Family of cancer victim sues for asbestos exposure

David Yates Apr. 30, 2007, 5:00am

Houston Attorney Ian Cloud

The children of Traville Franks, a deceased petrochemical worker, are suing numerous oil companies for exposing their father to asbestos.

Sarah, Charlie, Foster and David Franks, along with Judy Smith, filed their petition with the Jefferson County District Court on April 18. They are suing the Georgia Pacific Corp., Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., Conoco Phillips Co., and Montello, Inc., and lastly Bates Well Service, Inc.

The lawsuit says Franks died on April 25, 2005. He worked at numerous oil fields and chemical plants between the years of 1954-1980. During this time he was exposed to asbestos. The plaintiffs' petition also says that Franks, who died of lung cancer at age 79, was a cigarette smoker.

"As a result of his exposure to asbestos dust and/or fibers while employed by defendant, decedent contracted asbestos-related lung cancer which ultimately took his life," the suit said, adding the defendants were negligent for manufacturing, selling, designing, supplying, distributing, mining, milling, relabeling and processing asbestos materials and machines laced with asbestos.

"In addition to the fact that the decedent was required to handle asbestos containing products and/or machinery, he was exposed to other asbestos products in the work place," the suit says without specifying what the other asbestos products are.

Aside for faulting the defendants for negligence and liability, the suit also says the oil companies conspired among themselves and with other asbestos manufacturers to with hold medical and scientific information concerning asbestos.

The plaintiffs are suing for physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses incurred, loss of earning capacity, physical impairment and disfigurement.

Franks worked as an oil company laborer for 26 years.

The family is demanding a trial by jury; they are represented by attorney Ian Cloud of the law firm Heard, Robbins, Cloud & Lubel.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. A179-175

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