Widow files suit against chemical, refining facilities for husband's benzene exposure

David Yates Sep. 8, 2008, 8:37am

Matthew Willis

For more than 40 years, Jimmy Wayne Goins worked at local industrial facilities. Within the last two years, Goins contracted leukemia and died.

His wife, Ada Goins, claims 13 companies are responsible for his death by exposing Goins to benzene and filed a suit Sept. 5 in Jefferson County District Court. Some of the defendants in the suit include DuPont, Texaco, Chevron USA and Huntsman Petrochemical.

According to the suit, Goins was allegedly exposed to the benzene during his employment from 1961 until the mid-1990s, while working at Gulfport Shipyard facility located in Jefferson County and the Temple-Inland facility (now known as Owens-Illinois) located in Orange County.

Both companies are among named defendants.

As a result of his alleged benzene exposure, Goins developed acute myelogenous leukemia. The suit does not say when he died of the disease.

"Defendants were at all material times engaged in the business of manufacturing, selling and/or distributing benzene," the suit says.

"Said chemical was expected to reach … deceased without substantial change in its condition. This chemical was in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous when sold by Defendants … and was a producing cause of injuries made the basis of this suit."

Goins was allegedly injured by being forced to breathe and ingest the benzene chemical throughout the years.

"Plaintiffs would further show that all defendants are liable for the injuries to Goins … because of negligence," the suit says.

"Defendants … were negligent in failing to properly manufacture and transport the said benzene and in failing to warn Goins and those so (similarly) situated, of the adverse health effects of benzene."

Goins wife is suing for his past and future mental anguish, medical expenses and lost wages, plus loss of consortium and punitive damages.

The Goins family is represented by Provost Umphrey attorney Matthew Willis.

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

Case No. B182-367

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