Woman sues local plants after husband's cancer death

Marilyn Tennissen Jun. 4, 2007, 9:00am

J. Keith Hyde

Willie Joseph LeBlue worked as a rigger and operator at Texas U.S. Chemical at its Port Neches facility and now his widow says the work was the cause of the cancer that took his life.

On May 31, Zelma LeBlue, filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County District Court against Chevron USA Inc. and Texaco Inc.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, during Willie LeBlue's employment he was exposed to toxic materials including asbestos dust and/or fibers.

"As a result of such exposure, Willie Joseph LeBlue, developed an asbestos-related disease, specifically lung cancer, for which he died a painful and terrible death on April 2, 2006," the petition states.

The plaintiff alleges that the defendants acted with malice and/or gross neglect.

"The defendant knew for decades that asbestos-containing products could cause the disease of asbestosis and asbestos-related cancers and still allowed its employees, such as Willie Joseph LeBlue to work with and around asbestos products in the workplace," the petition states.

The company failed to timely and adequately warn the workers of the dangers of asbestos, failed to take the necessary engineering, safety and other precautions and provide adequate training to prevent exposure.

"As a result of the aformentioned malice and/or gross neglect of the defendant, plaintiff seeks claims for all elements of damages allowable under the law including exemplary damages and seek to recover from the defendant an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of the court," the plaintiff said.

She is represented by J. Keith Hyde of Provost Umphrey Law Firm and is demanding a trial by jury.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd District Court.

Case No. E179-402

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