Man claims benzene exposure caused leukemia

David Yates Sep. 5, 2007, 11:49am

One of KMCO's Texas facilities

In June 2007, Armando Torres was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Torres believes benzene was the root cause of his disease and has submitted a petition for discovery to investigate claims against his former employer, KMCO.

He filed his petition with the Jefferson County District Court on Sept. 4.

According to his petition, Torres was employed by KMCO in Port Arthur. During his time at the plant, he used various solvents, including benzene.

"Petitioner was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) in June 2007," the suit said. "It is believed that exposure to solvents, benzene, and benzene-containing products in his workplace caused or contributed to the cause of Petitioner's ALL. Pursuant to Rule 202 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Petitioner now brings this Petition for Discovery."

According to the company's Web site, KMCO's core businesses remain custom processing and strategic specialty chemical product lines. "Our clients represent many of the largest, most respected corporations in the world."

"Petitioner does not anticipate the institution of a lawsuit, but, rather, only seeks to investigate a potential claim that he may have against various chemical suppliers who have yet to be identified," the suit said. "Until and unless Petitioner identifies the suppliers of these products, and determines whether adequate warnings were provided, Petitioner will never know if he has a viable claim concerning his ALL."

"Petitioner anticipates conducting discovery and taking the depositions of corporate representatives of KMCO who are knowledgeable regarding the chemicals that Petitioner may have used in his work; the identity of the suppliers of these chemicals; the hazards of the solvents Torres used in his work; and the warnings, if any, provided to KMCO and/or Torres by the suppliers of the chemicals Torres used in his work," the suit said.

Torres is represented by attorney Rodney Barnwell of the Moore Landrey law firm.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. B179-937

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