Wife, son blame Chevron for man's lung cancer death

Kelly Holleran Apr. 21, 2010, 8:19am


The wife and son of a recently deceased man blame Chevron for his death, claiming the company allowed him to work around asbestos-containing products which caused him to develop lung cancer.

Kathleen LeBlanc Trahan and Chris Jason Trahan filed a lawsuit April 15 in Jefferson County District Court against Chevron.

The Trahans say their husband and father, Emery Trahan, worked as a helper, electrician and operator at Gulf Oil Corp.'s Port Arthur facility which is now owned by Chevron.

During his career with the company, Emery Trahan worked near asbestos dust and fibers, causing him to develop lung cancer, according to the complaint. On Oct. 24, 2008, Emery Trahan died from the disease.

"The Defendants knew for decades that asbestos-containing products could cause the disease of asbestosis and asbestos-related cancers and still allowed their employees, such as Emery Trahan, to work with and around asbestos products in the workplace," the suit states.

In a statement to the Southeast Texas Record, Chevron said "We empathize with people facing the challenges associated with serious illnesses.

"Safeguarding the lives and health of the people of the communities where we do business, our employees and those who work on our premises is one of our top priorities.

"It is our understanding that the involved company would have endeavored to comply with applicable safety and environmental regulations. The company took numerous precautions to ensure that it operated in a safe manner.

"We work cooperatively with the appropriate local, state and federal regulatory agencies. We strive to meet or exceed local state and federal safety, design, maintenance and operations requirements."

The Trahans say Chevron negligently failed to timely and adequately warn its employees of the dangers of asbestos and failed to take the proper steps to ensure Emery Trahan's non-exposure to the cancer-causing product.

In their complaint, Kathleen and Chris Trahan 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: E186-552.

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