67 companies named as defendants in benzene suit

Kelly Holleran Mar. 9, 2009, 9:11am

The family of a deceased Chambers County man has filed a lawsuit against 67 defendant corporations claiming the man was exposed to benzene which led to his death from acute myelogenous leukemia.

Vickie and Michael Johnson claim Cloyce Michael Johnson died from the disease March 2, 2007, according to a lawsuit filed Feb. 27 in Jefferson County District Court.

Vickie and Michael say their husband and father worked from 1968 until 2007 as a pipefitter, pipefitter welder, boilermaker and mechanical supervisor.

Defendants include ExxonMobil, Air Liquide, Atlantic Richfield, BASF, BP Amaco, Dow Chemical, Foster Wheeler, Goodyear, KBR, Monsanto, S&B Engineers, Shell, Union Carbide, U.S. Steel, Valero and the Washington Group.

They allege the defendants were aware of chemical emissions, but still released the benzene in the air, knowing it could cause cancer.

According to the complaint, Johnson's disease was caused by his benzene exposure in the workplace.

The plaintiffs allege the benzene-related disease caused the family to incur substantial medical costs. Johnson also experienced great physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment and disfigurement as a result of the disease, Vickie and Michael Johnson claim in the lawsuit.

Because of Johnson's death, Vickie and Michael Johnson have lost his care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel, reasonable contributions, companionship, society and consortium and have suffered mental anguish, according to the complaint.

They also lost Cloyce Michael Johsnon's present value and his financial contributions.

In addition, Vickie Johnson incurred funeral and burial expenses, the suit states.

Vickie and Michael Johnson are seeking an unspecified sum, plus interest, costs and other relief to which they may be entitled.

They are represented by Tina H. Bradley of Brent Coon and Associates in Beaumont.

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

Case No. A183-400

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