Wrongful death suit blames Union Carbide, others for man's asbestos exposure

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 12, 2009, 5:00am

GALVESTON – A local man is suing Union Carbide Corp. and numerous petrochemical companies alleging his relative died from prolonged asbestos exposure.

Robert Earl Woods' lawsuit, which was filed on Feb. 2 in Galveston County District Court, says Willie E. Woods died two years ago from lung cancer which the plaintiff links to the decedent's 20-year work in the refining, petrochemical and construction industries.

BP, Amoco, Dow, Chevron, Shell, and Texaco join Union Carbide as defendants.

"Each defendant bears responsibility in causing Willie Woods' injuries in the individual capacities in which they have been sued," the original petition says.

Court papers explain Willie E. Woods was employed as an insulator and his duties required him to be around "asbestos-containing materials and other toxic substances."

They add Willie E. Woods was surrounded by others who were also subjected to the mineral, and he would return home with several asbestos dust particles on his clothes.

"As a result to his exposures to these toxic and hazardous materials, the plaintiff's decedent has sustained a multitude of severe and incapacitating injuries," the suit says. "Prior to the onset of his symptoms, Mr. Woods was extremely active and participated in numerous hobbies and activities, and, as a result of his illness, he was prevented from engaging in all of said activities which were normal to him prior to developing symptoms from his disease."

The defendants are accused of numerous offenses including but not limited to negligence, misrepresentation, and civil conspiracy.

Willie E. Woods' estate, which is represented by attorneys with Houston law firm Williams, Kherkher, Hart, Boundas LLP, seeks restitution for impairment, disfigurement, pain, suffering, and mental anguish in addition to expenses arising from previous medical treatment and the subsequent funeral and interment.

A jury trial is requested.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV0133

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8441 Gulf Freeway
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