purchase the service of having air freshener sprayed inside the vehicle, to which she agreed, according to a complaint filed April 26 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Loudermilk claims upon receiving her vehicle, she noticed a very strong chemical odor inside of it, but having never purchased the air freshener service before, she assumed its strong odor was normal and would soon dissipate.

The plaintiff then left the car wash to drive home, but did so with all of the windows down in an attempt to air out the vehicle, according to the suit.

Loudermilk claims while driving home, she was forced to stop twice and exit the vehicle due to being overcome by the strong chemical odor.

By the time Loudermilk arrived at her home, she could barely breathe and had difficulty walking, according to the suit.

Loudermilk claims she began vomiting violently and began to experience disorientation and confusion and was taken to the emergency room by ambulance.

As a result of breathing the toxic fumes, Loudermilk was diagnosed with a chemical burn to her mouth, throat and lungs, according to the suit.

Loudermilk claims she waited until May 13, 2010, to re-enter the vehicle because she had to go to a doctor's appointment, but had to get out of the vehicle after a few minutes because she once again had difficulty breathing, felt faint and became ill.

That same day, Loudermilk was diagnosed with having a respiratory irritation from exposure to chemical fumes, according to the suit.

Loudermilk claims the defendant did not spray air freshener in her car, but instead sprayed a chemical into the car.

Because of the chemical fumes, Loudermilk had to have the car repaired and had to pay for a rental vehicle to use during this time, according to the suit.

Loudermilk is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Charles M. Johnstone II and James F. Little.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-675

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