Former Gulf employee exposed to asbestos, suit claims

Kelly Holleran Feb. 4, 2010, 8:40am

The surviving wife and children of a deceased Gulf Oil refinery worker have filed suit against Chevron, saying the man was exposed to asbestos while he worked for the company.

Julia Fontenot, Adam Fontenot, Elbert Fontenot, Shelton Fontenot Jr., Kenneth Fontenot, Deborah Reed and Regineld Fontenot claim their husband and father, Shelton J. Fontenot, worked for Gulf Oil Corporation as a pipefitter helper, insulator trainee and instrument mechanic at its Port Arthur facility where he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibers.

As a result of his inhalation of the fibers, Shelton J. Fontenot died "a painful and terrible death" from pulmonary asbestosis and lung cancer on June 29, according to the complaint filed Feb. 1 in Jefferson County District Court.

Chevron negligently knew asbestos-containing products could cause deadly disease, but still allowed their employees to work with the products; failed to warn employees of the dangers of working with the products; and failed to take necessary precautions to ensure the deceased were not working with the products.

The plaintiffs seek exemplary and punitive damages, plus interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

J. Keith Hyde of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing them.

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

Jefferson County District Court case number: E185-842.

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