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‘The doctors say I have four years if I don’t get a lung transplant’: Woman suing Daikin over chemical exposure injuries speaks out

Darby Dockery is not only in a battle for her life, she is in a legal battle as well
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 5:04 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - This afternoon, we’re hearing from a woman who was exposed to dangerous chemicals at the Daikin-America Decatur plant. This comes after the death of another employee, Wesley Rusk, on Tuesday.

Darby Dockery is not only in a battle for her life, she is in a legal battle as well. The wife and mother of three said while working at Daikin America two years ago, she was exposed to dangerous chemicals.

”I can’t do anything that I used to could do without having to have someone with me or a machine, or a bottle, drag a hose,” said Dockery.

She says she spent five agonizing months in the hospital and to this day, she doesn’t know what chemical she was exposed to.

“Because they wouldn’t tell nobody what we got into, another guy that had been working that day had passed away, and he had five kids. I was just lucky to be alive,” said Dockery.

Dockery is on oxygen for the rest of her life. She says she has four years to live without a lung transplant, and a transplant would only give her an extra year.

Dockery says the death of Wesley Rusk who died just this week in a separate incident could have been prevented.

“Daikin knows that they have a problem out there, obviously, and they refuse to fix it and they continue to let people work out there knowing that there’s a problem in that area,” said Dockery.

Dockery says it impacted everything for her.

“I can’t walk without stopping, taking breaks. I can’t get dressed without coughing and being out of breath, it’s changed everything in my life,” said Dockery.

A lawsuit was filed for Dockery against Daikin and CSF in 2020, and it spells out how Dockery was exposed to chemicals on the job as a result of Daikin’s lack of regard for safety and caused her permanent injuries. Her husband is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit because he claims his wife’s injuries have caused emotional distress and loss of income.

OSHA is also investigating this incident at Daikin. According to OSHA’s public records, it is looking into three serious violations and has issued Daikin a fine of over $40,000.

“I’m very lucky to be here today and I think that Daikin should, they should have to pay they should have to tighten up on their safety,” said Dockery.

Dockery’s attorney says he will also be filing a lawsuit for the estate of her co-worker who died in that 2019 incident. In legal documents, both Daikin and CSF deny any guilt in all of the claims Dockery made.

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