Orange suit blames benzene for man's leukemia

David Yates Oct. 30, 2007, 10:11am

D'Juana Parks

Family members of the late Archie Dubose are claiming their benefactor's leukemia was caused by benzene exposure and are suing his former employers.

Dubose's widow, Mattie, filed the suit against Gulf Oil (Chevron) and the Sabine River and Northern Railroad with the Orange County District Court on Oct. 18. The case has been assigned to Judge Buddy Hahn, 260th Judicial District. Dubose's two surviving daughters are also plaintiffs.

According to the plaintiffs' petition, Dubose was exposed to benzene through his employment at Gulf Oil from 1957 to 1961. Gulf Oil later became Chevron U.S.A.

"Further, Mr. Dubose was exposed to diesel exhaust and benzene chemicals through his employment from 1970 through 1992 at the Sabine River and Northern Railroad…," the suit said. "As a result of these exposures, plaintiffs contend that Dubose contracted myelodysplastic syndrome (leukemia) from which he died a painful and terrible death on Oct. 21, 2005."

The plaintiffs claim SNR (the railroad) negligently exposed him to benzene and by doing so violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

"Plaintiffs assert that SNR knew for decades that diesel fuel and benzene could cause irreparable disease, but still allowed their employees…to use and be exposed to these toxic chemicals in the work place," the suit said.

The suit goes on to allege all 11 defendants named in the suit are guilty of gross negligence.

Dubose's family is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by Provost Umphrey attorneys D'Juana Parks and Keith Hyde.

Case No. D-070600-c

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