Companies blame parents for boy's brain damage

Posted at 2:10 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 23:36:06-05

The Palm City family diagnosed with chemical poisoning after their home was fumigated in August is now being blamed for their ten-year-old son's brain damage.

Peyton McCaughey's family is suing the companies they say are responsible but our Contact 5 Investigators have learned those same companies are pointing the finger right back at the family.

Our investigators discovered court records filed by Terminix, Sunland Pest Control and the gas manufacturer Ensystex II. All three companies indicate the McCaughey family should have known they were being poisoned.

"Negligent" and "careless" are two of the words used repeatedly about the family in court documents filed by all three of the companies linked to the August fumigation

"We're really angry. We hired, you know, someone that we thought was reputable," Lori McCaughey said when we interviewed her, and her husband Carl, in November.

The family hired Terminix which sub-contracted Sunland Pest Control to handle the termite fumigation. Sunland started the job on Friday August 14th and wrapped it up on Sunday the 16th.  

"We got home about 7:30. There was a placard on the door telling us that any time after four was safe to come home," Lori said previously.

But within a couple hours the deadly gas, sulfuryl fluoride, started to affect the family.

When we interviewed her she recalled, "About 9:30 or 10 Peyton was complaining that he wasn't feeling well. Around 3 or 4 I started to feel sick as well. By about 6-6:30 in the morning when Carl came into the room and was feeling sick as well that's when I was like, 'I think something's wrong.' "

Court documents filed by Terminix say the McCaugheys "conducted themselves in a negligent and careless fashion" and "should have known of the potential hazards and dangers for which they complain." That is something very different than what the McCaugheys say they were told by Terminix the morning of August 17th as they raced to the hospital.

"(Terminix) called me back as we were outside of the urgent care center and explained to me that there was no possible way that there was any gasses or anything, they had checked it," said Carl McCaughey when I interviewed him in November.

Sunland Pest Control is the company that actually cleared the McCaugheys' home. Since then Sunland has been stripped of its license by the Florida Department of Agriculture and is still under criminal investigation for negligence. Yet, court records filed by Sunland also claim the McCaugheys "were negligent and such negligence was the legal cause, in whole or in part, of the damages claimed."

Contact 5 has reached out to Terminix, Sunland Pest Control and Ensystex II for comment. So far only Terminix has responded. It said it is "unable to comment on pending litigation."