By DAVID YATES
Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA was recently non-suited from a benzene lawsuit brought by local residents Robert Fontenot and his wife, who sued Total and 15 other companies for allegedly exposing Fontenot to benzene throughout his career.
The suit was filed Feb. 4, 2014, in Jefferson County District Court.
Court records show the plaintiffs filed a notice of non-suit on May 7, stating they no longer wished to pursue their claims against Total.
The lawsuit alleges that Fontenot worked as a contractor in Southeast Texas, where he was occupationally exposed benzene and as a result developed chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
The suit accuses the defendants of manufacturing, selling and using benzene products without warning Fontenot of the danger.
Alleging the defendants acted in disregard of Fontenot’s wellbeing, the plaintiffs are suing for punitive damages.
The other defendants named in the lawsuit include ExxonMobil, ExxonMobil Oil, Goodyear, Mobil Oil, Chevron USA, Texaco, Huntsman Petrochemical, Shell Oil, Shell Chemical, Atlantic Richfield, BP Amoco, BP Products North America and Union Oil Company of California.
Attorney Keith Hyde of the Beaumont law firm Provost Umphrey represents the plaintiffs.
Case No. D193-890