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Family Blames Cabinet Courier for Home Loss

(CN) - A Tennessee family's home needs to be demolished after a truck driver delivered carcinogen-soaked cabinets, telling them the substance was "just mineral oil," the family claims in court.

Glenn, Diane and Ashley Coffey say they bought cabinetry from a Lowe's store in Greenville, Tenn., and contracted with Lowe's to have the cabinets delivered to their home in the nearby community of Chuckey.

The family claims deliveryman John Carlisle crashed his truck into a utility pole owned by the Knoxville Utilities Board, or KUB, on Oct. 2, 2014.

"As a result of the crash, an electrical transformer, containing an oily type substance which also contains polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a known carcinogen, fell or otherwise crashed into the trailer portion of the truck Mr. Carlisle was driving, causing the oily substance containing PCBs to spill out into the entire area of the trailer of the truck and onto the boxes containing the Masco/KraftMaid cabinetry in his truck," according to a lawsuit filed by the Coffeys.

The family sued Carlisle, individually and dba Sit-N-Ship, Masco Cabinetry, Lowe's Home Centers, XPO Last Mile, XPO Logistics and KUB in Greene County, Tenn. on Oct. 1. The Coffeys say XPO hired Carlisle to make the delivery.

They claim the truck driver tried to cover up the accident. He "took the transformer from the scene illegally and then hid it in a cemetery," according to the lawsuit.

Carlisle delivered the "oil and PCB soaked" cabinetry boxes to the Coffeys' home and told them "that the substance was just mineral oil and was not any type of harmful substance," the complaint states.

"During unboxing efforts and efforts to place the Masco/KraftMaid cabinetry in the plaintiffs' home, the oils and PCB carcinogens essentially came into contact with and/or soaked a number of areas in the plaintiffs' home, and the plaintiffs themselves, including their bed, kitchen, countertop and other areas of their home," according to the Coffeys' lawsuit.

KUB and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency eventually came to the family's home and told them that the substance was a carcinogen, the complaint states. The Coffeys say they were removed from their home and many of their possessions were destroyed.

"Ultimately it was determined that the risk of exposure was too unsafe for the plaintiffs to continue to live in their home and the plaintiffs had to vacate their home," the lawsuit states. "The plaintiffs' home will ultimately be destroyed due to the risk of exposure."

The family accuses Carlisle, XPO, Masco and Lowe's of negligence and fraud. KUB's transformer also "contained an abnormally high content of PCBs," according to the complaint.

The Coffeys seek $3.2 million in damages. They are represented by F. Braxton Terry in Morristown, Tenn.

Carlisle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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