Thirty-nine companies named in benzene suit

David Yates Feb. 19, 2008, 4:52am

For nearly four decades, David Waldrep worked at Texaco Asphalt in Port Neches, where he claims he was needlessly exposed to benzene. Now deceased, Waldrep's widow claims his benzene exposure caused him to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

His wife Judith Waldrep is suing Texaco, along with 38 other petroleum and chemical companies for negligently manufacturing and distributing benzene products. Her suit was filed on Feb. 7 in the Jefferson County District Court.

According to the plaintiffs' petition, the benzene products were placed into the stream of commerce by the chemical companies, exposing Waldrep to the "deadly" chemical, who worked as a painter and electrician for Texaco Asphalt from 1955 to 1993.

"The defendants sold … and produced toxic petroleum … in a defective and unreasonably dangerous condition," the suit said. "As a result of the breathing and ingestion into his body of these toxic and carcinogenic compounds, Waldrep sustained severe, permanent and deadly injuries in the form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."

The suit continues by alleging the defendants:

  • Failed to adequately warn or instruct Waldrep of the known or reasonably foreseeable danger of death and/or contracting a malignant disease by the use of the products manufactured, distributed and/or sold by them;

  • Knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that their products were in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous, and that the use of same would cause cancer;

  • Failed to test their products concerning the adverse health effects of the carcinogenic components in their products upon the human body;

  • Failed and omitted to provide Waldrep with the knowledge as to what would be reasonably safe and sufficient wearing apparel and proper protective equipment and appliances, if, in truth, there was any way to protect him from their products;

  • And failed to instruct David Waldrep in proper handling of said products to protect him from harm.

    The plaintiffs are suing for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, physical pain, disfigurement, loss of consortium and punitive damages.

    The plaintiffs are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by Provost Umphrey attorney Darren Brown.

    Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

    Case No. D181-195

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