I filed a lawsuit today, against Lornamead, Inc, the makers of Aqua Net hairspray. As you may have read, Aqua Net contains the chemical Cyclohexylamine, which is listed in the US as an Extremely Hazardous Substance.
I earlier asked Lornamead to cover the cost of hospitalization in 2008 for Atrial Fibrillation and loss of consciousness brought on by Aqua Net. Lornamead referred the matter to their insurance company as an insurance claim, and the insurance company denied the claim. Lornamead apparently intended to ignore the matter henceforth, so I decided they needed to be sued.
It has been an interesting learning experience up to this point. I had the impression that getting a lawyer to sue someone for damages in the USA would not be that hard – but there are some serious obstacles. Many big law firms specializing in personal injury cases were not interested. As there is no precedent, it will take some serious work to prove that Cyclohexylamine caused the harm, and these law firms don’t want to take the risk of doing the work and not winning. It is akin to being the first person to sue the tobacco companies – many people were told by the law firms that they had no chance of winning against Big Tobacco, but once one person did it against all odds, the law firms piled in.
Compound this with the reluctance of doctors to state that the hairspray was the cause. Without scientific laboratory proof, they open themselves to lawsuits if they state that hairspray caused the atrial fibrillation and loss of consciousness.
I asked an attorney how to start a case if there is no precedent. He said that this indeed is hard, since no attorney wants to be the first, unless there is a very high likelihood of winning.
So in the end I filed the lawsuit myself, pro se, in Federal Court. That should be an interesting learning experience.