Widow blames benzene for husband's leukemia, sues four refineries

David Yates Feb. 27, 2008, 7:37am

D'Juana Parks

The wife of a deceased refinery worker has filed suit against four oil companies, claiming her husband was negligently exposed to benzene.

Representing the estate of Arthur Watson, Olevia Watson filed suit against Total Petrochemicals USA, Atlantic Richfield Co., BP Amoco and BP Products North America on Feb. 26 in the Jefferson County District Court.

According to the plaintiff's petition, Arthur Watson was employed by Fina in Jefferson County, Texas. "During his employment he used and was exposed to toxic and carcinogenic benzene and benzene-containing products."

"As a result of such exposure, Arthur Watson developed leukemia from which he died a painful and terrible death on Sept. 13, 2006," the suit said.

"The Defendant(s) knew for decades that … benzene could cause deadly blood conditions and/or cancers and still allowed their employees ... to work with and around such products in the workplace."

The suit continues by accusing the defendants of negligently failing to timely and adequately warn workers of the dangers of benzene and take the necessary engineering precautions to protect them.

"As a result of the aforementioned gross negligence of the Defendant(s), Plaintiff asserts claims for all elements of damages allowable under the law including exemplary damages," the suit said.

Olevia Watson is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by Provost Umphrey attorney D'Juana Parks.

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

Case No. E181-326

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