60-year employee of DuPont sues for benzene related disease

David Yates Apr. 18, 2007, 8:00am

Keith Hyde

The benefactor of a former Dupont De Nemours employee is suing the Jefferson County chemical plant, along with a dozen other oil corporations, for exposing the late Earl Dean Thompson to benzene.

Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil used as an additive in gasoline and is also an industrial solvent and precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes.

Thompson first began working for Dupont back in 1948.

According to a petition filed on April 17 with the Jefferson County District Court, Jo Ann Thompson, the representative of Earl's estate, is claiming during his nearly six decade tenure at Dupont, Earl was negligently exposed to benzene.

"As a result of such exposure, Earl Thompson developed multiple myeloma, from which he died a painful and anguishing death on June 15, 2006," the petition sated.

"The defendants knew for decades that the chemical benzene could cause irreparable disease, but still allowed their employees to use and be exposed to toxic and cancerous benzene in the workplace."

The suit says the defendants are negligent for violating federal and state law regarding benzene regulation and for failing to design and enforce an adequate industrial hygiene program to protect workers from exposure to the chemical.

Jo Ann is seeking to recover from the defendants an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of the district court and is demanding a trial by jury.

She is represented by Provost Umphrey Law Firm attorneys Keith Hyde and Darren Brown.

Court assignment is pending.

Case No. D179-127

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