Family files suit against Texaco, others over refinery worker's death from chemical exposure

Kelly Holleran Nov. 18, 2008, 6:16am

Darren Brown

The family of a deceased refinery worker has filed suit against 14 defendant corporations, claiming their relative's cancer was wrongfully caused.

Plaintiffs Kelly Dial and Wesley Maida, children of Samuel Maida Jr., and Shirley Ann Maida, his spouse, filed the lawsuit Nov. 12 in Jefferson County District Court.

The suit claims Samuel worked for Texaco at its Port Arthur facility for many years beginning in the 1970s.

Dial, Wesley and Shirley state Samuel was exposed to carcinogenic chemicals including petroleum byproduct trichloroethylene and products that contained benzene and other carcinogens at Texaco, according to the lawsuit.

They claim the companies failed to warn workers of the dangers of the carcinogens and should have known their products were dangerous.

Defendants include Texaco, Chevron, Dow Chemical, Huntsman, Vallen Safety Supply and PPG Industries.

Plaintiffs allege Samuel sustained severe, permanent deadly injuries from his exposure and developed renal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer.

Before his death, Samuel also suffered mental anguish, physical pain and suffering, medical expenses, physical impairment, lost wages, loss of internal organ, a fear of cancer and disfigurement, according to the complaint.

His family suffered loss of consortium, loss of companionship, lost wages and incurred funeral expenses, the suit states.

In addition, Shirley claims she suffered mental anguish, loss of services, punitive and pecuniary damages and loss of support, plus she incurred medical expenses and nursing care expenses.

The defendants failed to test their products for adverse health effects, failed to inform Samuel what would be adequate clothing to protect him from the carcinogens and failed to utilize alternative products, according to the complaint.

"Such Defendants have not only demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice human beings such as Samuel Maida Jr., but they have inexcusably neglected to utilize available technology and methods and neglected to develop new technology and methods to control such hazards," the suit states.

Dial, Wesley and Shirley seek unspecified punitive damages in a sum sufficient to punish the defendants for the gravity of their shortcomings and bad faith, plus costs, prejudgment interest and post-judgment interest at the legal rate and other relief the court deems just.

Darren L. Brown of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd District Court.

Case No. E182-692

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