Flight Attendants Secure $1 Million Plus Dollar Verdict for Formaldehyde-tainted uniforms.

In September of 2016, American Airlines came up with yet another uniform change for its flight attendants. Tracey Silver-Charan had been working for American as a flight attendant for 35 plus years and had seen uniform modifications come and go many times over the years. She dutifully got the new uniform and started wearing it, and didn’t give it another thought.

But several months later, Tracey began feeling very ill at work. She was having trouble breathing, felt light-headed and began to develop painful rashes. She notified her employer about her illness and noticed that she always felt better when she got home. And out of her uniform.

In 2017, Tracey and over 400 other American employees filed suit alleging that their illnesses were caused by the formaldehyde that had been added to their uniform blouses during manufacture in China. The purpose of the formaldehyde was to prevent the blouses from wrinkling. In October, 2023, a California jury awarded Tracey and three other American employees over $1 million dollars in their litigation against Twin Hill, the clothing manufacturer that made the blouses.

And the California verdict is not a one-off. Numerous other lawsuits, with strikingly similar allegations, are pending against uniform suppliers.

Daniel Balaban, the American Airlines employees’ lead trial counsel, described the formaldehyde-tainted uniform as “…a defective product that harms people.” Balaban also noted that he hoped the clothing manufacturers would take note of the verdict. “Hopefully it sends a message to the defendant and insurance companies to try to resolve these cases. But if they’re not, we’re going to try these cases on batch at a time.”