Family of metal worker sues refineries for benzene exposure more than 50 years ago

David Yates Mar. 20, 2008, 3:28am

From 1946 through 1952, Lonnie Logsdon worked as a sheet metal apprentice at various refineries in Port Arthur, where he was allegedly exposed to enough benzene to develop leukemia.

Now deceased, Logsdon's daughter, Sally Logsdon, is seeking financial compensation for her father's illness and death.

Sally Logsdon filed suit against Chevron USA, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and Gulf Oil Corp. in the Jefferson County District Court on March 18, claiming the chemical companies negligently exposed Logsdon to benzene during the six years he worked as an apprentice in Port Arthur.

The suit accuses the defendants of "needlessly exposing (him) to products containing benzene."

"Plaintiff would show that at all material times, said defendants were aware of its chemical emissions, such as benzene and products containing benzene, and that such employer Defendants released these chemicals into the ambient air knowing that such chemical emissions would travel outside and throughout the premises owned or operated by them, and that such chemical emissions would be inhaled and absorbed by persons such as Lonnie Logsdon," the suit said.

"Employer Defendants knew, actually or constructively, or should have known, that these toxic chemicals have the potential for causing cancer and other chronic diseases that could result in death and/or serious bodily disease. A substantial portion of such chemical emissions were unnecessary and, therefore, such emissions could have been substantially reduced, thereby reducing the resulting injuries, damages, and the disease, acute myelogenous leukemia.

"Plaintiff would, moreover, show that the aforesaid disease-causing contaminants contained in such emissions constituted abnormally hazardous substances and ultra-hazardous substances for which the law of Texas imposes strict liability for any resulting harm from exposure thereto."

The suit goes on to accuse the defendants of negligently failing to provide a safe work place and for failing to take the necessary safety precautions to safe guard workers from benzene.

Sally Logsdon is suing for punitive damages, loss of companionship and mental anguish, plus her father's suffering, medical and funeral expenses and mental anguish.

She is represented by the Law Offices of Herschel L. Hobson.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District.

Case No. A181-448

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