Family claims asbestos caused husband's lung cancer, sues Chevron

David Yates Jul. 18, 2007, 12:00pm

Kieth Hyde

The family of the late Lee Robinson Sr. is suing Chevron U.S.A. and Texaco for negligently exposing their benefactor to asbestos during his employment at a Port Neches plant.

Robinson worked as an operator for Neches Butane, where he allegedly contracted an asbestos disease, "specifically lung cancer, for which he died a painful and terrible death on Dec. 14, 2006.

Provost Umphrey attorney Keith Hyde filed the personal injury lawsuit on the behalf of Robinson's widow, Lois Robinson and children, Jeanie, Lee and Stephen, with the Jefferson County District Court on July 16.

"During Robinson's employment as an operator, he used and was exposed to toxic materials including asbestos dust and/or fibers," the suit said. "As a result of such exposure, Robinson developed an asbestos-related disease, specifically lung cancer…"

The suit alleges that the oil conglomerate knew for decades that asbestos-containing products could cause the disease asbestosis and other asbestos-related cancers but still allowed its employees to work with and around the naturally occurring mineral.

"The defendant acted with malice…and gross neglect for exposing Robinson to asbestos," the suit said. "The defendant failed to timely and adequately warn workers of the dangers of asbestos…and failed to take the necessary engineering, safety, industrial hygiene and other precautions and provide adequate warning and training to ensure that the deceased was not exposed to the asbestos-containing products."

Asbestos, an excellent fire retardant, was used for centuries in the construction of buildings.

The Robinson family is suing for exemplary damages and seeks "to recover from the defendant an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of this Court. Further, plaintiff seeks a claim for prejudgment interest for all elements allowed them," the suit said.

The plaintiffs are demanding a trial by jury.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. E179-672

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