Family of deceased worker sues Helena Labs for benzene exposure

David Yates May 21, 2008, 9:39am

The husband of a deceased employee of a Beaumont bio-medical company is alleging his wife was exposed to so much benzene that it caused her to develop myelogenous leukemia.

Warren Holub, the husband of Sandra Sue Holub, filed his wrongful death suit on May 20 in Jefferson County District Court against Helena Laboratories and seven other defendants, including Chevron USA and Huntsman Petrochemical. He is seeking survival damages.

According to Warren's suit, Sandra Holub was repeatedly exposed to "highly toxic" benzene while on Helena's premises. The suit does not state when she developed leukemia or the date of her death.

According to the company's Web site, Beaumont-based Helena Laboratories is a clinical laboratory instrument and reagent manufacturer. Clients include major medical centers, small hospitals, large reference laboratories and small private doctor's laboratories.

"Holub worked with and around benzene and benzene containing products in the capacity of her employment and was exposed to defendants' highly toxic benzene and benzene containing products while on defendants' premise," the suit says.

"Premise defendant released benzene … fumes into the ambient air knowing that such highly toxic emissions would travel outside and throughout their premise, which they owned or operated, and that such highly toxic emission would be inhaled, ingested and otherwise absorbed by persons such as Holub."

The suit continues by accusing all of the defendants of knowing that benzene has the potential for causing toxic blood diseases, but still chose to manufacture and distribute the chemical.

"Defendants had actual knowledge of the dangers of exposures to benzene and products containing benzene yet failed to warn and protect workers …," the suit says.

"Defendants concealed the known hazards of benzene and products containing benzene by making misrepresentations or by remaining silent when defendants had a duty to speak. Defendants purposely or intentionally concealed such facts."

Warren is also suing for Sandra's mental anguish, medical expenses and funeral costs.

He is represented by Moore Landrey attorney Tony Malley.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District.

Case No. B181-772

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