Trial Victory for American Airlines Flight Attendants Sickened by Toxic Uniforms

An Alameda Superior Court jury recently found the manufacturer of American Airlines’ uniforms responsible for causing debilitating illnesses to four of the airline’s flight attendants, setting the stage for hundreds more cases filed by employees against the company.

The four flight attendants became ill after wearing uniforms contaminated with formaldehyde. In the bellwether trial, which lasted approximately five weeks, plaintiffs’ attorneys selected two plaintiffs from the pool of 425, and defense attorneys selected two.  The jury awarded the plaintiff-selected flight attendants nearly $1,100,000 and the defense-selected flight attendants $15,000.

Twin Hill, the uniforms’ manufacturer, shipped approximately 150 thousand uniforms to the flight attendants. Shortly after introducing these uniforms into the workforce, many employees began experiencing various health problems including rashes, hives, respiratory problems, headaches, and throat irritations. Some American employees say they’ve experienced permanent chemical sensitivities as a result of wearing the uniforms.

The trial centered on allegations that the fabric used in American Airlines’ uniforms posed an unreasonable risk of physical harm to those who wore them.

“This verdict is a resounding victory, not only for these four brave flight attendants but for every American Airlines employee forced to wear these dangerous uniforms,” said lead trial attorney Daniel Balaban. “I hope this jury’s verdict sends a message to uniform manufacturers and employers that cutting costs at the expense of safety is bad for workers, bad for customers, and bad for their bottom line.”

The lawsuit was filed in September of 2017 and contended that the fabric used in the uniforms was dangerously defective by creating an unreasonable risk of physical harm to those who wear them and to those who are exposed to them. The complaint also stated that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers about the dangers associated with wearing these garments. The chemicals detected in the fabric include formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, monochlorophenols, tetrachlorophenols, trichlorophenols, toluene, cobalt, cadmium, captafol, chromium, copper, nickel, antimony, benzyl benzoate, hexyl cinnamic aldehyde and benzaldehyde. Several of these substances are known to cause dermatological, respiratory, neurologic and allergenic/immunological conditions.


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