Couple blames benzene for man's illness, sues nine companies

David Yates Feb. 19, 2008, 4:18am

Darren Brown

An independent contractor for various local refineries during the '60s and early '70s, John Thompson says he was negligently exposed to benzene – a chemical which he claims has caused him to develop leukemia.

John and his wife Carol Thompson have filed suit against Chevron U.S.A. and eight other chemical companies on Feb. 7 in the Jefferson County District Court.

Some of the other defendants named in the suit include Texaco, E.I. DuPont, ExxonMobil and Goodrich.

According to the plaintiffs' petition, "at various times over a (decade) John Thompson was employed by various independent contractor employers as a laborer … upon the premises of the Defendants, (where he) was occupationally exposed to various toxic and carcinogenic chemicals benzene."

As a result of his benzene exposure, Thompson claims he developed acute myelogenous leukemia, the suit said.

"Plaintiffs have been obligated to incur expenses amounting to a considerable amount of money for medical and hospitalization care and related expenses," the suit said.

The couple alleges the chemical companies were negligent for failing to warn John of the dangerous of working with and around benzene and for failing to provide him with protective equipment.

"The (benzene) products were placed into the stream of commerce by the Defendants, who manufactured and sold … the dangerous products to Thompson's employers," the suit said.

The Thompsons are suing for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, physical pain, disfigurement, loss of consortium and loss of household services.

The couple is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by Provost Umphrey attorney Darren Brown.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E181-199

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